About a week ago in the northeastern portion of the Russian capital of Moscow, a diver was searching the bed of the Yauza River with a magnet when he came across an extremely rare gold coin.
The sad part about finding a valuable artifact while illegally metal detecting (or searching with a magnet) is that you won’t be able to keep the treasure that was discovered in the commission of a crime, however small that offense may be! (It’s illegal to take scrap metal from public land in Russia, as it is in most developed countries.)
Rare Ceremonial Gold Chervonetz
The “scrap metal diver” who found the coin is (understandably) keeping his identity hidden from the public, although he did speak to television news stations in Moscow about the coin. It was reportedly discovered well beneath the floor of the river, stuck in a metal pivot.
According to the English-language Russian news outlet Sputnik, the coin is a rare, ceremonial variety of the gold chervonetz coins that were used during the time of the Russian Empire. The coin dates back four centuries, to the turn of the 1600s, but is not a regular chervonetz. It is a special ceremonial issue for valiant soldiers, not the regular gold coins that circulated as currency. As such, only six of these gold medals of valor are known to exist! Its estimated value is a cool $17,000.
It remains to be seen what will become of this rarity. No doubt, the finder will not be able to claim the treasure as his own. If he were to admit to disturbing an item of such archaeological value without a permit, he could face up to four years in prison and steep fines. However, it’s still unclear if the coin will be placed in a museum or simply seized by the authorities for auction.
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