Wednesday, 4 January 2012


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"
lot 1009: "purchased privately from an American collection 2010"
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.

UPDATE 12.01.12
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.


Anonymous said...

Seems like you have something against "rich" people. You must be a liberal and jealous... Also, your '(from underground)' comment smacks of accusations of improper acquisition. Instead of looking like a complete fool, you may want to consider giving the situation the 'benefit of the doubt' until the facts are known.

Paul Barford said...

This, rather than his teacher wife or mother will presumably be "Chip" Gruszczynski, whose facebook page shows to be prone to "befriending" lots of dug-up ("surfaced") coin dealers.

he seems to live in a world where "jealousy" is a major motivation for the things people do:

Well, be sure that when the facts of the case emerge, I'll cover the story, usually what happens though is that these stories just fade away, with no follow up being made public.

Yes, when artefacts simply "surface" with no previous history, I think we may be justified in assuming that something improper may indeed be going on. Certainly if I were to buy anything like that, I'd like to know more about where it actually came from.

Anonymous said...

I thank you for not censoring my post and posting shows you have at least SOME integrity.

Paul Barford said...

eh? Who says I do not?

Luigi Rizzica said...

Dear Paul,
As i'm sure you know Dr. Arnold-Peter Weiss coins were found to be a forgery.
He was sentenced to 70 hours of community service. He will pay a $1,000 fine for each of the three coins in the case.
I'm sure he must be devastated by the severity of the pain.

As for Mrs. Gruszczinski may I point out that while you are considering the "benefit of the doubt" for Weiss you are accusing Mr Bradford of being a Liberal and a Jalous, looking like a complete fool and having just "SOME integrity".
Should you look at this from an external point of view what must you think of yourself?

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