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The week in art news – arrests made in connection with Celtic coin heist

21 July 2023

Four men have been arrested in connection with the theft of 483 Celtic gold coins from the Kelten Römer Museum in Manching, Bavaria, last year. One was found with lumps of gold that matched the composition of the coins, suggesting that at least part of the trove has been melted down. Unearthed in 1999, the treasure was the most significant discovery of Celtic gold in the 20th century; it is believed that the coins were minted in Bohemia before arriving in Manching through trade.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has returned two looted statues to Libya. They were smuggled out of the country by convicted art trafficker Robin Symes, who then kept them in a New York storage unit for more than two decades. The Manhattan DA’s office has now returned five antiquities to Libya since 2022, with a total value of more than $3m. In other repatriation news, Italy has called on the Louvre to return seven antiquities, and an ancient Maya relief has been restituted by the Mexican consulate in Frankfurt.

The Nederlands Fotomuseum has received a donation of €38m in order to acquire the vast Santos warehouse on the Rotterdam waterfront – built in 1903 and designated as a national monument – to serve as a new eight-storey home for the Dutch national photography collections which is slated to open in 2025. The donation was given by the philanthropic organisation Droom en Daad.

Bridget Finn, managing director of the Detroit-based gallery Reyes | Finn, has been named as the new director of Art Basel Miami Beach, taking up the role in September. Finn’s appointment is the latest in a series of leadership changes at the head of Art Basel in recent months. And the Museum of the City of New York has named Stephanie Hill Wilchfort – currently the long-serving head of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum – to be its next president from September.