Friday, May 30, 2008

Achaemenid-era Persian cup to be auctioned

I cringed when I read the current owner of this beautiful Achaemenid-era Persian gold cup actually used it for target practice when he was a boy.


An ancient gold cup, which was once acquired by a rag and bone man, that is expected to fetch several hundred thousand pounds at auction
An ancient gold cup, which was once acquired by a rag and bone man, that is expected to fetch several hundred thousand pounds at auction. Photograph: PA
"Now that the little gold cup has left the shoebox under his bed and is heading for an auction room, John Webber rather regrets the pot-shots he took with his air gun - even though the dents did flatten out nicely with the back of a spoon. After all, it now has a £500,000 price on its head.

If scientific tests and expert opinion are correct, his grandfather's gift must represent the best scrap metal find ever. The mystery object may be genuine lost treasure, a unique piece beaten out of a single sheet of gold in the Middle East, somewhere in the vast Achaemenid empire which spread from Persia to become the largest empire of the ancient world, until overthrown by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. The skill of the Achaemenid metal workers, who made exquisite objects in sheet gold and silver, was renowned."