Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: AFP 4:52 p.m., February 26, 2024

French customs officers have put an end to trafficking in ancient coins.

More than 8,000 pieces and objects from the Anatolia region of Turkey were discovered in an apartment "in the center of France".

And this would only be part of the loot, customs officials estimate that 7,000 pieces would already be in the wild. 

An unusual treasure found in an apartment.

French customs managed to dismantle trafficking in ancient coins, after more than three years of investigation.

More than 8,000 pieces and objects, originating from the Anatolia region, in Turkey, were discovered in a home in "central France", in the spring of 2022. An impressive loot which should have been even more so, since the Law enforcement officials estimate that 7,000 pieces have already been scattered in the wild. 

A rare and priceless piece of history

These objects of high economic, but also historical, value were discovered in "a television cabinet, freezer bags, and boxes", in the four corners of the apartment, explains an investigator specializing in the trafficking of cultural goods in France Inter.

Customs officials estimate that all the goods that passed into the hands of traffickers would have a total value of more than one and a half million euros.  

In addition to the coins, customs officials got their hands on a magic incantation plaque and an exemption plaque, used at the time to ensure that imperial animals were not subjected to forced labor.

A rare and priceless piece of history. 


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10 years in prison and 15 million euros fine

The modus operandi of this organization worthy of "drug traffickers" was well-oiled.

"Typically, the coins are looted from villages by people who are in precarious situations. The mafiosi will provide metal detectors so that they can search for treasures in their locality, according to the stories they have been able to heard and which were able to pass between generations", explains an investigator.

Then, “collectors” will go from “village to village” to buy the found objects, “certainly not at the European market price”. 

Items seized by customs officers will be returned to Turkey through diplomatic channels.

The man who kept this loot in his apartment, described as a person without history, risks up to 10 years in detention and a fine of 15 million euros, ten times more than the treasure's estimate, for importation smuggling prohibited goods and possession of goods subject to proof.

He will also soon be heard by the courts.

The men who managed this trafficking from Turkey were arrested on site.