A rare $1 million silver coin looted from an archaeological site in Israel has been returned to the country, Manhattan prosecutors said this week.
The quarter shekel was minted in AD 69 by Jewish rebels fighting the Roman Empire during the “Great Jewish Revolt” and excavated in the Ella Valley years later.
The Israel Antiquities Authority learned in 2002 from several informants that the ancient coin — known as the “year four-quarters shekel” — had been looted.
The coin is one of only two dating back to the revolt that began in AD 66 known to exist. It was moved through the illegal antiques markets until it was smuggled from Israel via Jordan to the UK, where it was offered at a London auction in 2017.
Homeland Security officials confiscated the coin later that year after collectors attempted to sell it at an auction in Denver, where it was listed at an estimated value of between $500,000 and $1 million.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit took over the investigation and eventually shipped the shekel home to Israel.
“We are honored to return the quarter shekel, an extremely rare coin that has immense cultural value,” DA Alvin Bragg said in a statement Monday.
“Despite the complexity of this investigation, our team of prosecutors, analysts and agents working with Israeli authorities was able to locate this antiquity in just a few months.”
The shekel was returned Monday at a repatriation ceremony attended by Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan.
“This unique artifact is a stark reminder of the Jewish people’s millennia-old connection with the land of Israel,” Erdan said in a statement, thanking authorities “for returning this priceless coin to its rightful home.”
https://nypost.com/2022/09/13/looted-1-million-quarter-shekel-coin-returned-to-israel-by-nyc-prosecutors/ Looted $1 million quarter shekel coin returned to Israel by New York prosecutors