There is some insubstantial chat on some coin discussion lists about a seizure at the New York International Coin Show. On the morning of Jan 3rd (the forums say 4th), just hours before the "Triton XV, lots 1001-2000" auction was due to begin, the New York district attorney entered the CNG showroom and seized two coins of the so-called "Selections from Cabinet W”, a group of 18 Greek coins belonging to Dr Peter Weiss, a US collector. Both coins are masterpieces from Sicily: Lot 1008, a Dekadrachm (Akragas) with a starting price of $2.5 million...
and Lot 1009, a Tetradrachm (Katane) with a start price of $ 300,000. Lot 1008, a Dekadrachm (Akragas) with a start price of $2.5 million and Lot 1009, a Tetradrachm (Katane) with a start price of $ 300,000. The seller's catalogue is available online here. The collecting histories are a bit "iffy"
lot 1008: "from a collection in the United States, earlier on in a Swiss collection and, earlier, in an English collection in London in the 1960s"The dekadrachm is the coin discussed in the Daily Mail article about the sale of Greek coins ("A few more of these might sort out their crisis: Ancient Greek coin valued at a cool £2 million set for auction"). The trouble is of course that the object was not being sold by "Greece", but by a rich American collector who had somehow got it after it "somehow" left the country where it "surfaced" (from underground). Perhaps, since it is a fairly memorable piece - there being only 12 of them known to be extant, we are now going to learn about how it was removed from the country where it was found, when and by whom.
lot 1009: "purchased privately from an American collection 2010"
The online catalogue with the details of the "provenances" of these coins seems now not to be available, pity, lots of pretty pictures and fine words.
(I am grateful to Rick Witschonke of the ANS and Professor Nathan Elkins of Baylor University for pointing out two errors in the original draft of this text about the date of the seizure and the possible identity of the source country of the deka which have now been edited, thanks)
Vignette: The Art of Roadkill, classical style. The other side of the coin also depicts bestial carnage too upsetting to show here.