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    Ancient Sculpture Breaks Records in New York Auction

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    An ancient sculpture breaks records at Christie's auction in New York. It sold for nearly $17 million dollars and it has been kept in perfect condition over the centuries.

    A rare 4,400-year-old marble sculpture sold for a stunning $16.8 million at Christie's in New York on Thursday.

    The sculpture is believed to date all the way back to 2400 B.C. and has survived antiquity in perfect condition.

    [Max Bernheimer, International Head of Antiques, Christie's]:
    "It's in pristine condition, It's never been broken. The surface is absolutely pristine as well. It also has great provenance, which is what we are looking for in this market."

    The marble masterpiece was estimated to sell for between $3 million and $5 million. But during the auction, a battle was waged between two anonymous bidders on the phone, driving the final hammer price up.

    [Max Bernheimer, International Head of Antiques, Christie's]:
    "Even if we had sold it at the low estimate, which was $3 million dollars, it would have been a world record, but at this point in the economy, the art market is thriving and it's a masterpiece market. So, this is a masterpiece and therefore the price is no surprise at all."

    The 11-and-a-half inch figure is carved from white marble. It is one of only twelve known sculptures attributed to an artist called the Schuster Master, named after the figure's previous owner. It is also the only figure to remain in tact over the centuries.

    Christie's said the Cycladic marble reclining female figure is the first of its kind to be offered at auction.

    Most of Schuster Master's figures depict pregnant women.