Italy's 'Art Squad' charges hoarder of rare Roman coins", The Local 24 March 2017)
The rarest of the coins is one of just five in existence, police said on Thursday. It dates back to the time of Emperor Constantino II, who was in power between 337 and 340. In total, the Cultural Heritage police in Perugia, central Italy, confiscated 13 coins and various other "archaeological artefacts of interest" which dated back to the fourth century AD. The owner has been charged with illegal possession of cultural objects and violation of the laws surrounding excavations. Police also confiscated two portable metal detectors which they believed had been used to track down the artefacts in agricultural areas across the Umbria region.The article explains: "art crime is a huge problem in Italy, where artworks are stolen from unguarded churches and even from secure museums, and illegal excavations can uncover valuable historical treasures. Over one million artworks are currently listed as missing or stolen". Yet the police cannot do any better than persecute some innocent collector, the coins shown in the photo are not what would really classify as "rare" and all could be bought for a few bucks from any dealer. These coins were minted in their millions and widely traded in the ancient world! Italy neds to get its "heritage protection" priorities right and instead of opposing collectors they need to go after the real thieves. Until they do, the Trump administration needs to suspend repatriation to countries like this that cannot look after the world heritage.