FUQUAY-VARINA — A tiny book, thrown in among junk at a flea market --one look at it and you can see it is delicate and quite old.
Those characteristics alone caused Dee Ferguson to buy it at a Fuquay-Varina flea market for just under $40 a few years ago.
"It was strange, something I had never seen before, and I just thought that maybe nobody had ever seen anything like this," Ferguson said.
At that time, Ferguson did not know that she became the owner of a 300-year-old Ethiopian prayer book of the Coptic Church, written in Geez.
"The monks used to wear it around their necks and would use it for a prayer book," Ferguson said.
She recently acquired this information from an appraiser who estimated the book's value to a possible $1000.
But Ferguson says she is not satisfied and wants to learn more from other experts in the field about her flea market treasure.
"Hopefully I can sell it," she said, "but if I don't I'll just hang onto it for a while because it is very interesting."
Interesting, yes. How did an ancient prayer book from 18th-century Ethiopia make its way to Fuquay-Varina? One can only guess.
"It just shows that if you look really hard enough you're going to find something that's really special," Ferguson said.