As a child, John Webber often played with the strange engraved metal cup that was lying around in his grandfather's scrapyard.
Even when he inherited the cup from the old rag-and-bone man, he assumed it was simply another piece of bronze or brass which had escaped the melting pot.
But last year Mr Webber, himself now a 70-year- old grandfather, unpacked it from its box after six decades to discover he had been sitting on a fortune.
Experts say the cup is pure gold and dates back to before the birth of Christ.
Next month, it will go up for auction and Mr Webber says he will not be surprised if it fetches half a million pounds.
Standing 51/2in high, the cup carries the outline of two similar female faces looking in opposite directions, their foreheads decorated with a snake motif.
When they first saw it, experts were baffled by the piece, unlike any they had seen before.
That was until laboratory analysis of the gold put it in the third or fourth century BC.
Now it is thought the intricate design is the work of craftsmen in the days of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, which spanned three continents until Alexander the Great defeated the forces of its last ruler in 330BC.