Sevso Treasure, “Hungary's family silverware,” returned

Analysis

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on Wednesday that Hungary has reacquired seven pieces of the Sevso Treasure, a priceless collection of Roman-era silverware to which the country has laid claim, for €15 million.

“Hungary's family silver is coming home,” Orban said. The pieces will be on display, free of charge, in the parliament building beginning on Saturday.

The Sevso Treasure, owned by the Marquess of Northampton, was allegedly found on the outskirts of Polgárdi, near Lake Balaton, sometime in the 1970s by József Sumegh. Sumegh’s sales eventually made it to London art markets in 1980. Then-Lord Northampton bought all 14 pieces in the collection; shortly after this purchase, Sumegh was found dead in his Hungarian home under mysterious circumstances, i.e. hung by the neck in not-necessarily suicidal fashion.

In 1990, Lord Northampton attempted to resell the silverware, only to have lawsuits filed against him by three national governments, including Hungary’s. In early 2013, the pieces were thought to be worth as much as £100 million (over €120 million) on the open market – if such an item could, after dispute of ownership with a national government, be sold on the open market.

The pieces are thought to have been made by the same craftsmen who fashioned a silver tripod found near Polgárdi a century earlier and now in the collection of the Hungarian National Museum.

-- material from national news service MTI was used in this article

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