Royal Seals from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) . photo courtesy ICE

Courtesy Immigration and Customs Enforcement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned two Royal Seals from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) to the Republic of Korea. Each seal is valued at approximately $750,000.

The Royal Seals belonged to Queen Munjeong, who reigned from 1545 to 1565 and King Hyeonjong, who reigned from 1659 to 1674. The seal belonging to Queen Munjeong is believed to have been stolen during the Korean War (1950-1953) and illegally removed from Korea. King Hyeonjong’s seal is believed to have been stolen during the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945).

HSI began investigating Queen Munjeong’s seal in 2013 at the request of CHA after the seal was located at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), who had purchased the artifact in good faith in 2000. Subsequent investigations also lead to the discovery of King Hyeonjong’s seal in a private collection.