The "Ahs", "Ohs", and "Wows" are certain. The Trier gold treasure is enthroned in all its glory in the middle of the new coin cabinet in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier. Around three years after the attempted robbery, the 2,500 pure gold coins are being shown again - in a treasury that has been upgraded to meet top security standards. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate has invested more than one million euros in the new building of the coin cabinet, including the latest security technology.
"The largest hoard of gold coins from the Roman Empire in the world is one of our highlights in the most Roman of all federal states," said the Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD) at the presentation. Imagine if it had been stolen. "This treasure is irreplaceable." Museum director Marcus Reuter added: "His cultural loss would have been irretrievable." The coin cabinet will be open to visitors from Saturday (September 10th).
The shock was deep: In October 2019, burglars tried to steal the 18.5-kilogram treasure in the museum. However, they did not manage to open the bulletproof glass cube over the gold coins before the alarm system went off and the police arrived. They fled without taking anything. According to Reuter, the coins have been “stored in a secret, safe place” since the attempted theft.
Safety Precautions "High End, Worldwide Champions League"
"Today the treasure is safer than it has ever been," he continued. The pillar display case in the middle of the room says "High End, worldwide Champions League". Appropriate for the treasure. "It's in the same league as the Nebra Sky Disc." A total of 29 Roman emperors or their relatives are depicted on the gold pieces - from Emperor Nero to Mark Aurelius. There are 100 coin types that are only available in this treasure.
The gold treasure was surprisingly found in 1993 during construction work for a parking deck in the former Roman city. "A find of the century," said Lewentz. Researchers assume that the ancient gold was buried in a cellar by an unknown person during a civil war in 196 AD. "One gold coin corresponded to the monthly salary of a Roman legionnaire," said Reuter.
Gold treasure "the undisputed star" in the Trier Museum
In August 2021, a then 28-year-old was sentenced to three years in prison by the Trier Regional Court. He had admitted to being a lookout for the crime. Two perpetrators, who are still unknown, tried to steal the treasure, he said at the time.
Investigations into attempted theft are ongoing
For the Trier police, the file is not yet closed. "We would like to have all the perpetrators," said police chief Friedel Durben. Stay tuned to the case - the investigation is ongoing. "As the police, we are proud to have prevented the theft of the gold treasure and to have convicted a perpetrator in a timely manner."
How exactly thieves will be deterred in the future - expert Michael von Focht from the State Criminal Police Office did not want to reveal any details. Only this much: It is a well coordinated system of mechanical and electronic security.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe (SPD) said he was grateful to the state "that the cultural heritage for guests from all over the world is presented here in a modern and above all safe way with great effort". The treasure is "very important" for Trier.
The reopening of the coin cabinet had been repeatedly postponed. There was no "off-the-shelf" solution, a number of custom-made products were required. In addition, there was "a tense situation" on the crafts and raw materials market. In some cases, delivery times of up to 56 weeks were faced, the minister said.
The treasure is the flagship of the Trier Museum. The Rhineland-Palatinate state exhibition "The Fall of the Roman Empire" can also be seen there until November 27th, which is of great national interest. They will soon be turning 75,000 there. Welcoming visitors, said Lewentz.