Ancient Persian relic found in toy box

A scrap metal dealer plans to auction his childhood toy, an ancient Persian gold cup from the Achaemenid era, for some 990,000 dollars.

The 70-year-old John Webber says his grandfather gave him the 14-centimeter high mug to play with when he was a child, back in 1945. He, as a child, used the cup for target practice with his air gun.

The golden cup, which was languished for years in a shoe box under Webber's bed, is decorated with the heads of two women facing in opposite directions, their foreheads garlanded with two knotted snakes.

Experts at the British Museum say the cup is 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, AFP reported.

The analysis confirmed that the method of manufacture and the composition of the gold is 'consistent with Achaemenid gold and gold smithing' dating back to the third or fourth century B.C.

The Achaemenid Empire was the first of the Persian empires to rule over significant portions of Greater Iran. The empire was wiped out by Alexander in 330 B.C.

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