Italy Returns Smuggled Bulgarian Historical Treasures
Italy has returned 2201 historical treasures to Bulgaria's National Historical Museum, that were smuggled from Bulgaria long ago.
A specialized police unit working on the protection of cultural heritage checked Bulgarian antiques that were on sale at an international numismatic display in Italy's Verona four years ago. It turned out they did not have any papers confirming ownership.
"Bulgarian expert Nikolay Markov prepared an expertise for the monuments, and other Bulgarian professionals established that their land of origin is Bulgaria. As a result, the Italian specialized bodies handed the items over to us after only four years. That is a relatively short period of time, minding that similar cases involving other European countries usually take up to 15 years. As far as Bulgaria is concerned, this is a happy precedent for the last 20 years, highlighting the usefulness of this country's EU membership", Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the National Museum of History, explained.
The antiques were deposited in the Museum of History on 24 February. Among them there are coins, rings, bracelets, amulets and pots, made of silver, bronze, copper, ceramics and bone. There are items that have been originally donated to temples, Bulgarian National Radio reported.
"This particular case was resolved easily, given that many of the intercepted coins came from well-known mints scattered across the Bulgarian lands. Even within the vast Roman Empire such bronze coins had only limited circulation. They could not possibly travel away from the present-day Bulgarian lands", Nikolay Markov said
Two cases in the central lobby of the National Museum of History will be used to display the monuments. The captions will specify that they were recovered thanks to the cooperation of Italian authorities. Special diplomas of grateful acknowledgement have been sent to the Italian police officers involved in the operation.
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The total price of the returned items from italy is estimated at 77 000 leva, less than 40 000 euros.
In the case of the Byzantine plates, the greeks payd 2 million euros and the Greeks will be very reluctant to return the plates to Bulgaria.
Basically many countries including Greece make claims to other countries all the time to return such historical objects but I guess if it is something really important and expensive the countries in possession will try everything to keep them.