Those of you that have been receiving our newsletters since at least the start of the year might recall the story of the curator of the ANA Money Museum in the United States, and how he had been found guilty of theft of a large range of items from the museum’s collection.
If this is fresh news to you, the background of the story is this - the ANA Museum holds one of the largest collections of numismatic items in Northern America, a curator that had been in charge of the collection during 2007 left just a few short months after beginning his employment.
His departure brought about a thorough review of the museum’s collection, this review yielded the unfortunate news that a significant number of coins had been stolen - their commercial value was even more significant.
Several historically-important Australian coins featured highly a the list of stolen items that was distributed by the ANA early in 2012. It is my understanding that these coins were auctioned in Australia some time ago, and that they are yet to be returned to the ANA Museum.
The curator was sentenced by the US District Court last week, he ended up with 27 months in federal prison, will be siubject to two years supervised release after that, and was also ordered to pay $948,505 to the ANA in restitution.
The prosecutor stated that in stealing the coins from the ANA, Yeager “also deprived the public of a cultural resource; the coins were no longer available for the public to enjoy and for experts to study. For the most part, this remains the case: the coins are scattered all over the world in the hands of private collectors.”
The government added that the recovery effort for the missing coins “is likely to go on for years, and is unlikely to result in one hundred percent success.”
The ANA is appaerntly working with Robert Wittman Inc., a US consulting firm that specializes in recovering stolen art and collectibles to investigate and recover the stolen coins.
Wittman has said that his firm is actively investigating the case but that “because of the sheer immensity of the numbers, we can’t go after every coin."
Mr Wittman has advised that anyone concerned about this issue can view the list of stolen coins on the ANA website, and further that if anyone suspected that they may have in their possession a coin stolen from the ANA museum, they could call him at +1–610–361–8929.