Thursday, 15 February 2018

Illegal treasure hunting in Romania

Romania, where the coins come from
Richard Giedroyć, 'Illegal treasure hunting active (sic) in Romania' World Coin News February 14, 2018 according to a Romanian police report,
“[four Czech citizens] undertook unauthorized searches and took from the archeological sites of Dacian fortresses several lots of artifacts belonging to the national cultural patrimony, causing the destruction of the archeological stratigraphy of the historical monuments in Piatra Roşie, Costeşti, Blidaru and Băniţa, in Hunedoara county.” Four bronze and silver coins identified as being Dacian and Roman valued at 2,000 euro (about $2,355 US) were seized. According to Romania-Insider, “As part of the same case, several other monetary treasures and archeological goods illegally taken to the Czech Republic by the four were recovered last year.”
Other arrests have taken place recently. At the beginning of November, police in Caras-Severin county announced the seizure of about 5,000 artifacts including more than 300 ancient and medieval coins.
The raids were aimed at treasure hunters in Caras-Severin, Arad, Timis and Bihor counties in western Romania. The announcement noted that 18 metal detectors had been seized, 12 of which “were not authorized.”
Other artefacts in private possessions were seized before the people could sell them on to no-questions-asked buyers, such as a unique gold bracelet  seized by police from a 27-year-old man in Olt County in southern Romania (reported when the man tried to sell it in a pawn shop) and collection-quality coins from Hunedoara county worth about1,500 euro.

Obviously the message is that if you are buying artefacts of this nature a responsible collector should by rights have to have access to the paperwork proving the seller obtained the items from a licit source and actually has legal title to them. Somehow Mr Giedroyć seems to have forgotten to put that in his article merely noting that in Romania 'The local policy appears to be that you are guilty until proven innocent', which is indisputably the case if you are caught red-handed with state property in your possession. What is so difficult to understand in that?

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