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Israeli hiker discovers nearly 2,000-year-old gold coin

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   March 14, 2016 at 12:49 PM

JERUSALEM, March 14 (UPI) -- The Israel Antiquities Authority announced a woman hiking in Galilee stumbled upon a nearly 2,000-year-old gold coin from the Roman Empire.

The organization said Laurie Rimon, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Blum in northern Israel, was with a group of hikers in Galilee when she noticed a shiny object in the grass near an archaeological site.

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Rimon picked up the object and discovered it was a very old-looking gold coin.

The hiker turned her find over to the Antiquities Authority, which said the coin bears in the image of Emperor Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, and was part of a series minted by Emperor Trajan in the year 107 to honor the emperors who came before him.

The IAA described the coin as the "identical twin brother" of a coin housed at the British Museum. The coin was previously believed to be the only known surviving coin of its kind.

Nir Distelfeld, an inspector with the IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, said Rimon will be presented with a certificate of appreciation for her good citizenship.

"Laurie demonstrated exemplary civic behavior by handing this important coin over to the Antiquities Authority. It is ... [a] spectacular gold coin. This is an extraordinarily remarkable and surprising discovery. I believe that soon, thanks to Laurie, the public will be able to enjoy this rare find," Distelfeld said.

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