Saturday, 30 June 2012

What would a US Coin Dealer Import Without an Export Licence?

In a comment on his blog, I asked Washington ancient coin collector Peter Tompa what he thought about two of the coins depicted (at 44 seconds) by the BBC video of the 2012 Jersey Hoard as being part of the hoard. 
He replies: 

They are Roman Republican issues. It suggests again that Roman coins circulated outside Roman lands, i.e., you can't assume as the US State Department erroneously does that a coin will be found where it is struck.
Republican, eh? Hmm. Whatever, the Coriosolite coins which are found there in large quantities these days were most likely not struck on Jersey either, does that mean that according to US law, one can freely import them from there without a export licence then?

Mr Tompa has not yet answered that question.  I suggest he take another look at those coins and the problem. 


Nathan Elkins said...

Nevermind the fact that the dealer's lobbyist is deliberately misleading in his statement here. Current import restrictions only cover a narrow range of coins for which there is ample evidence that they primarily circulated in the areas in which they were struck. The majority of Roman Republican coins are NOT subject to import restrictions.

Cultural Property Observer said...

As for your post, yes under US law these particular coins can be imported without an export license; however, ACCG and I support securing export licenses where required. The real problem of course that coins bought in countries like the UK often don't require export licenses, and US authorities wrongfully assume coins were found where they were produced so this causes a huge problem.

As for Mr. Elkins snide comments, perhaps he will enlighten us why he thinks US import restrictions on coins are based on a "primarily found" standard and why such a standard complies with the CPIA's legal requirement that they were first discovered in and are subject to the export control of a given country before they may be restricted. The restrictions themselves only refer to coins of a given type or otherwise suggest they are based on where they were minted.

Paul Barford said...

"under US law these particular coins can be imported without an export license"

WHAT? Then you should gracefully withdraw from the 1970 UNESCO Convention you hypocrites!

The legal export of even single coins from this hoard from the channel Islands requires an export licence. Therefore what you are saying is that even though the US is a state party of the 1970 UNESCO Convention, its Article 3 does not apply to US buyers? So, what IS the point of the US being a state party of this convention? What does it give us and what does it give you? Why stay in a Convention you have no intention of fully honouring?

Mr Tompa, for a legal transaction, in the case of the UK which you mentioned, coins older than 50 years freshly DUG UP in the UK DO need at least an export licence. So whether or not that licence is needed is documented by having documentation where and when that coin left the ground. That is UK law, and there is no way of getting round it.

The Channel Island Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are of course British Crown Dependencies, and as such are not directly part of the UK (or EU), but as far as this goes, the same laws apply to export of archaeological artefacts.

I would say that in the case of "Republican" coins exported from the Channel Islands, like these (if that is what they are), whether or not they need an export licence depends therefore on where they were dug up. If they are freshly dug up in the Channel Islands, they cannot be exported without an EL. If they were freshly dug up in Italy, they cannot be legally exported without an EL. If they come from an old collection in Solihul, they will not require an EL if under a certain value. However in order for US Customs to determine whether goods of any kind (cheese too) arriving on the US border are being exported legally or not, they have to have the information on the basis of which to do that. Hence the two different types of paperwork laid down by the CCPIA, to provide the evidence of licit export.

So what you are saying is if these coins appeared on the US border, they should be automatically waved through because though they are archaeological artefacts, and they are of a type of object that is among those restricted ("republican coins"), there is no proof whether or not that they have left Italy recently, so they should be allowed through? So how would that stop Luigi Cannelloni the Mafia boss sending freshly looted coins to his brother in Tampa by the simple expedient of packaging them up and having them sent out from Jersey CI? he could shift tonnes of looted antiquities that way, couldn't he if US authorities did not ask for an indication when they left wherever it was they were earlier, no?

And why might the Cannelloni brothers not be very happy about that? Well, if the coins came from an old Solihul collection made in the 1980s, there is no problem stating honestly and truthfully that they left Italy ten years before the MOU. If however they were freshly looted from Italy, or freshly dug up from a metal detected hoard in Jersey, then obviously there are.

Paul Barford said...

ACCG "supports securing export licenses where required".

So, since you are a member of the ACCG Board of Directors and past president, tell me please,

1) what would happen to an ACCG member caught not having an export licence "where required"?

2) Would the ACCCG if somebody notified them of an ACCG seller who they suspect of selling coins where an export licence is required actually investigate each and every such case and take action against that seller should it transpire that he is unable to demonstrate to the ACCG Board that the coin is indeed accompanied by such a licence?

Or are these just empty ACCG words?

3) Why does the ACCG not impose on its members an obligation (so as not to bring the ACCG into disrepute by the appearance of selling items without the licence where required) to advertise the existence of such documentation in every case where it is possessed by the seller? That would be a good way of ACCG "supporting securing export licenses where required", would it not?

Cultural Property Observer said...

The US only adopted UNESCO with reservations to ensure that the US retains its independent judgment, i.e., US import restrictions don't necessarily mirror export controls of other countries. The UK does not have an MOU with the US so there is no US legal requirement to procure an UK export permit (if required-most ancient coins exported from the UK don't require them). Having said that, the UK does issue export certificates for coins found in the UK and reported under the Treasure Act or PAS, and people should follow UK law on the subject, but not sure how the ACCG is in the position to police its members anymore than the AIA is to police its members as to whether they act in accordance to their own rules.

