Villagers in Xingan county, Jiangxi province, south-east China dug up over 500 kg of 18th century Qing dynasty (1644–1912) coins at the Gan river. Police was needed to secure the area of the riverbank where the illegal dig was conducted.
Inscriptions on the coins suggest they date back to the 1700s, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796) of the Qing dynasty. Experts believe they might have been a part of a cargo carried by a Qing courtier, which might have sunk together with a ship as he was travelling over the river through Jiangxi. An official from Zhejiang province came to the village to buy the coins for 200 (~27 Euro) yuan, and then 700 yuan (~96 Euro), but the villagers did not want to sell them. As private excavation of antiques is illegal in China and Chinese law stipulates that all discoveries belong to the government the coins might be confiscated if the villagers won’t be able to prove their true ownership.
(after The Telegraph)