30 May 2008

The £500,000 target


An ancient gold cup owned by a scrap metal dealer is expected to fetch around £500,000 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 1945.

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 when he got it valued in 2007 he was told it was actually a rare piece of ancient Persian treasure, beaten out of a single sheet of gold.

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 was wiped out by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.

Webber, 70, stated that his grandfather had a "good eye" for antiques and picked up "all sorts" as he plied his trade in Taunton, Somerset"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 gun.

8 comments:

Sue said...

I posted about this on our history blog. Amazing how it hung about for so many years with no one guessing its true age or worth.

jams o donnell said...

It is really amazing. But what a stroke of good fortune for him too!

CherryPie said...

Wow! how lucky he just didn't throw it away...

Chris in Happy Valley said...

Did "Antiques Roadshow" play any part in this story at all?

;)

jmb said...

I wish I had one under my bed! Imagine shooting at it.

jams o donnell said...

What a find eh? Hmm jmb if it had been under my bed it would have been larger and probably ceramic!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I blogged something while you were gone about the Antiques Roadshow and really is it too much to ask to just want to go up into my attic and find valuable treasure?!? Is it?

Taken into account that our house is only 11 years old and we're the original owners, I guess it might be indeed too much to ask.

jams o donnell said...

YOu never know.. It's amazing what people find valuable!