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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fight Over Phony $410,000 Coin Ends

(CN) - A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing a coin dealer of selling a phony ancient Greek decadrachm for $410,000, after the buyer acknowledged that the dealer too had been fooled by the forgery.

Harlan Berk, of Chicago, sued Steve Rubinger and his company Antiqua last year, claiming they had sold him a forged "Athens decadrachm" in 2009.

The decadrachm was a Greek silver coin worth 10 drachmae, which was in circulation from 600 B.C. to 200 A.D.

Berk claimed he had sold the coin to a third party, who discovered it was a "forgery" and asked for a refund.

Berk refunded the money, but Antiqua and Rubinger refused to return his $410,000, according to his complaint in Cook County Court.

After the lawsuit was removed to Chicago Federal Court the parties settled, and asked the court to dismiss the action.

Antiqua agreed to repurchase the coin from Berk for the original sale price, and Berk agreed to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice and without costs after getting the money, according to the settlement agreement.

Berk acknowledged in the settlement that neither Antiqua nor Rubinger had committed fraud, and that the defendants "were all fooled by a deceptive forgery" of the coin, which they believed to be authentic at the time of the sale. He released Antiqua and Rubinger from all claims related to the sale of the coin.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle dismissed the action in March, and ordered each party to pay its own attorneys' fees and costs.

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