Swedish Viking treasure rescued for public by charity funds

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Swedish Viking treasure rescued for public by charity funds
An archive photo of the Everlöv Hoard when it was put on display in Lund in 1986. Photo: Historical Museum at Lund University

A Viking treasure hoard, which historians in Sweden feared would be lost in a sale to private buyers, has been saved by two charitable foundations. It will now go on display in public museums.


The collection, which was to be sold in a controversial auction on Friday April 29th, has instead been bought in its entirety by the Gunnar Ekström Foundation for Numismatic Research and the Sven Svensson Foundation for Numismatic Research. 

It will now go on display as part of the Royal Coin Cabinet at Stockholm's Economy Museum. 

The collection forms part of the so-called Everlöv Hoard. The youngest coin has been dated to 1018, placing it in the Viking era, while the oldest coin dates back to the 800s.

"It's great news that the Everlöv find can be kept together as part of our shared cultural heritage, and will be available for research," museum head Cecilia von Heijne told union magazine Magasin K.

Birgitta Hårdh, a professor emeritus of archaeology at Lund University, who originally described the sale as "a great tragedy", also welcomed the news.


"It's really good news, I'm so happy about this!" she told the magazine.

Hårdh has been campaigning for the hoard to become state property since the 1980s.

"Now the treasure has been saved and there will a chance to study it. I hope it will be put on display soon so people can get to see it," she said.

Gitte Ingvardsson, a numismatician – someone who collects or studies coins – at Lund's Historical Museum, said the acquisition was "the best news in a long time!"

"I'm extremely happy to hear that the hoard will be preserved in its entirety, and I'm grateful to my colleagues in Stockholm who have made a great effort to ensure that this story has a happy ending".


The hoard, comprising of 912 coins and 40 silver items, was found in the 1980s inside a chiffonier, a type of wooden furniture similar to a sideboard.

A relative of the current owner of the hoard had placed the items in the chiffonier which had then been passed down through the generations to different members of the family.

The original plan was that the hoard would be put on sale in widely-criticised auction on April 29th.



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