Friday 5 July 2013

Looted ancient coins return to Romania from US

The Romanian authorities have displayed 2,000-year-old silver coins that were looted a decade ago from an archaeological site in Transylvania and smuggled to the United States.
The 49 coins were publicly exhibited at the National History Museum Monday for the first time since they were stolen in 2003 from Sarmizegetusa Regia, a UNESCO-recognized archaeological site recognized, with the aim of selling them on the international black market. Police said the coins were identified at a Chicago auction house in 2011. It took two years for the coins to be returned to Romania, with the help of the FBI, Romanian anti-crime prosecutors and government officials. In recent years, more than a dozen people have been sentenced or are being prosecuted for looting archeological sites and selling items abroad on the black market.
It is not stated what happened to the "Chicago auction house" as a result of the discovery, was it closed down and its directors thrown out of the numismatic trade associations?  One article explains that
The 49 silver coins called Koson (sic) were stolen from the ancient Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa Regia between 2003 and 2006. Back then, a group of people found and stole 2,300 silver Koson coins, and sold them in batches of 600 coins in Germany. An American dealer in Chicago bought one of the batches, and he chose to work with the Romanian authorities in finding the source of the coins, according to the Police. The investigation is still ongoing so some details cannot be revealed. Out of the 2,300 coins, Romania also recovered 202 coins three years ago.

Meanwhile Steven Cochran of the Gainsevills Coins blog puts a positive spin on the whole thing:
These 49 coins, from a Chicago collector, were [...] sold on the black market. The Chicago collector, upon realizing the significance of the coins he had purchased, contacted Romanian authorities and offered to return them, as well as help find the original thieves.
So maybe this perspicacious "collector" deserves an ACCG award then, what's his name?

Romania Insider, 'Romania recovers gold coins stolen from ancient Dacian capital site', July 26, 2012

'Looted ancient coins return to Romania from US',  Monday, July 1, 2013

Rmania Insider, 'Romania recovers 49 ancient Dacian silver coins from the US, exhibits them at National History Museum', July 2 2013.

No comments:

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