This evening Pablo Hoffman alerted me to this BBC News article with the latest development in the case of the gold Eid Mar coin with a falsified provenance. Thank you!
A British auctioneer who was at the centre of a BBC investigation has pleaded guilty at a New York court to a series of charges in connection with unlawful sales of rare ancient coins.
Richard Beale, director of London-based auction house Roma Numismatics, admitted two counts of conspiracy and three counts of criminal possession of stolen property, court documents show.
He was accused of falsifying the provenance of the most expensive coin ever auctioned - the gold Eid Mar, which fetched $4.19m (£3.29m) in 2020 - and an ancient silver Sicily Naxos Coin, which sold at the same time for $292,000.
He has also admitted to falsifying the provenance of a number of silver Alexander the Great decadrachms from the "Gaza Hoard", which were sold by Roma Numismatics and whose suspicious origin was brought to light by a BBC News Arabic documentary in 2020.
The investigation documented how, three years earlier, fishermen in the Palestinian territory had discovered dozens of the coins, which date back to the 4th Century BC. Soon after the coins were found, they disappeared.
In 2019, the BBC approached Beale at his office in London and challenged him directly about the provenances for the decadrachms listed on Roma Numismatics' auction site.
In a statement provided to the BBC by Beale at the time, he said: "We were satisfied that the consignor(s) were known to us, and had an established record of professionalism and trust. Furthermore, we were provided with information that the items had entered the UK from an origin country that raised no concern."
Appearing before the New York Supreme Criminal Court on 14 August, Beale admitted that he had known the provenances of the decadrachms were false when they were sold and meant to disguise the fact that they came from the Gaza Hoard, court documents show.
According to the court documents, Beale also admitted that in 2015 he entered into an agreement with an Italian coin dealer to sell the Eid Mar coin, which was minted in 42BC to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March.
The two men travelled to Munich and paid €450,000 ($490,000; £385,000) in cash for the coin, despite it having no provenance paperwork or any other form of documentation.
In August 2020, Beale shipped the coin to the US to be authenticated and listed its country of origin as "Turkey", because any ancient items from Italy or Greece were more likely to be seized by US Customs for checks.
See the complete article and previous reports for more information. Beale is scheduled to be back in court in March.
To read the complete article, see:
Auctioneer exposed by BBC admits illegally selling rare ancient coins
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
GOLD IDES OF MARCH COIN REALISES $4M
RICHARD BEALE OF ROMA NUMISMATICS ARRESTED
IAPN STATEMENT ON FALSE PROVENANCES
IDES OF MARCH COIN RETURNED TO GREECE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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