Thursday, 2 September 2010

Roman Coins not in Italy Cultural Agreement Extension

No doubt there will be wild jubilation in the caves of the coin elves tonight as the news seeps underground that word has it that Roman coins will not be included by the State Department in the extension of the bilateral cultural property agreement between Italy and the USA. Nobody knew whether Italy had asked for this or not, rumour now has it that they had not. I am not sure how widespread illicit metal detector use is in Italy, perhaps the clue should be sought here, that many of the objects on the US market of concern have probably come (or are perceived as having come) from tombs, and it is the tombaroli who are more of a concern for the Italian government than "detectoroli", [perhaps because the former will frequently operate in organized groups, while the latter are individuals?]. Whatever the reason, apparently they were not included by the Italians this time under the heading of archaeological material being plundered from ancient sites and assemblages to feed the international no-questions-asked antiquities market. If true, this seems muddled thinking on their part and raises questions about what it is the Italians are trying to protect and how. But the coin collectors of the United States will no doubt be congratulating themselves on this "victory" over the people of Italy and their continued to import to the US whatever numismatic items they want from Italy. Let us see whether that also includes items like this Republican denarius which can be turned into a tasteful (ahem) piece of wearable numismatia.
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