Saturday 21 July 2012

Harlan Berk Sues Coin Dealer

Another reported fake at the high end of the ancient coin market is in the news, it's getting hard to keep up with them. Reportedly, coin dealer Harlan Berk had trouble with a client, to whom he'd sold an Athenian dekadrachm (these are pretty rare coins). The unnamed client on receipt apparently said the coin was fake (there has been a lot of debate about a couple of these dekas on the market recently) and wanted his money back. It seems that Berk paid him, then tried to get his own refund from the person who had supplied it to him for  $410,000. The supplier apparently refused to accept the coin was fake, and would not give Berk a refund. So they are in court (Iulia Filip, 'Ancient $410,000 Greek Coin Was Phony, Collector Says', Courthouse News Service, July 19, 2012). The supplier apparently was Steve L Rubinger, formerly of Numismatic Fine Arts and now of Antiqua Inc. (Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, California 91364), specializing in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Near Eastern antiquities and classical numismatics since 1972.  Berk seeks more than $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages for fraud.  Rubinger told Courthouse News he would not comment on pending litigation.  It is not clear where Rubinger got the coin from, nor which of the several Athenian dekas that have been sold by Berk and his associates over the past few years is concerned.Caveat emptor if you buy coins with poorly-documented provenance.


J Ramirez said...

Courthouse News Service has not updated its July 19, 2012 news story, “Ancient $410,000.00 Greek Coin Was Phony, Collector Says.” We have the Court Order dismissing the case and a copy of the Settlement Agreement. You will note in paragraphs 7 & 8 the plaintiff’s acknowledgment that, in fact, neither Steve Rubinger nor Antiqua, Inc. committed any fraud, as had originally and wrongly been alleged. Please let me know how to send you an attachment.

Paul Barford said...

Thanks for the news. My post does not say anything is fraudulent, does it? I was reporting a case that was in the news last year.

How about uploading the text somewhere and providing a link? I am sure others will want to see it.

So the court is saying Berk cannot tell a fake coin? That will please collectors no end.

So where did the coin come from? Does the court establish that?

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