Police Find Coins Stolen From Fogg
State and federal investigators Saturday completed their recovery of a collection of 5000 rare coins stolen from the Fogg Museum in December 1973 and valued at approximately $2 million.
A spokesman for the investigators said the remaining 1000 coins of the collection were unearthed "in an area of Middlesex County." Investigators found approximately 2000 other coins from the collection "somewhere in Norfolk County" last month, the spokesman said.
George M. Hanfmann, Hudson Professor of Archaelogy and curator emeritus of ancient coins at the Fogg, said yesterday "we're rejoicing to have them back--they're a great asset to the University."
John Droney, district attorney of Middlesex County, said yesterday he worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state police, and William Delahunt, Norfolk County district attorney, during the investigation.
Droney said that about a month ago he met with Delahunt and Barry Haight, attorney for Carl R. Dickson, one of three men sentenced for the coin robbery, to try to determine the hiding place of the missing coins.
"At that time, Haight was waiting for more favorable terms for his client before revealing the location of the coins," Droney said. "Last week, however, he gave us the information, and we retrieved the coins Saturday," he added.
Droney said that retrieving the coins did not involve granting any concessions to the men found guilty of the theft. "Their cases are coming before the Appellate Court for review in June, and the return of the coins may work in their favor," Droney added.
Haight was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Barbara Burrell, a numismatics expert responsible for the coin collection in 1973 and a Harvard graduate student, said yesterday that the coins had been valued at $2 million during the 1974 trial. But she said the coins' exact value is impossible to estimate as economic and social relics, and as works of art.
Burrell said the coins date from 6 B.C. to 3 A.D., are of Greek and Roman origin, and are made of bronze, silver and gold.
She said Harvard "has been the passive party--the state and federal authorities have expended much effort to get the coins back." Harvard retrieved a large part of the collection within a year of the theft.
"We kept hoping all along we'd eventually get back the whole set," Burrell said.
Droney said he was at first unwilling to help in the investigation, but changed his mind after discussing the case with Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University.
"He really impressed me that the coins were worth retrieving for their educational value more than for their monetary value," Droney said.
Steiner was unavailable for comment yesterday.