Beware the Ides of March: owner of Roma Numismatics auction house arrested for selling EID MAR aureus for $4.1 million using fake provenance

03/15/2023, 07:07 AM

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Richard Beale, the owner and managing director of Roma Numismatics, a London-based auction house dealing in ancient coins, was arrested. The director was allegedly falsifying the ownership history of old coins, including one multimillion-dollar coin, “Eid Mar” (Ides of March), commemorating the assassination of Julius Caesar. In 2020, Beale and Roma Numismatics set a World Record for an ancient coin sold at auction when they sold the coin for nearly $4.2 millon. It appears now that the coin was sold using false provenance.

The aureus that sold for 4,188,393 USD in 2020
The aureus that sold for 4,188,393 USD in 2020. Roma Numismatics Limited

It is reported Richard Beale teamed up with Italo Vecchi, an Italian coin dealer working at Roma Numismatics as a consultant specialist, to fabricate the record of ownership and paid for documents that claimed the coins were sourced from the collection of the Baron Dominique de Chambrier. Another coin was Sicily Naxos Coin, minted around 430 BC in the Greek colony of Naxos and was sold at the same 2020 auction for $291,682.

Beale and Vecchi spent several years preparing to falsify documents for the coins so that they could be sold at the auction house. NGC received an “EID MAR” aureus for evaluation before sale and after extensive study determined it was authentic.

Both the Sicily Naxos Coin and the Eid Mar Coin were seized by authorities in two US airports and will be repatriated to their home countries.

Beale has been charged with Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree and Second Degree, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. The investigation into Vecchi is ongoing and he has not yet been charged. It appears that Beale’s scheme was discovered following his attempted sale in 2022 of five coins which were known to be looted from Gaza.


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