Celtic gold coins worth several million euros and priceless as cultural treasures have been stolen from the Celtic Museum in Manching in Upper Bavaria. The Minister of Science and Art of Bavaria describes it as a “disaster”.
The broken and empty display case, which until then housed a more than two-thousand-year-old gold treasure worth several million euros, was discovered by employees of the Celtic-Roman Museum in the Bavarian town of Manning on Tuesday after arriving at work in early morning hours.
“It was a classic robbery, like in a bad movie,” said a spokesman for the Bavarian Criminal Police (LKA) in Munich. All the gold was stolen – 483 Celtic gold coins with a total weight of about four kilograms.
According to police information, the classical value of gold according to the daily rate has not yet been determined. However, the value of the collector is several million euros. Police assume the perpetrators will try to sell the gold coins on the illegal art market or “at worst, melt them down.”
It is still unclear if there is a connection between the gold robbery and the sabotage attack on the technical room of “Telekom” in Manhing.
Authorities quickly noticed that phone and internet lines were down at the time of the robbery. Mayor Herbert Nerb told Zidojce Zeitung: “They cut all of Manhing. The museum is actually a high security place. But all ties with the police were cut off.”
Sometime after midnight, the thieves cut some optical cables in the Telecom room, which led to the interruption of telephone and Internet connections for 13,000 Telecom users in the region – and with it the connection of the museum’s alarm to the police.
There are many possibilities that the same perpetrators are behind both thefts. The Bavarian criminal police have not yet commented on this assumption.
According to the Celto-Roman Museum, this stolen treasure is the largest Celtic gold find of the 20th century. It dates back to around the first century BC and was discovered during excavations in the Manhing area in the summer of 1999. The treasure has been on display at the museum since 2006 and has been a major attraction there ever since.
The so-called Opidum Manhing is considered an extraordinary Celtic settlement, in which archaeologists are still excavating. The Bavarian Institute for the Preservation of Monuments considers the settlement among the most important archaeological monuments north of the Alps.
This robbery is the latest in a series of major museum robberies in Germany. In 2019, a priceless treasure was stolen from the Green Vault museum in the former Royal Palace in Dresden. The market value of the stolen items is at least 113.8 million euros.
In March 2017, a 100 kilogram “Big Maple Leaf” gold coin was stolen from the Bode Museum in Berlin. Two members of one of the Arab clans were sentenced to several years in prison for that act. The gold coin was never found.