$1 million worth of Celtic gold coins was stolen from a German museum during a mysterious power outage

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
November 4, 2023


Over $1 million worth of ancient gold has been stolen from a museum in Germany, Bavarian State Police have said.

On Thursday night, 483 coins were stolen when unknown thieves broke into the Celtic Roman Museum in Manching.

The coins, dating back to 100 BCE, were unearthed in 1999 in Manching, Germany, and are considered the largest discovery of Celtic gold coins found in the 20th century.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, fiber optic cables were cut in at a German Telekom distribution center, according to details shared at a press conference held by the State Criminal Police Office and the public prosecutor’s office. This resulted in 13,000 homes losing internet and telephone access.

This disruption also disarmed the nearby Celtic Roman Museum’s alarm system. Nine minutes after the wires were cut, an escape door was forced open at the museum, and the coins were stolen, according to BR24’s reportage of the press conference.

The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office is now investigating how “strangers” managed to gain access to the regional hub and sever fiber optic cables the night the museum was hit, according to BR24.

Picture taken on November 23, 2022 shows a broken window at the Celtic and Roman museum in Manching, southern Germany, from where a hoard of Celtic coins was stolen. CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Writing on Twitter, Bavaria’s minister for science and art, Markus Blume, said the raid was a “catastrophe,” adding, “whoever steals art damages our culture.”

Speaking to BR, Blume said: “It’s clear that you don’t simply march into a museum and take this treasure with you.”

“It’s highly secured, and as such, there’s a suspicion that we’re rather dealing with a case of organized crime,” the minister added, per The Jerusalem Post.

Rupert Gebhard, head of the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Munich, also warned it’s likely the loot may be melted down and sold for their gold value of just $260,000, as the coins would be difficult to sell on the public market, according to The Jerusalem Post.