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TOPIC: Hidden treasures come to public view

Hidden treasures come to public view 8 years 6 months ago #4754

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Hidden treasures come to public view
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Maria Domnitskaya

RUSSIA - Probably everyone in his or her childhood has dreamed of finding a hidden treasure. However, only very few are really lucky to find one.

An exhibition devoted to coins and other things found in buried treasures has recently opened in Moscow.

According to UNESCO’s data, at present, the land and the sea all over the world are hiding treasures – mainly, coins - which, in total, may cost over $ 900 bln.

Probably the first person who started to collect old coins in Russia was Emperor Peter the Great. In 1714, Peter founded a museum in St. Petersburg, named “Kunstkamera”, and ordered people to bring in all kinds of curiosities and rarities, including old coins, to enrich the museum’s collection.

The treasures which are presented at the Moscow exhibition can tell much about Russia’s history. The oldest of them are 13 silver coins, dating back to the 11th century A.D. They were found in 1954 in the village of Mitkovo, Bryansk region, central Russia, by a local preschool teacher. Scientists were surprised to see that these coins, released very soon after Russia has converted to Christianity, already had an image of Jesus Christ on one side, and that of Prince Vladimir, who made Christianity Russia’s official religion, with a cross in his hand, on the other.

Strange as it may seem, professional treasure-hunters are, as a rule, seldom lucky. Hidden treasures are usually found by chance.

For example, in May 1987, a farmer in the Tver region (129 kms northwest of Moscow) unexpectedly dug out a hidden treasure in his own garden.

Evgeny Zakharov, a guide at the Moscow exhibition, narrates:

“This farmer, Mr. Tishkin, was working in his garden when his spade suddenly hid some cylindrical metal object. It turned out to be a box, and when Mr. Tishkin opened it, he was shocked to find a great lot of coins, wrapped in scraps of newspapers, inside. The coins were green with time, but the images on them were still distinguishable. In total, there were 2,396 coins, dating back to various times. The oldest was released in 1709, and the youngest – in 1915. The papers in which they were wrapped dated back to the early 20th century, which says that the treasure was, most probably, dug at that time.”

“Mr. Tishkin handed his finding over to the local museum. According to the laws which existed then, he received one fourth of the treasure’s cost.”

A peculiar thing about Mr. Tishkin’s finding is that some of the coins were false. Experts still cannot say why somebody in the early 20th century deliberately hid false money. One of the coins is a real rarity – the so-called “Konstantin’s ruble”. There are only 5 such coins in the world. In 1825, when Russian Emperor Alexander I died, it was expected that his brother Konstantin would become the new emperor. Five trial coins with Konstantin’s portrait were released. However, Konstantin rejected the throne in favor of his brother Nickolas.

The exhibition is timed to correspond with the 170s anniversary of one of Russia’s oldest banks, “Sberbank Rossii”. “Sberbank” has a very close connection with this exhibition, for many of the exhibited coins have been bought by this bank from private collectors and handed over to museums.

Courtesy The Voice of Russia
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“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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