Germany Celtic gold coins
A senior official in southern Germany said Wednesday that organised crime groups were likely behind the theft of a huge horde of ancient gold coins stolen from a museum this week. Image Credit: AP

German police are appealing for witnesses after thieves broke into a Bavarian museum on Tuesday night and made off with a horde of nearly 500 ancient gold coins worth several million euros.

The coins, dating from around 100 BC, were discovered in 1999 during excavation work in the municipality of Manching north of Munich and are touted by the local museum as the largest Celtic gold find of the 20th century.

It's the latest instance of museum theft in Germany following the looting in 2019 of a diamond-encrusted dagger, a pearl necklace and dozens of other artifacts estimated to be worth more than $1 billion from Dresden's Green Vault.

In 2020, a Berlin court convicted three men for stealing a 100-kilogram (220-pound), gold coin worth $4 million from a museum in the center of the German capital.