Celtic coin cache found in Netherlands By
TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer Toby Sterling Associated
Press Writer – Thu Nov 13, 4:23 pm ET
Netherlands – A hobbyist with a metal detector struck
both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache
of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch
city of Maastricht.
"It's exciting, like a little boy's dream," Paul
Curfs, 47, said Thursday after the spectacular find was made
Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins
was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the
future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic
tribes in the area.
Curfs said he was walking with his detector this spring and
was about to go home when he suddenly got a strong signal
on his earphones and uncovered the first coin.
"It was golden and had a little horse on it —
I had no idea what I had found," he said.
After posting a photo of the coin on a Web forum, he was
told it was a rare find. The following day he went back and
found another coin.
"It looked totally different — silver, and saucer-shaped,"
he said. Curfs notified the city of his find, and he and several
other hobbyists helped in locating the rest of the coins,
in cooperation with archaeologists.
Nico Roymans, the archaeologist who led the academic investigation
of the find, believes the gold coins in the cache were minted
by a tribe called the Eburones that Caesar claimed to have
wiped out in 53 B.C. after they conspired with other groups
in an attack that killed 6,000 Roman soldiers.
The Eburones "put up strong resistance to Caesar's journeys
of conquest," Roymans said.
The silver coins were made by tribes further to the north
— possible evidence of cooperation against Caesar, he
Both coin types have triple spirals on the front, a common
The two other known caches of Eburones coins have been found
in neighboring Belgium and Germany.
Maastricht city spokeswoman Carla Wetzels said the value
of the coins is not known — their worth is primarily
historical. The Belgian cache of similar size was estimated
at around 175,000 euros ($220,000).
The farmer who owned the land agreed to sell his interest
to the city for an undisclosed sum.
Curfs, a teacher at a nearby junior college, continues to
own the 11 coins he found, but has lent them to the City of
Maastricht on a long-term basis. The coins will go on display
at the Centre Ceramique museum in Maastricht this weekend.
Curfs said he considers his metal detector habit a meditative
hobby and not an obsession.
"I have advice for anybody hoping to get rich like this,"
Curfs said. "Forget it."