The Museum’s Missing Objects
What has happened?
In 2013, we discovered that objects were missing from the collections of the Royal Coin Cabinet. A police investigation was launched, and we also began an extensive and systematic inventory of the collections. In total, about 1500 objects have been reported missing to the police – mainly gold and silver coins.
The police investigation, which has been going on for a long time, has led to charges being brought against two former employees of the Royal Coin Cabinet.
In 2017, one of them – a former manager – was charged with the grand theft of some 30 objects. At the same time, a coin dealer was convicted of the aggravated receiving of stolen goods.
In December 2018, charges were brought against another former employee of the Royal Coin Cabinet. The charges involved the aggravated receiving of about 200 stolen coins. District court hearings were held in early 2020 and resulted in a verdict of acquittal. The prosecutor has since appealed the verdict to the Svea Court of Appeal. In January 2022, the Court of Appeal upheld the district court's acquittal. In July 2022, they granted leave to appeal the case.
In March 2023, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal in the matter of claims for damages. The Supreme Court states in ruling that the claims for damages that the National Historical Museums have made are not time-barred. The decision means that the National Historical Museums' claim for damages will now be re-examined by the Court of Appeal.
"We welcome the decision. It is of great importance for many authorities and others who manage collections that are part of our common cultural heritage and collective memory," says Cecilia von Heijne, Museum Director of the Economy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet.
Frequently asked questions
What is the value of the missing objects?
Objects of irreplaceable cultural-historical value have been lost. The objects can provide us with knowledge about economics and trade, history and culture. We can gain insight into how people handled money in everyday life and how countries produced and circulated coins and banknotes. In archaeological contexts, coin finds also help to determine the age of ancient monuments. The financial value of the 1500 objects reported missing to the police is estimated at approximately SEK 25 million.
Is it possible to get the missing objects back?
All objects that have been confirmed to be missing have been reported to the police, and photographed objects are also registered in Europol's worldwide register of stolen museum objects. Eleven objects have been returned to the Economy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet's collections. It concerns eight coins and three banknotes that were confiscated in connection with the first indictment in 2017.
What measures has the museum taken?
That objects from the collections have gone missing is both serious and sad. Since the problem was discovered, we have significantly tightened our security procedures, including the handling of objects. We have also invested more resources in photographing and recording the objects digitally, which increases control and security.
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