Dutchman discovers treasure in barn

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A Dutchman living in the German border town of Tödderen has discovered a historic treasure in his barn under a pile of rotten planks. The treasure belonging to the German rifle club, which consists of ten silver shields dating from the seventienth and eightteenth centuries, had been missing since 1944.

Matthieu Smeets bought an old farmworker's house a year ago. After doing up the house, he began work on the barn.

Mr Smeets told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, "It was full of old stuff... right at the back was a pile of rotting planks. When I took them out, I discovered the ten silver shields."

Many German towns and villages had thier own rifle clubs and during the centuries the histories of these clubs have been depicted in flags and shields. The ten-by-six-centimetre shields have dates and pictures on them making it easy to trace where they come from.

However, it was only when Mr Smeets saw similar shields on a television programme that he decided to find out their value and he placed an advert on the internet.

The local rifle club had thought that the shields had been stolen by US troops during World War II. However it turns out that when the German army withdrew, they took the shields with them.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

1 Comment To This Article

  • L. Simon posted:

    on 3rd January 2011, 05:42:08 - Reply

    I'd love to see a better photo - a good friend of mine recently purchased a german rifle, and I'm beginning to develop quite an interest in the history of the shooting sports in Germany.