Sunday, 01. February 2015
13. 08. 14. - 15:00
Treasure hunter Paul Croitoru has found what could be the oldest forged currency in history - after finding ancient Greek coins in a Romanian forest.
Keen metal detector fan Paul, 37, found 300 whole coins and 40 fragments while searching land near the region Partestii de Sus in northern Romania.
Paul and son Alexandru, 13, unearthed the haul while searching what they believed to be the site of a long abandoned medieval village.
"We have never found anything much before. The odd coin - but mostly just bullet cases, old tins or rusty nails. It can be a bit disheartening but it was fun to spend time together and of course dream we would one day find something," he said.
But in the latest expedition, that was exactly what happened when the father and son team heard a huge bleep and began digging out an astonishing haul of coins.
"We found one, then another, then another, then a pile of them. We couldn't believe it. We were pulling them up in handfuls.
"It is every treasure hunter's dream," added amateur historian Paul whose full-time job is working for the local council at the Cacica townhall in north-eastern Romania.
Experts believe the silver coins - now estimated to be worth 500 EUR (400 GBP) each - were local forgeries of ancient Greek currency and could be more than 2,000 years old.
Most coins show a Greek solider on horseback on one side and face on the other and the total haul could be worth more than 150,000 EUR (120,000 GBP).
Local historian Viorel Blanaru explained: "They are made of raw silver, quite good workmanship, quite good copies but that's what they are - copies of Greek coins."
He added however that in ancient times it was the quality of the silver that was important, and he said that exchanging parts of coins was an ancient way of giving change.
He said: "If you had something that cost half a penny, and you only had a penny, you simply cut it in half which would explain why there were also fragments."
Under local treasure trove laws Paul is only in line to get 10 percent of the coins' value - around 15,000 EUR (12,000 GBP) - while the State gets the rest.
"It is still more than I earn in a year from my job but I have never done this for money. There are those in the area that say I was foolish not to have kept the lot, and could easily have sold them abroad with nobody any the wiser. But my son would have known, and what sort of an example is that for a boy to get from his father? I don't have any regrets," he explained.
The coins will be restored and then taken to the Suceava History Museum in north-eastern Romania were they will be put on display.
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