Customs officers seize ancient coins at Lake Champlain cargo facility

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Brick wall at an ancient site in Iran

The ancient Sasanid caravanserai of Dirgchin, on the border of Qom province and Tehran province. (mostafa meraji / Unsplash)

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Customs and Border Protection officers at the Champlain Port of Entry discovered nine ancient coins being shipped illegally into the U.S.

On Tuesday, June 23, customs officers were notified that seven of the coins were from the Sasanian Empire, dating back to the fifth century in Iran, a time before the arrival of Islam in the region. They were appraised at about $2000.

The other two coins were minted in Armenia.

Officers assigned to the cargo facility first encountered the shipment featuring nine unrecognizable foreign coins in early June. They contacted a specialist from the Numismatic Society to identify them.

Once identified, Customs next contacted the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury, who said the Iranian coins were missing licensing required in order to be imported.

“This is another example of how our officers continue to protect our country and its interests,” said Steve Bronson, Port of Champlain Port Director.  “Our work with multiple agencies, in this case OFAC, prevents unlawful items of this nature from getting into the U.S.”

It is not immediately clear what effect the attempted trafficking of ancient coins specifically has on security interests.

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