Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Swiss Return Ancient Octadrachm Coin to Greece

The coin according to GcRap; The high-denomination octadrachm -- or eight-drachma -- coin was struck by a little-known Thracian ruler named Mosses around 480 B.C., the time of the second failed Persian invasion of Greece.Thessaloniki University professor of archaeology Michalis Tiverios said examples of Mosses' currency are very rare."There are very few coins struck in his name," Tiverios said. "Octadrachms were heavy coins used for transactions abroad, usually for mercenaries' wages, which is why they are very rarely found in Greece."

It is being reported on Twitter by "GcRap ‏@The_Georgios" that "Switzerland returns to Greece this silver oktadrachmo of the 5th century BC" and a photo of the coin in question. This seems to be the same item as one extensively reported three years ago: "Swiss to return ancient octadrachm coin to Greece" (Associated Press Friday, January 13, 2012). Does this mean the Swiss authorities have only now got around to it? Here's part of the original report:
A Swiss court has ordered the confiscation of a very rare ancient silver coin that was allegedly illegally excavated in northern Greece and sold at auction in Switzerland, Greek and Swiss officials say.The lawyer representing Greece in the case said Thursday that the ruling in October opens the way for the early 5th century B.C. coin's return to Greece. The debt-crippled country's rich cultural heritage has long suffered depredations from antiquities smugglers supplying a lucrative international market. [...] Greek authorities have pressed charges of antiquities theft in the case, but no suspects have yet been named.
And it would seem no suspect now will ever be named, let alone a conviction achieved in this case.  Which Swiss auction house accepted this items for sale and with what paperwork? Who put it up for sale and how did they demonstrate title to such a remarkable object? Three years on, the answers to these questions are apparently not in the public domain. A precious ancient object surfaces, is seized, the authorities tell us (stakeholders) that they are investigating. Now can they be accountable and show us what they have done and why the case was not taken any further than merely sending the coin home?

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