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Treasure find granddad fuming over finder's fee

Paul O'Mahony · 26 Nov 2009, 13:30

Published: 26 Nov 2009 13:30 GMT+01:00

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"It's incredibly stupid of them. This is a story that went all over the world last year. It was reported on everywhere from Berlin to Bangkok, and they are missing a unique opportunity to highlight the most important part of archaeology: finding artefacts," Jens Granhof told The Local, in reference to a recent decision by the Swedish Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet).

"It's absolutely shameful that they don't take the value to our cultural heritage into consideration."

Jens Granhof and his then 9-year-old grandson were out exploring the site of the Battle of Lund (1676) in April last year when the boy happened on some silver coins coated in verdigris. The buried treasure had likely come to the surface when the field in which they were wandering was recently ploughed.

The story of the 9-year-old boy behind such a significant find captured the imagination of the world's press. Granhof the elder expected a happier ending, though he was at pains to stress that he was enraged not by the level of the monetary reward, but the inflexible manner in which it was calculated.

In its decision, the Heritage Board explained to the Granhofs that they would receive 10 percent of the value of their find, which was calculated at 400,000 kronor.

Granhof initally appealed the reward, arguing that the finder's fee was too low.

But the Heritage Board has since rejected his appeal, meaning the initial award amount stands.

"The amount is largely unimportant. This was a great opportunity for the Heritage Board to really highlight the importance of finds like this. But when people see what we get for our troubles they just won't bother turning over what they've found.

"My grandson is of the same opinion. My whole family is upset by this," he said.

The board however pointed out that it was in fact under no obligation to pay a reward since the coins were found at a registered heritage site, meaning the finder is obliged to hand over any finds to the state.

But Jens Granhof continued to cite the symbolic importance of archaeological discoveries, calling to mind a recent case in which an unguarded site of archaeological importance was plundered on the Baltic Island of Gotland.

"We need to encourage people to protect our cultural heritage, not put them off the idea.

Story continues below…

"I sat with my son and guarded the site for two whole nights and all we get in return is a cold shower. I really didn't expect this reaction. If I'd been like the thieves in Gotland I could have sold it for a much higher figure," he said.

The treasure trove uncovered by grandson and granddad consisted of some 9,000 coins stored in two clay vessels and primarily dating from the 13th century.

The haul was unprecedented in southern Sweden and included an estimated 3,000 English pennies minted during the reign of Henry III, as well as 6,000 coins from 13th century Denmark. A handful of German and Dutch coins, a German bracteate, a brooch, and two small silver pieces completed the list of treasures unearthed by the Granhof.

Departmental managers at the Swedish Heritage Board were not immediately available for comment.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

14:27 November 26, 2009 by nollbit
It's either about the money (which he refutes) or safeguarding the cultural heritage. 40.000 SEK is a lot of money for spending two nights "protecting" the site. He's simply greedy.
14:44 November 26, 2009 by peropaco
Next time someone finds such treasure should go straight and sell it to collectors.
15:38 November 26, 2009 by Dick Swinger
Its robbery plain and simple. The argument of cultural heratage doesnt stand up either, examples of many of the coins will already be found in the swedish national collections, if there happen to be a few examples that are significant the government should pay a fair price for those and let the finder sell the rest on the open market if they dont want to aquire them honestly. If the government was truely interested in preserving the national heratage they would pay a fair price to induce people to report their findings. It can only be speculation how much of swedens past will never be found and lets be honest 40000 kroner for a collection priceless relics is a insignificant pittance for a government to pay.
15:59 November 26, 2009 by peropaco
Spot on Dickey boy.
16:40 November 26, 2009 by ehwhat?
I'm with you most of the way, Dick.

It clearly is greed at play here and is a horrible lesson for the grandchild to learn. I think the picture says it all. What a look of innocence on the boy.

By the way, there is nothing in this story that suggest that this bloke has any background in archaeology at all. So how does he become an amateur archaeologist? What society does he belong to? Where has he worked? I have an interest in neurosurgery, does that make me an amateur brain surgeon? It might, but we aren't allowed to carry pocketknives over here you know.

Many places do not permit a finders fee at all. Yet, the majority of people turn the items in to the land stewards. The expectation of reward breeds an entitlement atmosphere. Why should anyone expect that something they find on someone else's property should belong to them? The reward is strictly an optional thanks.

