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US Customs seizes ‘priceless’ ancient Korean seals

US Customs seizes ‘priceless’ ancient Korean seals

CALIFORNIA: US customs agents have seized a horde of “priceless” ancient Korean artefacts, brought to California by US a serviceman deployed in the Korean War six decades ago.

The nine seals of the Korean Empire and Joseon Dynasty were recovered in San Diego, after a local man approached a Washington-based antiques dealer seeking to have them valued.

The dealer alerted the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit in September, triggering a joint probe by US and South Korean authorities.

The horde includes three national seals of the Korean Empire, one royal seal of the Korean Empire and five signets of the Joseon Royal Court, according to HSI. The Korean Empire succeeded the Joseon Dynasty.

The seals were handed over by the family of a Marine lieutenant who had served in the Korean War and who found them in 1950 in a ditch near Deoksugung Palace, after it was ransacked by Chinese and North Korean soldiers.