Metal detector enthusiast forced to handover rare gold coin to authorities
A gold coin, dating back to 1738, that was found by a metal detector enthusiast in a field in the canton of St. Gallen has been handed over to cantonal authorities after a court battle. The Louis d’Or gold coin was legal tender in France until the end of the 18th century.
The man who found the coin had been using his metal detector in fields in the cantons of St. Gallen and Thurgau without permission. He found the coin in June and then tried to sell it on the Internet, which is when the archaeology department of St. Gallen became aware of the find. A criminal investigation was launched and the man was taken to court, which ruled that the coin was the property of the canton and not the man who found it.
Only three examples of the Louis d’Or coin have been found in Switzerland. At the time, the value of the 22-carat gold coin would have been enough to pay for three people to travel from St. Gallen to Paris, and was the equivalent of four months’ pay for a soldier.