Switzerland handed over a batch of around 550 ancient Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman coins to Serbia on Monday. They were going to be sold online.
The lot had been seized and confiscated following criminal proceedings led by the public prosecutor of the southern canton of Ticino. Most of the coins date to the Roman Empire, said the Federal Office of Culture on Tuesday.
The highlights of the seized loot are a coin (sesterce) bearing a depiction of Roman Empress Faustina dating from the 2nd century, and a gold coin (solidus) with the effigy of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius dating from the 7th century. The artefacts were handed over by Yves Fischer, deputy director of the Federal Office of Culture, to Danijela Vanusic, deputy minister of culture of Serbia.
This is not the first time such a return of ancient treasures has happened. In 2014, Switzerland handed over to Belgrade a batch of around 150 ancient coins from the Roman Empire. A Serbian national hoped to resell them on an online trading platform.