Wyatt Yeager was a trusted member of a museum and at the age of 28 was hired as the collections manager for the American Numismatic Association or ANA. The ANA is the oldest hobbyist organization in the United States having been organized in 1891 and was the first such association federally chartered by Congress in 1912. They have been dedicated to the collection and study of coins, paper money, tokens, and medals from all over the world. They boast the largest numismatic library in the world and one of the three top collections of United States coinage in the world containing over 250,000 pieces of history and art, three of which are valued at over $1M each! (the other two are the National Coin Collection at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington D.C. and The Byron L. Reed Collection at the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, NE.)
However, the ANA was irreparably damaged in 2007 by their collections manager when he stole more than 300 coins from the collection. These coins were not only valuable, they were extremely rare pieces, some nearly unique, that were worth an estimated One Million dollars. Yes, the coins were insured, but what does insurance matter when each piece stolen was piece of art and history that might be missing forever. It would be like stripping the Louvre of 100 minor items. No biggie until you consider the cultural loss. And just what did this ass do with these coins, were they stolen so he could appreciate them in his own selfish way. That at least might be understandable in some sense. No, he stole the pieces and then consigned them to auctions across the globe, netting him nearly one million dollars.
HE AUCTIONED THEM! Holy crap. I can’t believe he had the gall to think no one would notice them missing. Granted the thefts weren’t noticed until October of 2007 when the final theft had been in March of 2007, but when they were noticed the FBI was immediately on the case and they tracked this crafty little punk down to Ireland where he had moved with his ill-gotten gain and extradited his butt back to the USA for prosecution. I can’t imagine that it was too very hard for the FBI to find the selling location of some of these coins, like the holey dollar in the picture a coin with less than 350 specimen known left.
Yeager ended up pleading guilty to one count of Theft of a Major Artwork and was sentenced to a mere 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of nearly $950,000. But, really 27 months, it is not as if these coins will all be recovered, some may never see the light of day again. That truly makes me sad and angry beyond all belief.