A US university has discovered a collection of ancient coins from ancient Greece and Rome dating as far back as the fifth century BC.
A priceless cache of ancient Greek and Roman coins that had become a kind of buried treasure has been "rediscovered" at the University at Buffalo.
The university had paid little attention to the coins since they were donated in 1935.
The collection of 55 gold and silver coins date as far back as the fifth century BC.
Among them are a dozen gold coins from Rome - one each from the eras of Julius Caesar and the 11 emperors who followed him.
Assistant professor Philip Kiernan, who arrived at UB in 2010 from a German coin museum, had heard from an alumnus that UB held ancient coins. But even after tracking them down, he had his doubts.
"I saw these trays and thought, oh this is some kind of reproductive set from the early 20th century, some kind of copies," Kiernan said on Wednesday.
"However, when we opened up the trays and pulled out the coins - nope, they're perfectly good ancient coins."
There were three wood-framed glass trays, one holding the 12 gold Roman coins and the other two holding 40 silver Greek coins.
A small leather pouch contained an additional three gold Greek coins. The newest of the lot is from the first century A.D.
"I was flabbergasted," Kiernan said.
"I couldn't believe that an institution like UB had a collection of this quality in its special collections, as of yet unstudied, unpublished ... coins that were issued by the most powerful and most important city-states of the Classical and Hellenistic worlds."