A gold coin commemorating the assassination of Julius Caesar, minted just two years after the death of the Roman leader, fetched a record-breaking high bid of $3.5 million at an auction in Britain. File Photo courtesy of the Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
March 23 (UPI) -- A coin minted by the Roman politician Brutus after the assassination of Julius Caesar has been returned to Greece after an investigation by Homeland Security agents and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
The Eid Mar coins are so named to commemorate Julius Caesar's assassination in Rome, Italy, on March 15 in the year 44 B.C., a date now known as the Ides of March. It was not immediately clear why the coin was repatriated to Greece and not to Italy.
Brutus had the coins minted in two editions, a silver edition to be used as currency and a gold edition as a token for Roman officials. There are only three gold Eid Mar coins known to still exist.
One of those three coins was sold for $3.5 million an auction by Roma Numismatics to an anonymous collector, UPI previously reported.
The other two coins are in the collection of the Deutsche Bundesbank and on loan to the British Museum, Numismatic News reported in 2020 after the sale.
However, Richard Beale -- the owner of Roma Numismatics -- was arrested in New York in January on charges stemming from that sale, according to arrest warrants obtained by ARTNews at the time.
Beale reportedly acquired the coin in 2014 from Italian coin dealer Italo Vecchi, a consultant for Beale who previously had his own similar troubles after he was caught with a trove of Greek coins trying to enter the United States in 1992.
Vecchi has not been charged in relation to the Beale case.
The duo spent several years trying to create fake documents of the coin's provenance, a word used in the art world to describe a trace of how an artwork or artifact became acquired by an individual or institution as it changed hands over the years.
Beale made several attempts to try to sell the coin and eventually had it authenticated by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, a coin grading service based in Florida.
"In 2020, NGC received an 'EID MAR' aureus for evaluation from a London-based auction firm and after extensive study determined it was authentic," an NGC spokesperson said in a statement to ARTnews.
"A coin's authenticity and grade are matters separate and distinct from provenance. It is not common practice for NGC to opine on the provenance of a coin, and it did not do so here."
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the repatriation of the coin along with 28 other artifacts believed to have been looted from Greece.
"On behalf of the Hellenic Government, from the bottom of my heart, I would like to congratulate and thank the Manhattan District Attorney's Office," Greece's Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, said in a statement.
"The close relationship and cooperation that has been built over the last years between Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, guarantees that many more successes will follow."