Suspicions were aroused when Patrice T. presented an astonishing cache of 14,154 Roman coins to the Flemish Organization for Immovable Heritage in 2019. Though he claimed to have dug them up on an apple orchard he owns in Belgium, the find did not fit with archeologists’ and historians’ knowledge of the area.
Belgian officials contacted their French counterparts and began a joint investigation into the man, eventually leading to the stunning seizure of 27,400 Roman coins and artifacts from his home in eastern France. Experts value the cache at $946,670.
In addition to the piles of Roman coins, the treasure includes statues, belt buckles, bracelets, and necklaces from the Bronze and Iron Ages, the Renaissance, and the Middle Ages.