Library Janitor Coins
December 12, 2011 by staff
Library Janitor Coins, A library janitor made a historic discovery after unearthing a collection of Ancient Roman coins which could be worth ‘millions’. Custodian Tanja Hols discovered the unopened wooden box in an archive of the historic state library in Passau, southeast Germany, but thought it looked ‘fairly unspectacular’ in first glance.
But on closer inspection she found the ‘unassuming’ box contained 172 well-preserved gold and silver coins dating back thousands of years.
She informed library bosses, who found the hoard belonged to local prince-bishops who hid the treasure in the library in the early 19th century to avoid paying taxes.
Experts believe the coins were hidden in the library around 1803 during Germany’s secularisation, when such church assets were handed over to the state.
The coins themselves, which are have originated in ancient Rome, Greece and the Byzantine empire, were forgotten because they were undervalued by past library workers.
Janitor Ms Hols said she frequently visits the fourth floor archive where the coins were found, in order to retrieve books for customers.
The archive is also home to old furniture and even a stuffed crocodile, but her most recent discovery has been the most valuable in the library’s history.
The discovery has since been described as a ‘real bonanza’ for the library in the Bavarian city.
Reports have suggested the box contents could be worth ‘millions’, while internet research showed the find to be worth at least a ‘six-figure sum’.
Ms Hols, 43, said last week: ‘I had no idea that I’d found a treasure.
‘The box itself was fairly unspectacular, it looked like a big jewlery box, with lots of little drawers inside.’
The wooden box containing the coins had even been periodically dusted by fellow custodians who had no idea of its valuable contents.
Library bosses are now set to give janitor Ms Hols a promotion following her unlikely discovery.
A spokesperson said ‘she was very honest, a brilliant historian and a great detective.’
The official added: ‘We are certainly going to promote her to the curating side of the museum and we’re discussing a suitable reward for her.’
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