Five ancient silver coins returned to Greek state by New York County DA

Five ancient Greek coins confiscated by the New York County District Attorney were handed over by him to the Greek state during a formal ceremony at the DA’s office in New York City on Monday.

The five silver coins were found in the possession of a Rhode Island collector, medical doctor Arnold-Peter Weiss, 54, who was arrested for possession of stolen coins during a coin auction in Manhattan in January 2012. Weiss turned over to authorities a total of 20 coins as part of a plea bargain.

The five silver coins are dated to between the 6th and 4th centuries BC and include four staters and a didrachm, as follows: three staters from Thrace (northeastern Greece), respectively dated to circa 515-480 BC (Hercules head on obverse, engraved square on the reverse), c. 405-395 BC (Dionysus head, Boeotian shield) and c. 395-338 BC (shield, krater vessel); a stater from Opuntian Locris (central Greece), dated to c. 369-338 BC, with a head of Demeter on one side and Opuntian Ajax on the other; and a silver didrachm from the island of Evia or Euboea (off the east coast of Attica), dated to c. 375-357 BC, with a head of a Euboean cow and the nymph Euboea on the other.

County DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. presented the coins to Greece’s representative, Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos, explaining the process of how the coins were found. Panagopoulos said the coins, which he said were “of notable beauty and incalculable archaeological value,” would go on exhibit at the Numismatic Museum of Athens.

[File photo of a tetradrachm from Eretria, Evia, 510-490 BC, depicting a bull or cow and an octopus. ANA-MPA, May 14, 2014