Golden treasure from Thirty Years’ War discovered in Pardubice region

Photo: ČTK/Josef Vostárek

Officials of the Pardubice region recently announced a surprise discovery. Dozens of gold coins were found on a pasture near the town of Králíky in the north east of Bohemia. Experts, who have analysed the coins, say they date to the period of the Thirty Years’ War and may have been buried while an army was on the march.

Photo: ČTK/Josef Vostárek

An unnamed individual found 60 coins partly buried on a pasture. The discovery was immediately reported and, before publicising the information earlier this week, local experts were asked to look at the objects.

One of them is archaeologist David Vích from the Vysoké Mýto Regional Museum. He says the youngest coin dates back to 1631, which suggests the items were likely buried sometime between the mid- to late-period in the war. The region of Pardubice was threatened multiple times during these phases of the conflict, especially by Swedish forces.

“The Thirty Years’ War was a very dramatic period when things were often buried underground and not collected afterwards. Because this is quite a large amount of money, whose composition points to its origins somewhere in the region of Hungary, we may go so far as to hypothesise that it is related to a marching army, or some sort of military action.”

The coins, one of which weighs more than three grams, were likely to have been placed in a leather or textile pouch which rotted away over time.

Aside from Hungarian coins, there are also pieces from Poland, the Netherlands and Turkey. Most are made out of gold with a high purity.

Photo: ČTK/Josef Vostárek
According to numismatist Petr Vorel, the horde would have bought two cows or a good horse at the time. His colleague Ladislav Nekvapil, who works with him at the East Bohemian Museum of Pardubice, says that today the treasure could be sold in the range of seven figure numbers.

“We are just beginning to analyse the find properly, so we cannot say exactly what the treasure is worth. However, there are some coins here which would be worth around seven to ten thousand crowns on the collectors’ market and others in the range of tens and even hundreds of thousands of crowns.

“If we were to make a rough estimate the total worth would probably lie in the millions.”

Experts say they are particularly happy that the find was immediately reported and did not end up on the black market, which apparently happens often.

The region’s deputy governor responsible for culture told the Czech News Agency that he is ready to propose a reward worth 10 percent of the total price be given to the person who discovered the coins.

Archaeologist David Vích says the items will certainly be displayed to the public, but expects the earliest opportunity will be in May 2019 when the Vysoké Mýto Regional Museum is holding a museum night.