Monday, 5 November 2012

Ninety Percent of Stolen ANA coins Swallowed by No-Questions-Asked Numismatic Market.

US coin fondlers are no doubt very happy that an 1813 New South Wales Holey dollar* stolen from the American Numismatic Association in 2007 has been recovered.
The Holey dollar was returned Oct. 23 by Coinworks, Ltd., an Australian numismatic firm. It had acquired the coin from an Australian auction house in July 2007. “Coinworks is an organization that prides itself on its strong ethic and commitment to the industry. That Coinworks initiated the discussions regarding the return of the 1813 Holey dollar to its rightful owner (ANA) is a clear demonstration of the principles by which we operate,” said Belinda Downie of Coinworks. The coin had been sold for $155,755 in July 2007 at an auction in Melbourne.
The coin was one of approximately 300 stolen by Wyatt Yeager from the ANA’s collection in 2007 when he worked there as its collections manager:
 The ANA has also recovered a number of other coins [...]  Overall, roughly 10 percent of the stolen coins have been recovered and these are worth approximately 20 percent of the stolen coins’ overall value. [...] ANA is in the process of upgrading its museum security. 
So, five years on, some 270 ANA coins are still at large in the no-questions-asked market. What chances are there that they will be detected and returned?

I would say that "commitment to the industry" and ethical trading would be (a) avoiding being caught out having bought a stolen object in the first place, and (b) doing something about a market that can simply swallow without trace ninety percent of the objects resulting from a high-profile theft. Wouldn't you?

*  "The Holey dollar was struck on a 1788 Spanish-American 8-reales piece of Charles III struck in Mexico City. It has a large hole punched out of it; around the hole is an added legend “NEW SOUTH WALES 1813” on the obverse and “FIVE SHILLINGS” on the reverse. It is considered Australia’s first domestic coin. Around 350 Holey dollars survive today".

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