When police raided one of the most prominent January coin sales in New York no-one was quite sure why.
Now, though, Nomos/CNG partner
Arnold-Peter Weiss, who was arrested at the time, has pleaded
guilty to criminal charges connected with coins seized during that
The twist in the tail is that Weiss
was prosecuted for what he thought he had done rather than what he
had actually done.
Weiss thought that the coins in
question were highly valuable: two decadrachms dating to fifth
century B.C. Sicily, one with an estimate of $3m, the other with
one of $300,000, and a fourth century Greek tetradrachm, valued at
The court heard how he was secretly
taped acknowledging that he knew the coins to be genuine examples
exported illegally from Italy in recent years - Italian law forbids
the export of coins found after 1909.
In fact, the coins turned out to be
fakes, but Weiss found himself facing charges because he thought
the coins were illegally acquired.
Weiss struck a plea bargain, under
which he has to forfeit his interest in 23 coins seized from him,
perform 70 hours of community service and write an article about
problems caused by trading in unprovenanced coins. He must also
attempt to have the article published in a suitable magazine, such
as that of the American Numismatic Society. What is not clear yet
is what impact Weiss's admission to the court will have on his
professional and academic standing in the coin world.
As well as being a collector and
investor for 35 years, he was treasurer of the American Numismatic
Society from 2005 to 2009 and has held other offices of