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2019-02-27 Back to list

See it First: The Treasure of Laisvės Alėja

Last summer, a treasure hidden almost 500 years ago was discovered while reconstructing the main pedestrian street in Kaunas.

Last summer, news about a treasure discovered while reconstructing Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue), the main pedestrian boulevard in Kaunas, broke out twice. Twice in the same day, that is! The finders of treasure were employees of Kauno Tiltai, a company responsible for the reconstruction.

The treasure consists of 749 coins, which makes it the biggest discovered in Kaunas in the past 30 years, and dates back to the mid-16th century. It seems that it was hidden near the city wall which was surrounding Kaunas back then.

Coins found date back to the 15th century up to 1566. The greater part of the treasure consists of coins of a small denomination (denarii). Alongside, there are coins of medium value – half-groats, groats, double groats, and three-groat coins.  Around 250 groats in total, which wouldn’t be enough to buy a decent horse back in the days. The estimated current worth of the treasure, according to the buying power, is 40 662 Eur.

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The uniqueness of the treasure is a 1565 Sigismund Augustus double-groat coin. Such coins were found only in two other treasures in Lithuania, but none of them made it to a museum. Luckily, the whole treasure of Laisvės alėja was given to the Numismatics Division of the National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art.

So far, regular kaunasians haven’t been able to see the treasure. That’s because, to present this 16th-century find of outstanding cultural and historical value to the public, it was necessary to carry out the initial restoration of coins, to make digital images, etc.

The exhibition of the treasure opens on March 2. You’re welcome to visit it until June 30. In the near future, when the installation of the permanent exhibition of the National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art will be complete, the visitors will be able to see more treasures owned by the museum.

P.S. We bet you’re dying to know whether the construction company employees were given part of the treasure. According to the Lithuanian law, as the discovery was made during working hours, it was the company that could legally request a sum equivalent to 1/4 of the treasure (10165.50 Eur), and the museum was actually going to pay it, but they were kind enough to waive their prize.

Read more at ciurlionis.lt

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