German Man Uncovers Nazi-Era Treasure

217 gold coins were found in a field
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2015 9:21 AM CDT
Updated Jul 18, 2015 7:00 PM CDT
German Man Uncovers Nazi-Era Treasure
This undated file picture shows the German Fuehrer Adolf Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun while dining.   (AP Photo/US Army Signal Corps from Eva Braun's album, File)

For anyone with a metal detector collecting dust in the closet, this story should keep the dream alive. A man in northern Germany turned up a gold coin in October while searching near a pine tree at a field's edge. Further searching yielded nine coins, at which point Florian Bautsch, 31—described by the Local as an "amateur archaeologist" and "certified metal detectorist" and by the Irish Mirror as a "licensed treasure hunter"—called in the professionals. Archaeologists ultimately found an additional 207 gold coins that archaeologist Edgar Ring says he is confident once belonged to the Nazi-era Reichsbank. A second archaeologist tells Bild, "We believe that the coins were hidden in the last days of World War II or shortly after the war there."

Experts were able to date the coins, which themselves were minted between 1831 and 1910, thanks in part to two seals that had formerly been part of the two pouches that held the coins; those pouches no longer exist. Chemical analysis dated the seals—which are made of aluminum, per Reuters—and other remnants to between 1940 and 1950. The seals featured a swastika, imperial eagle, and the words "Reichsbank Berlin 244." The Mirror puts forth the theory that the gold was left there "in the chaotic final days of the war" and notes that the Reichsbank hid coins throughout the country as Berlin came under attack. The gold is believed to be worth about $50,000, though Bautsch's finder's fee will be only about $2,700. They were turned up near Luneburg, where the "last Auschwitz trial on Earth" just came to its end. (Read the tragic tale of the man who wouldn't salute Hitler.)

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