Five rare silver coins dating to the 5th and 4th centuries BC were returned to Greece before they could be auctioned off in Munich and Zurich, according to an announcement made by the Culture Ministry on Monday.
Three of the coins were repatriated on September 30 from Munich, including a “stater” from Lindos, on Rhodes, from the first half of the 5th century BC; an “octadrachm” of Getas, the king of Edonians in Thrace, dated to approximately 480-460 BC; and another stater from Elis, dated to approximately 328 BC.
The precious hoard, which was handed over to the Greek general consulate in Munich by the Bavarian police, is now in the care of the Numismatics Museum of Athens, which helped identify them.
Another two silver coins were returned from Zurich to Athens on September 27. They were an Athenian tetradrachm (of the so-called “new style”), dated to 136 BC, and a tetradrachm of Ptolemy IV Philopator, which had been minted in Sidon around the end of the 3rd century BC.
Both coins are now at the Archaeological Museum of Patras, the Ministry added.
According to the Culture Ministry, the coins were confiscated when a criminal ring was dismantled by Patras police in October of 2016. The criminals were based in Greece but had an extensive network abroad, to which they transported looted antiquities.
“A total of 126 ancient objects and 2,024 coins were confiscated in Greece, while in March 2017 Germany returned 33 Mycenaean vessels, 600 ancient coins and other antiquities of various periods, which were illegally exported by the looters,” the statement concluded.