In those places where finds, in some instances, are recompensed by the state (e.g., UK), the final determination of worth is calculated by a committee made up of academics and museum specialists, appraiser's from auction houses and collectors. The intent is to come to a fair market assessment of worth. Is this how it works in Sweden? If it is, then the Grandfather's complaint is without merit.

Honestly, it's without merit in any case. The property is a listed monument. The point of listed monuments is that they are tied to historic events or heritage and are more often than not expected to contain valuable finds. As far as I know no one in the EU does recompense on listed monuments as a given thing. He should be pleased that they saw fit to give him a very hefty sum indeed and smile. Or, if he is that upset he can post the kronor to my account. Unlike him, I have no problem accepting a gift for no real work.

What a grump.
17:09 November 26, 2009 by Snoopy!
Taken into consideration what this treasure trove was valued @


Ok it´s Gold , but still.....isnt the value that he has been awarded a bit like a fishes ass!
17:26 November 26, 2009 by eZee.se
If you guys hear of a person hits it rich and is the Bahamas celebrating instead of sharing his booty with the greedy government... know they are talking about me.
17:38 November 26, 2009 by Bumblebeetuna
I'm with you grandpa. Screw 'em. I'll sell it private from now on.
18:15 November 26, 2009 by Larry Thrash
It's time to name the true greedy. THE GOVERNMENT.
18:26 November 26, 2009 by Lisaann
@ eZee.se

Hello are you from Bahamas, my neighbor is from Bahamas!
18:27 November 26, 2009 by insect
Fair is fair. I thought finders fee is normally a certain percentage of the estimated value of the find (since it is priceless). This guy should have been paid a few million plain and simple. He found it, and did the right thing by turning it in to the authorities and therefore deserved it. Give him his due
18:52 November 26, 2009 by TvAmazon
What a joke this just smakes of government incompetence . The government claims they own the historic site. How did they pay for it? By taxing the poo out of everyone. The people own it because they are the ones who gave their hard earned money to the government to buy it. Give the man his due and pay him a fair price for his find and efforts. What is fair about the government keeping 90% when they did nothing but tax people to buy the land.

I would never turn anything over to the government again. You have already paid for it once with your taxes now they steal the rest of the proceeds. The govenment doesn't mind spending your money in all kinds of stupid or wasteful ways but they cry like babies when the actually have to pay it back to you
18:57 November 26, 2009 by EtoileBrilliant
No one seems to have taken on board that he was on a Cultural Heritage Site and not on private land as is the case on the UK example where the £3.25 million got split between the finder and the LAND OWNER. I understand that before you go treasure hunting you should inform the land owner and agree the terms before hand something the Swedish geezer didn't do. Moreover, a panel of 8 experts were commissioned to value it rather than one man and his dog. Can't get fairer than that.
20:23 November 26, 2009 by dtes
it is because of greedy governments like this that people just loot and pilage most the time, if people actually got compensated for thier finds then we would have a much much richer understanding of our history, i mean come on, do you people actually think sweden doesnt have the money to pay this kid and his grandpa a legit amount? your logic make me miss america!
01:31 November 27, 2009 by xenyasai
If I got 40.000 SEK for two days "work" I would be very happy. I guess some people will never be happy with what they get or already have.
12:21 November 29, 2009 by char
In Uk a local man with permission from a landowner, searched a field with metal detector and uncovered avaluable colletion of saxon gold objects.The find was phenomenal financially and historically.This was on an official heritage site. This was handed over to the authorities and both landowner and finder were rewarded by being given an equal share of a reward equal to the estimated value of the find. £400000.

The authorities had to reward people as there are so many sites that are being raided by night hawks.

Sweden will lose its treasures if it does not reward people properly fr handing over finds. the criminal element will take over if it proves to be viable.

17:54 November 30, 2009 by insect
If he was at a cultural heritage site, all the more reason for him to get paid a lot of money if the idiots working there could not be bothered to comb the place properly and find anything hidden. Or maybe they had found it and were just waiting for an opportune moment to sneak it out and sell it to the highest bidder. Never know....
20:40 December 1, 2009 by wxman
I've never understood the stupidity of these amateur archaeologists. If you find something valuable, don't tell anyone. Just sell it or keep it.
03:32 December 2, 2009 by Ugly A
Face it: In Sweden, if you are not of noble stock, you are still a serf.
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