ATHENS -- Five rare silver coins dating to the 5th and 4th centuries BC were returned to Greece before being auctioned off in Munich and Zurich, the Culture Ministry said on Monday.
Three of them were repatriated on September 30 from Munich: a stater from Lindos (Rhodes) of the first half of the 5th century BC; an octadrachm of Getas, the king of Edonians in Thrace, dated to around 480-460 BC; and a stater from Elis dated to around 328 BC.
The coins were handed over to the Greek general consulate in Munich by the Bavarian police, and are 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 cut in Sidon around the end of the 3rd century BC. Both coins are at the Archaeological Museum of Patras, the ministry said.
According to the Culture Ministry, the coins were confiscated when a criminal ring was dismantled by Patras police in October 2016. The criminals were based in Greece but had an extensive network abroad, where they transferred 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," it added.