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Ex British Army Officer Arrested for Sale of Coin Worth $4.1 Million

Richard Beale, a British coin dealer, has been charged in New York for allegedly fraudulently selling two ancient coins. The Eid Mar (Ides of March) gold coin was one of the coins sold by Beale in October 2020.

  • Authorities in New York charged Richard Beale for fraudulently selling two ancient coins.
  • Beale is a British coin dealer who owns the London-based auction house Roma Numismatics.
  • The dealer allegedly falsified ownership records of two ancient coins, including the Eid Mar coin.
  • He sold the coin for a whopping $4.1 million.

Worth £3.2 million, the coin was minted to celebrate Julius Caesar’s assassination.

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The Eid Mar became the most expensive ancient coin ever sold at an auction, fetching $4.1 million for the dealer. However, the owner of the London-based auction house, Roma Numismatics, is accused of falsifying ownership records.

Richard Beale
Richard Beale, the owner of the London-based auction house Roma Numismatics could face up to 25 years in jail.

Beale, the owner of Roma Numismatics, is now facing multiple charges. Reportedly, he falsified ownership history document records (also known as ‘provenance’) of the two ancient coins he sold. With falsified documents, Beale was able to sell the coins for a huge sum.

Alleged Crimes of Beale

Richard Beale, 38, allegedly falsified the Eid Mar gold coin’s ‘provenance’ or ownership history documents. The document made it appear more valuable and allowed him to sell it for a higher price.

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As a result, authorities charged him with Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree. The charges come in addition to eight other counts since January. If convicted, he may face up to 25 years in jail.

Richard Beale, a former captain in the British Army and a Durham University graduate, founded Roma Numismatics in 2008 – despite having little previous involvement in coin dealing.

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Within a year, he was selling coins worth millions of pounds, which took the industry by surprise, according to Christopher Martin, the chairman of the British Numismatic Trade Association.

“He was like a bolt of lightning,” Martin added to his statement to ARTnews.

Co-conspirator: Italo Vecchi

Beale allegedly received the Eid Mar coin in 2014 from Italo Vecchi, his ‘co-conspirator’ in the case. Interestingly, US customs had detained Vecchi in 1992 for smuggling ancient Greek coins into the country.

In 2015, Beale tried to sell the coin at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, claiming it was from an old Swiss collection. In 2020, he listed the coin for sale in a Roma Numismatics auction with a provenance that said it was “from the collection of the Baron Dominique de Chambrier.”

According to Special Agent Brenton Easter, Richard Beale admitted to paying for the Eid Mar coin’s provenance. However, he claimed it was the first and only time he had done so. In addition, Beale and Italo Vecchi allegedly offered 100,000 Swiss francs to an informant to sign the false provenance documents before the auction, which the informant declined.

Sicily Naxos
Richard Beale is also accused of selling the Sicily Naxos silver coin worth $293,000

Beale is also accused of falsifying the provenance of the Sicily Naxos silver coin, which he sold at the same auction for $293,000.

Beale allegedly bought five freshly looted coins from a convicted antiquities trafficker in 2018, which he then sold with the false provenance “from a private Canadian collection” through Roma Numismatics.

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According to the complaint, Roma Numismatics had net assets worth just over £10 million. The CEO is set to appear in New York Criminal Court in May. Neither his lawyer nor Roma Numismatics commented on the matter.

Julius Caesar’s Assassination

Julius Caesar was a celebrated Roman general. He amassed great power and influence during his lifetime. Despite his popularity with the Roman people, many resented his increasing power and perceived tyranny. In 44 BC, a group of senators, including Cassius and Brutus, conspired to assassinate Caesar. It was all done to restore the Republic to its former glory.

Julius Caesar's assassination.
The 2000 year old coin sold for $4.1 Million Dollars.

On March 15th, also known as the Ides of March, Caesar attended a session of the Roman Senate at the Theatre of Pompey. As he entered the chamber, conspirators surrounded him and stabbed him with daggers. Caesar attempted to fight back but eventually succumbed to his wounds and died on the Senate floor.

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The assassination of Julius Caesar was a pivotal moment in Roman history, as it marked the end of the Roman Republic and the start of the Roman Empire.

The conspirators hoped to restore the Republic to its former glory. Still, their actions led to the rise of Caesar’s adopted son, Octavian, who would later become the first Roman Emperor, Augustus.

The coin was made to ‘commemorate’ this huge event in Roman history.