Saturday 11 February 2012

European Tourist Detained in Syria for Alleged Artefact Smuggling

It was reported yesterday that a person was arrested on February 4 and is being detained in Syria on suspicion of smuggling ancient coins. The unnamed woman is married to a Syrian national and lives permanently with her husband in Cyprus.
The couple were on a visit to Syria for medical purposes and leisure [...] and the woman was arrested at the airport in possession of a large number of coins [...] no formal charges have been made yet as the Syrian authorities were still examining her case.
It would be interesting to know what line of business her husband is in. Perhaps somebody about to flee the country sold off his "old collection" to a foreign tourist (funny time to visit Syria on a holiday), or perhaps they were stolen from the rubble of a shelled building. Or maybe they are "just" the products of looting of archaeological sites in more peaceful times. Whatever the origin of these ancient coins, they will not be the only ones "surfacing" just now on the international market which originated in this unhappy country. Do coin collectors care? See below.

Stefanos Evripidou, 'Cypriot woman arrested in Syria', Cyprus Mail February 10, 2012

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