If the person, whose name has not been issued by the authorities, coins were found in Belgium, they would have the right to keep them, but the archaeological objects found in France are the property of the state.
Authorities searched two properties in eastern France, a French customs spokesman told CNN.
The haul consisted of pieces of sculptures. Credit: Jean-Christophe Verghen / AFP / AFP via Getty Image
In addition to Roman coins, officials found more than 13,000 other archaeological artifacts of “exceptional quality”, according to the press release.
Included were bracelets and necklaces made during the Bronze and Iron Age, Roman and Gallic coins, and a Roman dodecahedron, of which only 100 are known examples.
Other items included pieces of sculptures from various historical eras as well as belt buckles.
The seizure is one of the greatest recoveries of looted artifacts in French history. Credit: JEAN CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP / GETTY IMAGE
The press release stated that authorities seized a total of 27,400 items of “lowest value” in one of the largest recoveries of looted artifacts in French history.
The customs agency has concluded its investigation and will pass the file on public prosecutors in the next few days, a spokeswoman for the agency told CNN on Thursday.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mayer welcomed “exemplary cooperation” between French and Belgian authorities.
“This allowed a priceless archaeological treasure to be seized. The culprit is liable to imprisonment of hundreds of euros in customs,” he said.
“This is a clear message addressed to those who, for the benefit and selfish pleasure of a few, deprive us of our common heritage and wipe out all sections of our history.”
French Culture Minister Rosaline Bechelot-Narquin emphasized “the importance of European cooperation in the face of criminal activities that do not know the boundaries.”