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Prices exceed expectations at Mexican relics sale

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Not only did Mexico fail to stop a French auction house's sale of about 120 pre-Hispanic artifacts, many sold for well above their estimated prices. The Millon auction house says a stone statue of an Aztec goddess had an estimated pre-sale price of 40,000 to 60,000 euros. It sold for 377,000 euros.

Another statue of an Aztec deity sold for 97,500 euros, above the top pre-sale estimate. A stone mask sold for 62,405 euros, five times its pre-sale estimate. Despite the Mexican government's warning that some of the artifacts might be fakes, all met pre-sale minimum price estimates on Wednesday.

Mexico said the pieces should be returned because they form part of the country's cultural heritage. Mexico passed a law in 1972 prohibiting the export of such artifacts.

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