The other shoe has dropped in the case of two rare ancient coins sold at auction in 2020. It has been reported that the owner of Roma Numismatics Limited, Richard Beale, was arrested in January over falsified records of ownership for the two coins.
Richard Beale, the director of a London-based auction house, was arrested in New York City in January on charges relating to his sale of multi-million dollar ancient coins. His arrest has not been previously reported.
Beale is the owner and managing director of Roma Numismatics Limited, which claims to be
one of the world's foremost auction houses for rare and collectible coins, according to its website.
Alongside Italo Vecchi, an Italian coin dealer who works at Roma Numismatics as a consultant specialist, Beale allegedly falsified the record of ownership for two coins which sold at auction in 2020, according to a complaint filed in New York criminal court. Vecchi and Beale could not be reached for comment.
Between 2013 and 2014, Vecchi allegedly sold two rare coins to Beale without provenance. One of these is known as an
Eid Mar coin, referring to an ancient Roman gold coin minted in 42 B.C. to celebrate the assassination of Julius Caesar on March 15 of 44 B.C., commonly referred to as the Ides of March. The other item, referred to as the
Sicily Naxos coin, was created in 430 B.C. in the Greek colony of Naxos on Sicily, and is one of the
rarest and most prized ancient coins in the world, according to the complaint.
Beale allegedly paid for false ownership history documents for both coins, which stated the pieces came
from the collection of the Baron Dominique de Chambrier. Both coins were listed with this provenance in auctions which took place in October and November 2020 in London. The Eid Mar coin sold for £3.2 million ($4.1 million), the highest price ever paid for an ancient coin at auction, while the Sicily Naxos coin sold for £240,000 ($291,000).
On two separate occasions in 2020, the Eid Mar coin, which is thought to have originated from Greece, was shipped to the U.S. and listed as originating from either Turkey or Italy on U.S. customs paperwork. Meanwhile, the Sicily Naxos coin comes from Italy, according to the criminal complaint. Beale and Vecchi
deceived potential buyers by creating false provenance for the Eid Mar Coin and the Sicily Naxos Coin so that both coins would be viewed as legitimate and ascribed a certain value, reads the complaint.
The auction house director is additionally accused of purchasing five other coins from a convicted antiquity trafficker which were looted from the Gaza Strip in 2017, which he allegedly sold through Roma Numismatics with falsified provenance. Beale, who arrested on Jan. 10, is charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, conspiracy and scheme to defraud. His next scheduled court appearance is in May.
In February, the Sicily Naxos coin was returned to Italy by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office alongside a number of other antiquities collectively valued at nearly $2.5 million.
To read the complete article, see:
Exclusive: UK Auction House Director Arrested for $4.1 Million Roman Coin Fraud
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
LOOSE CHANGE: FEBRUARY 19, 2023 : Sicily Naxos Coin Repatriated to Italy
Art News has an article on the story, too.
The scheme appeared to be years in the making. Previously a member of the British Army, the 40-something-year-old Beale made a sudden entrance into the small world of coins dealers in London in 2009.
He was like a bolt of lightning, Christopher Martin, the Chairman of the British Numismatic Trade Association, told ARTnews.
He appeared and made his mark in the market that he wasn't brought up in. Within a year, he was selling coins worth millions of pounds. That doesn't happen, but that's what happened with him. Where did he come from? Nobody really knew.
At that time, Beale seemingly overnight built up a modern coin auction house with glossy catalogues and modern photography. Unlike his colleagues, he hadn't come up in the business by way of family, nor had he gotten into the business as a young man, slowly but surely building a reputation as an expert, explained Martin. Other dealers watched in awe as he began trading coins in the millions, seemingly with no experience in the area. Somehow, he had access to highly valuable coins.
To read the complete article, see:
One of the World's Most Expensive Coins Was Sold Using Fake Provenance and the Seller Has Been Arrested
Wayne Homren, Editor
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