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March 8, 2021

Stolen ancient coins recovered from UK; British ambassador Paul Brummell promises further support

The National Museum of Romanian History (MNIR) presented on Tuesday seven gold and silver ancient coins recovered from the United Kingdom; the event was attended by British Ambassador Paul Brummell, who praised on the occasion Romania’s cultural heritage and promised UK’s further support in recovering stolen items.

The seven coins belonged in treasures found in the Carpathian Mountains, and were found at auction houses in the UK; the ambassador mentioned the contribution of British law enforcement agencies in the effort of recovering items stolen from archaeological sites over the past years.

MNIR director Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu declared, “It is an important day for the national cultural heritage. (…) The recovery of this heritage is a legitimate goal, and thus it’s worth every effort.”

Culture Ministry’s state secretary Alexandru Oprean decried the perpetration of stealing from historical sites.

General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar also attended the event; he voiced his satisfaction for the repatriation of the coins and hailed the excellent collaboration of British and Romanian judiciary authorities and police. He also called for the urgent adoption of a Heritage Code.

Police Chief Bogdan Despescu assured that the force will keep working to recover items of the national cultural heritage.

Experts say that the coins, returned from London on Monday, were found with metal detectors and smuggled from Romania – one unique pre-Lysimachos stater coined in Tomis in the 3rd century AD; two staters minted in Tomis and one minted in Callatis during the Mithridatic Wars; a Koson stater with a monogram; and two imitations of Roman Republic denarii (minted by C. Memmius and N. Cordius and respectively by Marc Anthony and Octavian).

The High Court of Cassation and Justice (Romania’s Supreme Court), the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Culture, and experts of the MNIR and the Romanian Academy Library contributed to the successful recovery.

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