Trier gold trove on show after robbery attempt

7 Sep

The world's largest trove of gold coins from the Roman imperial period can be admired again at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier from Saturday (September 10).


In 2019, burglars had tried to stealthe treasure, but they failed because of the bulletproof glass that protected the coins. Although museum director Marcus Reuter told DW back then that the security concept had worked, the incident was reason enough for the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate to temporarily halt its exhibition of the coins to equip the treasure chamber with new security technology. This renovation cost around €1 million ($992,000). The coins had been housed "in a secret, safe place," museum director Reuter said Monday when presenting the new coin cabinet.

The approximately 2,500 coins with a total weight of 18.5 kilograms had been found in 1993 during construction work for a parking deck in the former Roman city. They are believed to have been buried in a cellar by an unknown person in the year 196 AD during a civil war. The priceless coins depict 29 Roman emperors and empresses as well as members of the imperial house and are made of almost pure gold.

The trove of coins is now on display as part of an exhibition on the history of money from the Celts to the 20th century, which includes some 14,000 coins from various periods. The Trier coin collection comprises a total of around 210,000 coins.


Author Torsten Landsberg

tla/pl (dpa, kna)

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Germany: Trial begins over failed robbery of Roman golden coins


A Dutch man has appeared in court facing charges of an attempted robbery of Roman-era coins from a German museum in Trier. His gang had wanted to make off with 18 kilograms of gold.


One member of a three-man Dutch gang went on trial on Tuesday for the attempted theft of a collection of Roman gold coins from a German museum in 2019. The 28-year-old defendant is facing charges of attempted robbery and membership in a crime syndicate. His two accomplices are still on the run, according to prosecutor Volker Blindert.

The group broke into the Rheinisches Landesmuseum (Rhineland State Museum) in the western city of Trier — close to the Luxembourg border — in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate on October 8, 2019.

Their aim was to steal a collection of over 2,500 solid gold coins. The artifacts weigh 18.5 kilograms (41 pounds) and have been dated back to the Roman era.

How the events unfolded

The gang got in via scaffolding, prizing open a window and breaking through a heavy door with a sledgehammer. Two of the thieves went inside while another stood guard. The reinforced glass protecting the collection, however, proved too much for the duo. They fled after the alarm went off and police arrived on the scene.

With an estimated currency value of €10 million ($11.9 million) in today's standards, the collection is the pride of the museum. It is believed to be the largest from the Roman imperial period. The coins were discovered in the city during building works in 1993. The ancient city of Trier is an important historical site for its Roman remains. The collection is currently not on show while the museum improves security.

Tracked down with DNA

The accused was arrested after police used DNA found at the scene to track him down. Dutch authorities later deported him in line with a European arrest warrant. His lawyer said that the defendant had no intention to respond in court, but that this could change.


ab/dj (AFP, dpa)

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