You seem fixated on export controls but you yourself have yet to confirm all the Japanese prints and other artifacts you may have purchased yourself have been exported with proper export papers from wherever they come from-- keep in mind certain countries require permits for any artifact over 50 years old. Perhaps before you harp on this again, you should confirm that you are entirely compliant yourself.

Paul Barford said...

Well, as far as the Japanese modern prints go, yes I can confirm I have been and continue to be compliant with the export restrictions on such items. You first raised this issue as long ago as 11/8/10 by the way and it is odd to see you continuing the unprofessional mud-slinging.

Can we say the same about your own collection of Hungarian dugup coins and ancient Greek numismatic items? Perhaps you would care to put your collection online for the edification of everyone?

Now I must say it saddens me to hear that the USA has no MOU with the United Kingdom, and therefore will not apply 1970 Convention principles to British cultural property.

Yet I bet if a stolen copy of something important to you (draft notes of the Constitution, old love letters of George Washington or whatever actually IS important to you lot over there) turned up in Great Britain, you'd expect us to send them back. And we would, because it is only right, and without all the pathetic palaver we see over the Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask and Tarby the Dinosaur. MOU or no MOU.

When we sign a convention we mean it. When the US signs a convention like this it apparently means "we'll agree to it when it suits us" ("its independent judgement"). Shame on you.

This is exactly why the USA should withdraw from the Convention, rename the CCPIA (selective cultural property restitution act?) and admit it has lost any moral authority to speak on the world forum of such matters.

"Having said that, the UK does issue export certificates for coins found in the UK and reported under the Treasure Act or PAS"
What the hell are you talking about? Where do you get this from? The PAS and Treasure Act ARE NOTHING TO DO WITH EXPORT PROCEDURE. I really am at a loss why you lot cannot understand that no matter how many times you are told! Its not exactly rocket science.

As for ACCG paying attention to the ethics of their members, what do you have a code of ethics for if it has no possible relationship to what ACCG members do? Can ACCG members flagrantly ignore the ACCG code of ethics and remain members? I recall a case not long ago when two blokes were "suspended" for being charged in a smuggling case. Was this a non-off due to the high profile of the case, or does the ACCG uphold the highest standards among its members? I ask again, what would happen to ACCG members trading items which required export documentation which had none?

Cultural Property Observer said...

I'm not sure my prior post needs further elaboration. However, please clarify your statement with regard to "modern Japanese prints." It is my understanding you also have antique ones-- are you compliant as to those as well? Are you saying no export certificate is necessary or that you have ones? I only bring this up again because you never really responded previously except to say you were going to confer with the Japanese Embassy. I certainly don't recall more information on that point. Of course, this is really only relevant because of your constant lecturing of others on the subject of export permits.

Paul Barford said...

Oh yes it does. Most of my prints are Meiji and Taisho. The United S
States has no bilateral cultural property MOU with Japan, but has huge quantities of Japanese cultural property, especially swords and prints taken during the US Occupation.

Paul Barford said...

Well, first of all, the question of export documentation only really comes up here in connection with US collectors and dealers (who are trying their level best to avoid having to have them). This is because that is the way the system over there works - because the US is not a source country for anything much. Their system is built around the CCPIA which is pretty primitive and only looks at the export, rather than how something "surfaced".

In Britain (among other places), the legislation has a different and more subtle basis. The way something left the ground and where is instrumental in determining whether something is 'tainted'. Therefore when writing about that, the emphasis is on 'provenance' (pace David Gill). Its interesting that Mr Tompa does not see the distinction...

Alfredo De La Fe said...

So, export permits only counts "here" if they are in reference to the items exported to the United States?

Sounds like hypocrisy. Finding out if you require an export permits for a 50+ year old print is not of concern to you because you would rather not find out that they are required and have the ethical dilema of turning yourself in if they were exported without proper documentation.

Paul Barford said...

Well, I do not know why people who handle corroded dugup artefacts have problems undestanding what is written in black and white.

Five posts above I addressed the point, but I see I have to repeat myself for the dealer: "Well, as far as the Japanese modern prints go, yes I can confirm I have been and continue to be compliant with the export restrictions on such items. You first raised this issue as long ago as 11/8/10 by the way and it is odd to see you continuing the unprofessional mud-slinging". I see the coineys are inordinately fond not only of that kind of thing but also the "Two wrongs make a right" approach.

The people in the wrong here are those that trade in illicitly obtained and exported archaeological artefacts and call it "free enterprise".

This forum is not about books and prints or antiques such as pocket watches, of collectables such as baseball cards and stamps, but PORTABLE ANTIQUITY collecting.

I do not understand the comment
"So, export permits only counts "here" if they are in reference to the items exported to the United States? Sounds like hypocrisy."
When it should be clear that was a reference to the earlier remark by Mr Tompa that I was allegedly "obsessed" with export licences. I was pointing out that this is a very shallow reading of what I write here.

But then we come back to the issue of shallow reading and shallow reasoning and deflective times-wasting tactics by those who collect dugup antiquities no-questions-asked.

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