Thursday 23 March 2023

Eid Mar Aureus Repatriated

It is being reported (Tom Mashberg, 'Rare Coin, Minted by Brutus to Mark Caesar’s Death, Is Returned to Greece Tom Mashberg New York Times March 22, 2023 that Manhattan District Attorney’s office has returned 29 looted antiquities to Greece, including the Eid Mar aureus seized from indicted coin dealer Richard Beale. This is "thought to have been looted from a field near where an army loyal to Brutus camped during the struggle for control of Rome". Tom Mashburg also reports a new detail, that the Eid Mar coin was
"was given up earlier this year by an unidentified American billionaire who, investigators said, had bought it in good faith in 2020. The British dealer who helped to arrange the sale was arrested in January, and the coin itself was recovered in February, officials said [...] Experts said they believe the coin was likely discovered more than a decade ago in an area of current-day Greece where Brutus and his civil war ally, Gaius Cassius Longinus, were encamped with their army."

The grounds for that belief are not stated. After the defeat of the rebel army by the Triumvirs at the Battle of Philippi in October 42 BC, the soldiers (and more likely officers) who had been paid in these coins would have scattered, probably being pursued, and the coins may have been taken to any place where they sought refuge, so there is no a priori reason why this coin should have been found anywhere near Phillipi or Greece. Once again, we see the effects of the US fixation with "repatriation", at the expense of following back the chain of events that led to it being on the market where seized.



David said...

So if it turns out this coin was actually minted by Brutus in Italy would These same authorities in Greece be willing to surrender it to Italy to avoid arrest under Italy’s cultural appropriation law?

Paul Barford said...

I don't know, you'd have to discuss this with them. What matters is from which territory it was TAKEN to arrive on the NY market. If the dealers "conveniently lost" the paperwork tracing it back to dodgy source, then we are reduced to guesswork and canny surmise in the light of the information we do have. Are there grounds to believe that the issue was minted in Rome, even though the armies and the areas they controlled were distant? You see, this is PRECISELY why the no-questions asked buying and selling of coins by dealers and collectors is damaging even quite basic evidence about the past, and is why this blog stands by the position that it has to stop, and collectors start taking responsibility for the damage their hobby does.

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