WNY native finds 2,000-year old gold coin

Posted at 1:27 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-14 15:38:29-04

A WNY native hiking in Israel found a rare coin nearly 2,000 years old – so rare that it’s only the second of its kind known to exist.

Laurie Rimon now lives in Connecticut, but she went to Kenmore East High School. She was hiking in eastern Galilee near an archeological site when she saw something glinting in the grass. She picked it up and didn't realize at first she had found an ancient gold coin.

The coin is from Rome in the year 107 CE (107 AD) and bears the image of Emperor Augustus. It was part of a series of coins minted by Emperor Trajan that were dedicated to the Roman emperors who ruled before him.

It is the only second such coin of its kind known to exist. Its identical twin brother is housed in the British Museum.

Though Rimon thought it might be a toy of sorts, she showed it to members of her group, who felt it was legitimate. They urged her to show it to the group's guide, and he sent a picture of it to the Israel Antiquities Authority, who promptly came out to collect the artifact.

Rimon said, “It was not easy parting with the coin. After all, it is not every day one discovers such an amazing object, but I hope I will see it displayed in a museum in the near future.”

You can hear Rimon talking more about her discovery in this video:

In Israel, it would be against the law for Rimon to keep the coin. According to their Antiquities Law, any manmade object created before 1700 and any zoological or botanical remains from before 1300 are the property of the state.

The law was enacted in 1978 and anyone who defies the law could be sentenced to jail and/or a fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.