Friday 12 November 2010

CNG: "Bulgarian Police Bust Illegal Medieval Coins Auction"

CNG Classical Numismatics Group, we seem to have heard that name before. It's also mentioned in a Novinite article: "Bulgarian Police Bust Illegal Medieval Coins Auction" November 11, 2010, according to which:
Bulgaria's criminal police have stopped the illegal sale of Bulgarian medieval coins on the internet site of an auction business registered in London. The deadline for the bids for the numismatic collection on the site of "C[N]G - Classical Numismatic Group, Inc" has been listed as November 10. According to the police, one of the coins is very rare – a silver penny of Despot Dobrotitsa, from a mint in Kaliakra, listed in the "Bulgarian Antique Coins from the 9th to the 15th Century Period" catalog, published in 1999 in Sofia. Eight years later, in 2007, a collection of 500 medieval crosses and 2 000 medieval coins, including the said silver penny, were stolen from the home of one of the authors of the catalog. After the joint operation between the Main Directorate "Criminal Police," the Bulgarian Culture Ministry, and the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassations, the Bulgarian medieval coins have been taken off the auction site and their sale halted.
It is a shame that the US authorities seem to have taken absolutely no interest in the vast numbers (weights even) of ancient coins dug up by metal detecting around Roman sites in Bulgaria and exported to the US markets where they transformed its nature. The one-tonne shipment of coins which passed through Frankfurt airport and I've mentioned here before was probably just one of these exports... they went into the US and then, just vanished. Are they stored away in a big warehouse somewhere, or were they somehow dispersed on the trade? Who sold these coins to whom, and where are they now? I expect if Bulgaria asked (a bit late in the day now the stuff's mostly gone) for a bilateral cultural property agreement MOU about coin smuggling, would lobbyists working on behalf of the coin dealers find twelve US Congressmen to oppose it?

UPDATE: Somebody over in Germany did not appreciate attention being drawn here to the story from the Bulgarian press: see CNG: Münzen aus Bulgarien, was ist die Wahrheit? for further developments. We look forward to hearing the results of the investigation of the origin of these coins. See also my other story (Stolen coins listed online?) on the withdrawal of these coins from auction here which for some reason the author of the article in the German newsletter was not so keen to try and pour ridicule upon.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.