I could not believe law enforcement officials removed the "Decadrachm of Akragas" from the January auction sale
held by the Classical Numismatic Group. This coin has been in various collections in the United States,
Switzerland and the UK. since the 1960's. On what basis after nearly 50 years would warrant the seizure of
this famous Greek coin?
The articles do not mention how Dr. Arnold Peter Weiss acquired this specimen.
It most definitely was by private treaty, as were a number of the 19 coins from his collection, offered as
"Masterpieces of Ancient Greek Coinage" and presented in a superb catalogue.
The two auction firms
involved in the sale state the coins are in the U.S. legally, and left Europe legally. Dr. Weiss is a world famous hand surgeon, and a dedicated collector.
The other coin in question that was seized "Tetrardrachm of
Katane" was found last year in Italy. Recently there have been many complaints from Italy, Greece, and Turkey that various artifacts, including coins have left their country illegally. They are trying to have our
government pass some laws pertaining to the removing of all these artifacts.
Dr. Weiss is a Trustee of the
American Numismatic Society, and I'm sure his acquiring of his coins were all legal purchases. I'd like to
know if any of our subscribers know about the various collections, since the 60's that contained this famous
The affair got under way - according to the deponent - due to information of the Italian Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale. John Freck said that a "confidential informant" had recorded a conversation, in which Peter Weiss said about the tetradrachm of Catane: "there's no paperwork, I know this is a fresh coin, this was dug up a few years ago ... This was dug up two years ago. I know where this came from." The deponent claimed that Peter Weiss himself had informed him that he purchased the coin in 2010 for $ 250,000 in order to sell it for approximately $ 350,000.