Tuesday, August 5, 2014 Collector-Dealer Relieved of his Coins:
The US Government has repatriated several valuable coins produced in Greece millenia ago to that country as part of a plea deal agreed to by prominent collector Peter Weiss. There is no suggestion that the coins that have been repatriated were "stolen" from Greece. Rather, it appears that the only basis for their repatriation was that they were produced in ancient cities now located in that modern nation state and that they were on Dr. Weiss' person at the time of his arrest on an unrelated charge.The Herakles coin of Dikaia has not been in Greece for at least 150 years as Duncan Finch has pointed out. This piece previously appeared as lot 828 of the first part of the sale of the collection of Clarence Bement of Philadelphia, sold on 28 January 1924 by Naville and Co. in Lucerne, Switzerland. Previous to that, it came from the collection of Sir Hermann Weber, where it appeared as catalogue number 2354. Weber seemingly got it in the late 19th century.
Peter Tompa asks whether this seizure of private property of not inconsiderable value and its subsequent forced repatriation is an example of "good police work" or rather of "how culture cops can and do use the threat of criminal conviction to force the repatriation of objects with little regard to concepts of private property that are supposed to be enshrined in our Constitution". And he is right.
Mr Tompa also asks what will happen to the coins themselves. I think we all may doubt that the bankrupt, modern nation state of Greece can be a better steward for their care than American collectors.