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Swag AND bone; Scrap man's 'brass' cup may be pounds 500,000 gold treasure.

Byline: BY STEWART MACLEAN

IT could be a story of rags to riches....

This cup, thought to be brass, languished in a box after a scrap man passed it on to his grandson.

But when John Webber, 70, moved house last year he decided to get it checked and found it was a rare Achaemenid gold cup from 4BC and could be worth pounds 500,000.

John said: "I really don't know where it came from, but I remember it from when I was a small boy. It's been quite exciting finding out what it was."

John's grandad William Sparks was a rag and bone man from Romany stock who then dealt in scrap metal in the 30s and 40s in Taunton, Somerset.

John added: "I sent it to the British Museum and experts there hadn't seen anything like it."

The Achaemenid empire in Persia reached from Iran to Libya.

A pounds 10,000 Roman gold spoon and a pounds 2,000 Greek gold mount and figure are also being auctioned in Dorchester, Dorset, on June 5.

CAPTION(S):

DEALER Sparks; SURPRISE John; Persia's Achaemenid empire was famously beaten by a small force of Spartans at Thermopylae, as seen in the recent film 300
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 28, 2008
Words:204
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