William Koch & Ancient Coins

QUESTION: I understand that the Koch brothers bought ancient coins. Is there any truth to that?

WJ

ANSWER: Oh, yes. William Koch was involved in a very famous case involving the Athenian decadrahms. There was a hoard discovered in Antalya by a television repairman and two other people back in 1984. They found a hoard of 2000 ancient silver coins with a metal detector. The hoard contained the rare Athenian decadrachms, which were produced as a commemorative 10-drachma coin. There were only 7 previously known examples. The Elmali Hoard contained 14 of them and became known as the “The Hoard of the Century.” The first one sold for $600,000 dollars, easily breaking the old record. The billionaire, William Koch of Boston, bought 1,800 of the coins for $3.5 million dollars. The Turkish Government knew that the treasure had been smuggled out of the country, but after it was taken across the border they didn’t have the slightest knowledge of its whereabouts. The treasure disappeared.

Based on the evidence, the Turkish Government started legal proceedings in Boston. The judge gave an important interim judgment in Turkey’s favor. Koch lost the hoard to Turkey.