Hidden treasure | 

Gold coins worth €5k found in prayer book at Kenny’s bookshop in Galway

"We sometimes uncover gems, but today we found actual treasure ...solid gold coins, hidden in the spine of an old prayerbook!"

The coins are Mexican pesos dated to 1947. Photo: Kenny's bookshop.

Eoghan Moloney

Two solid gold coins estimated to be worth €5,000 have been found in the spine of a prayerbook in a popular Galway bookstore.

Kenny’s of Galway made the “amazing discovery” when archivist Sarah Gallagher was cataloguing newly acquired books from a Diocesan library.

The coins are judged to be of Mexican origin and weigh 37.5g each. Their total value is estimated to be close to €5,000.

"We sometimes uncover gems, but today we found actual treasure ...solid gold coins, hidden in the spine of an old prayerbook!” Kenny’s said on Friday on Twitter.

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The coins were found by chance when the cover of the book was removed. Tomas Kenny told RTÉ that he is still trying to figure out why they were hidden in the book.

"It's hard to know what the reason for hiding them there was but Mexico was a very difficult place to be a Catholic priest in the early to mid-twentieth century and it’s entirely possible they were there in case a quick escape was needed.

"I’ve been buying and selling private libraries for over 20 years and we have come across lots of unusual items and letters stuck in books.

"We’ve never literally found treasure before though.

"We’re not gold or coin merchants but the coins seem to be selling for €2,300 or so online so it’s a substantial amount of money.

"The first thing we did was to contact the person we bought the library from as while we agreed to buy the entire contents, we never expected anything like this.

"It was a really magical thing to happen and gave everyone in the shop a real lift."

Mr Kenny said no decision has been made on what to do with the coins.

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