Egypt returns 176 ancient coins to four countries

Officials from Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities handed over a cache of 176 coins to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and China. Five Middle Eastern countries received 183 ancient coins seized by Egyptian authorities after they were smuggled out of the country and sold abroad.

All four counties’ ambassadors and embassy personnel attended a ceremony at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to receive the coins, which were originally minted in their respective nations.

According to Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, authorities seized 176 coins at various exit points including Cairo Airport and several post offices over the past year.

Officials stopped coins from being smuggled out of Egypt and sold, he said. Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Eissa said during a speech last night, “With tonight’s event, we would like to send an important message, which is that Egypt is not only committed to preserving its own heritage but also that of other countries.”

The representatives praised Egypt’s efforts to recover the treasure. The collection included 133 Saudi coins, 33 Chinese coins, six Iraqi coins, and four Jordanian ones.
Egypt signed the 1970 Unesco Convention to prevent the worldwide trafficking of antiquities in 1972. The handover on Monday was conducted in accordance with the convention, the minister said. These countries are also signatories.

A large number of artefacts imported from foreign countries have been seized by Egyptian border officials, he said. An illustration photo of New Zealand and Australia’s one-dollar coins is seen on July 12, 2016.
According to Hamdi Hammam, the head of Egyptian ports, Saudi Arabian coins from the reign of King Abdulaziz Al Saud is still in circulation. They consist of a quarter, a half, a one, and a two riyal piece, as well as a half piastre and a one piastre coin.

Coins from the reign of King Faisal I of Iraq and currency from the reign of King Hussein bin Ali, who ruled Jordan from 1952 to 1999, and denominated in five and 10 piastres, were found. One of King Hussein bin Talal’s Jordanian coins was also discovered. The Ming dynasty produced all of the Chinese coins. The statement from the antiquities ministry said the coin collection would be kept at the Egyptian Museum until the countries received them back.
Representatives from Saudi Arabia, China, and India received a collection of gold and silver coins from Egypt in 2020. Coins were also returned to Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 2017.


Image Credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities