Some 118 silver coins, which were seized at Zurich Airport in November 2011, have been returned to Athens. The ancient coins were taken by a Belgian national and permanent resident of Greece, Constantine Vanheerswyngels.
The silver coins are probably a monetary treasure, or a part of it, dating to the first half of the 4th century B.C.
The procedures to get the coins back were undertaken by the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods of the General Secretariat for Culture.
Greece has signed with Switzerland a bilateral agreement “on the import, transit and repatriation of cultural goods,” which became a tool for the successful outcome of the case. With the appointment of a lawyer to represent the Greek State, the cooperation of the Greek Embassy in Bern, the Federal Office of Culture as well as of the customs authorities of the two countries, an out-of-court settlement of the issue was achieved and the formalities for the return of the particularly important monetary treasure started.
The coins were transferred by air from Zurich, accompanied by an archaeologist from the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods and will be delivered at the Numismatic Museum of Athens.