A owner has been left stunned after discovering a rusty bronze head in a bucket, only to find out its worth.

The antique bronze head, found during a garden clear-out, is set to sell for thousands of pounds at auction.

Its stunned owner discovered the 'unusual item' while removing the remains of a collapsed outhouse.

It is expected to fetch between £4,000 to £6,000 at an auction in Bristol.

Auctioneer Aiden Khan from East Bristol Auctions said: "It's a very unusual item.

"We believe it to be a nineteenth century copy of the of Roman statue 'Head Of Minerva' which was uncovered in Bath in the eighteen century.

The head will be sold at an auction this month for £4,000 to £6,000
The head will be sold at an auction this month for £4,000 to £6,000

"It is clearly a copy taken directly from the actual head as it bears all the imperfections of the original.

"The mystery though, is that there is no record of such a copy ever having been taken."

Research by the owner into the head's origin led them first to the museums of Bath and then to the British Museum who had custody of the relic from 1920 to 1947.

It is believed to be a 19th century copy of the of Roman statue 'Head Of Minerva'
It is believed to be a 19th century copy of the of Roman statue 'Head Of Minerva'

"At every stage, each expert has come to the same conclusion," Aiden added.

"It must be taken directly from the original - but there is no record of it being done."

The original head was discovered in 1727 and is thought to date from the first century AD.

The head has been described as an "unusual item"
The head has been described as an "unusual item"

At its time of finding, it was one of only a handful of bronze statue relics discovered and carried great historical importance to the city of Bath, as it indicated the site was not a typical settlement.

Aiden said: "This head represents one of the most important Roman finds in British history.

"Yes, it is a 19th century copy, but it's the only copy known to have been taken from the original, and more importantly - the only copy known to exist."

The bronze head features as part of East Bristol Auctions' 'Fine Art & Antiques Auction' on February 19.