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Pricey Squabble Over Theodoric’s Coins

(CN) - A British coin collector says a dealer in Dallas owes him more than $170,000 for a unique collection of ancient Roman and Byzantine coins, all related to the name Theo - Theodoric, for example. Theo Bullmore wants to seize numismatist Glenn Woods' collection, claiming Woods owes him for the consignment sale of Bullmore's coins from the 4th through 10th centuries.

Woods said in a telephone interview Thursday that he saw no reason for the lawsuit.

"It's something that I regret has gone to litigation," Woods said from Dallas. "I have been paying this gentleman for over a year and a half."

In his complaint in Dallas Federal Court, Bullmore says he wants to seize Woods' "extremely valuable" inventory of ancient and rare coins in recompense.

Bullmore, a resident of the Cayman Islands, claims that he worked out a payment plan with Woods, but that Woods failed to hold up his end of the deal.

Bullmore says Woods that a 2009 agreement required Woods to pay $270,000 in monthly installments. Bullmore says Woods breached the deal by failing to pay in January, and still owes more than $170,000. Bullmore wants to foreclose on Woods' numismatist business.

"The collateral, specifically the inventory of coins, is extremely valuable, fairly portable and can be moved from its current location with little effort," according to the complaint.

But Woods says he has never "shied away from his debt," and that he has had to pay "excessive legal fees."

"Basically, the coins sold over a period of time, and my getting him paid back over that period time was an impossibility," Woods said.

Some of the coins were sold on credit to buyers who have gone bankrupt, Woods said. Woods added that it is common for serious collectors such as Bullmore to build their coin collections around a theme.

Bullmore wants his money back, foreclosure on Woods' business, and a receiver appointed. He is represented by E. P. Keiffer with Wright Ginsberg in Dallas.

Theodoric was a common name in antiquity among the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks and Anglo-Saxons. The most illustrious among them was Theodoric the Ostrogoth, known as Theodoric the Great (454-526). In a series of battles from 488 to 493, Theodoric defeated Odoacer, who had toppled the Western Roman Empire in 476. After Odoacer cried uncle, Theodoric promised to rule Italy jointly with him. He invited Odoacer to a banquet to celebrate the deal, and at the banquet killed Odoacer with his own hands, according to legend. Then he defeated the Vandals and the Burgundians too. That one was the Burgundians' fault, though, as their King Sigismund had killed his own son, Sergeric, who was Theodoric's grandson.

Sigismund should have known better.

Theodoric deserves obloquy, and he got it, for ordering the torture and death of Boethius, the philosopher best known today for his "Consolations of Philosophy," which he wrote in prison while awaiting execution. In it, Boethius described the now-famous Music of the Spheres, in which he says the celestial harmony of the planets and heavens should be a model of the harmony of the human spirit. This should have endeared him to Theodoric, who fancied himself an astronomer, but Theodoric suspected Boethius of sympathizing with Justin, the emperor of Constantinople. So it was all up with Boethius. He was tortured to death in 525. Theodoric died the next year.

So it goes.

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