Childhood 'toy' revealed as ancient Persian relic

The last line will make you cringe. --Noel

Childhood ‘toy’ revealed as ancient Persian relic

LONDON (AFP) - An ancient gold cup mysteriously acquired by an
English scrap metal dealer is expected to fetch close to a million
dollars at auction after languishing for years in a shoe box under
its current owner’s bed.

Owner John Webber says his grandfather gave him the 5.5-inch
(14-centimetre) high mug to play with when he was a child, back in

He assumed the golden cup, which is decorated with the heads of two
women facing in opposite directions, their foreheads garlanded with
two knotted snakes, was made from brass.

But he decided to get it valued when he was moving house last year
and was told it was actually a rare piece of ancient Persian
treasure, beaten out of a single sheet of gold hundreds of years
before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Experts said the method of manufacture and the composition of the
gold was “consistent with Achaemenid gold and gold smithing” dating
back to the third or fourth century BC.

The Achaemenid empire, the first of the Persian empires to rule over
significant portions of Greater Iran, was wiped out by Alexander the
Great in 330 BC.

Auction house Duke’s, in Dorchester, south-west England, will put
the cup under the hammer on June 5, with an estimate of 500,000
pounds (630,000-euro, 988,000-dollars).

Webber, 70, told The Guardian newspaper that his grandfather had a
“good eye” for antiques and picked up “all sorts” as he plied his
trade in the town of Taunton in south-west England.

“Heaven knows where he got this, he never said,” he added, revealing
that as a child, he used the cup for target practice with his air