Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Looking for the Lava Treasure

Interpol and French police are working to recover ancient coins being sold illegally on the European market from the so-called ‘Lava Treasure’ of ancient Roman gold coins and plates a number of items have already been recovered from the open market.
The rare collection, which dates back to 300 AD, is believed to have been found by divers in the gulf of Lava off the coast of Corsica in the late 20th century. It is considered unique maritime cultural heritage and part of French state property, and therefore should not be sold. To date, some 450 gold coins from the Lava Treasure have been traced and identified after their sale in Europe and in the US, and enquiries by French authorities are continuing. Details of the coins have been added to INTERPOL's stolen works of art database, which has secure online public access, and specialists from INTERPOL and the French National Police are advising coin dealers and collectors who may be offered part of the Lava Treasure to check this database in order to avoid its illegal purchase and to preserve this historical treasure. (Interpol press release)
I note that the text speaks of "recovering the coins" rather than arresting those who are selling them illegally and investigating those who bought them (and seeing what else they've been buying).

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