Kenny's Bookshop in Galway have struck gold with the discovery of hidden treasure in the spine of an old prayer book.

Archivist Sarah Gallagher was cataloguing a recently bought Diocesan library when she unearthed two solid gold coins hidden down the side of the book.

The coins are Mexican in origin and weigh 37.5 grams each. They are dated 1821-1947 and estimated to be worth in the region of €5,000.

The book is one of 25,000 in the newly acquired library and of itself is worth little in monetary value.

The chance removal of the cover has led to a find like no other and created quite a stir in the bookshop.

Tomas Kenny is still trying to figure out the story behind the two gold coins.

"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," Mr Kenny said.

"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."

There has been no decision made yet about what to do with the coins but a charity auction has not been ruled out.