Eckhard LAUFER

(Polizei Hessen, AG Raubgrabung HLKA, Usingen, Germany)

A collection of over 400 ancient coins was confiscated by the German police in Hessen in December 2006. The collection packed in a plastic bag with a black adhesive tape was on the way to a renowned antiquity dealer in South Germany. It was a collection of the “Bosporanische” empire (northern black sea area), from 5th century B.C. until 4th century AD. The collection was the heritage of a deceased husband, as was said. He had already begun with collecting in Russia and continued it in Germany. A fiction, as was shown by the investigations. In May 2009 the “heiress” and one courier were sentenced to imprisonment of one year on probation for receiving stolen goods. The coins were handed over “voluntarily”.

Which significance does the illegal trade with ancient objects have in our society? What ist the meaning of proofs of origin in a criminal proceeding? Do laws for the protection of cultural objects fulfil their purpose? How important is the cooperation with the ministry for cultural matters, archaeologists and the custom? Which role do offices of investigation of the injured countries play? What is the role of the antiquity trade and the internet?

A summary of the investigation shall give answers to these and further questions.