Saturday 23 September 2023

Crimean coin Seized in Athens Suburb


The premises of an antiquities smuggling ring were raided on September 16th by the Cultural Heritage and Antiquities Department of the Attica Security Directorate in  a coastal suburb of Greater Athens. The criminal syndicate was led by a man of Albanian origin known by the alias "Tzoni", and was reportedly operating from the Sports Hall of the Coastal Zone Olympic Sports Complex in Paleo Faliro. The antiquities were said to be from the regions of Attica and Epirus. In the raid, 31 ancient artifacts were seized, many of which hold great historical and archaeological importance and are protected by cultural heritage regulations. Archaeological experts evaluated the items, determining that 27 of them fell under the protective provisions of the Law on Protection of Antiquities, while four required further examination [I presume this means that they are suspected as possible fakes]. 

 Among the remarkable finds was a gold coin - a stater from Pantikapaion, a Greek colony in the Tauric Chersonese of the Black Sea, which is modern-day Crimea. This dates back to the 4th century BC. This coin, measuring approximately 17 millimeters in diameter and weighing about 9.2 grams, stood out as exceptionally rare. An archaeologist from the Numismatic Museum of Athens noted its uniqueness, as it featured a frontal depiction of Pan. Upon examination in the Numismatic Museum of Athens, it was affirmed that the coin falls under the protective provisions of Law No. 4858/2021 and holds substantial economic and cultural value due to its extraordinary rarity. it is valued at 6 million euros {there is no better information yet, but I assume that it is one of these staters that is referred to like the one sold in the Prosper collection a while back (here too)].

On what grounds however is this coin retained in Greece? What was the proof that it had been dug up in Attica/Epirus? While it is true that the normal staters did circulate a bit wider than the hinterland of the colony, one wonders what the grounds are for keeping this coin in Greece (apart from the national collections not having one).

But... would it not be ironic if this coin was one of the items that has not yet been declared a real, pukka antiquity? I.e., that it is a fake prompted by the publicity surrounding the "Prosper" sale? IS it real, or a fake? And if real, where was it from? 

Hat tip ARCA

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