The normally sensible coin collector Ed Snible has today a post on his blog chivvying along the submission of pro-smuggling comments to the CPAC ('American collectors should comment on the pending renewal of the MOU with Italy' A gift for Polydektes, Wednesday, March 18, 2015). Note the way he slides around the issue of the accusations that the gubn'mint is going this time to include all Roman Imperial coins on the designated list:
The extension doesn't have to cover the same stuff. It could cover fewer coin types or more coin types. If it covered all Roman Imperial coins it would be frustratingYou can see he knows it is not true but added it out of group solidarity. I sent a comment, let us see what his reaction is.
Since the CCPIA only requires importers of antiquities (including just six types of coins with limited original circulation) to have export licences, or a statement that the objects left the source country ten years prior to import into the US, I really do not see what the fuss is about. Do you want people to be able to buy FRESHLY smuggled items of all types taken out of the source country? Is that what this is about? Freeing the supply of freshly smuggled artefacts for American buyers? Is not the supply of fresh imports of the thousands of coins not on any designated list insufficient for US collectors?
The "open market" elsewhere for smuggled coins you lot bang on about only exists in countries where criminals get away with it - why should the US not be a country where criminals find it harder to get away with profiting from culture crime because that's where they find lots of willing customers?This prompted a reply from His Majesty Cultural Property Observer, who said...
Why are responsible collectors not instead opposing imports of freshly smuggled antiquities into huge market created by 50 000 ancient coin collectors [ACCG figures] in the US?
Roman imperial coins never were and never will be on any US designated list - as I suspect you full well know. So why uncritically repeat the alarmism of the dealers' lobbyists here, instead of being a source of reliable information?
Ed, I hope you and others don't think Mr. Barford has the best interests of collectors in mind. His blog screams otherwise. Just look at the insults he has hurled at collectors commenting on the MOU.If they write idiotic and off-topic things, then why is it in some way verboten to comment upon it in social media? Is that not part of what social media are about? And no, the sort of moronic collectors that greedily buy the products of archaeological site trashing while not having the foggiest idea about anything at all really are not the kind of people whose interests anyone here should be looking after. They need a good stiff dose of PAS outreach.
Mr Tompa really seems one of those incapable of reading plain English with any understanding. He's still trying desperately to cling to his Sky-is-falling-down crap about "they might add Roman coins to the list". Here is what I wrote to Ed about it:
[...] If you read the 1970 Convention, Arts 1, 2 and 4 - there is no way Italy can claim as their heritage under it of Roman coins legally metal detected in Lincolnshire England and reported to the PAS, is there? Whatever came into your mind to suggest they could? The CCPIA implements the Convention, not introduce anything new which is not in it (or it would not be implementing it would it?). If anyone could claim Roman coins excavated in England back under the 1970 Convention it would be the UK, but you have no MOU with them, do you? Mr Tompa is refusing to accept comments on his latest post on this. It is not difficult to guess why.Tompa totally ignores my reference to the UNESCO Convention. Odd that. Instead he twists this way:
With regard to Roman coins, we've argued in the past and now as well that it would not be lawful to restrict them because one cannot assume they are only found in Italy. The problem is that the DOS does not seem to take that legal requirement (or any other) seriously. Don't believe me, read Urice and Adler, and even former Assistant Legal Adviser Mark Feldman.That has not got anything to do with anything. The CCPIA "implements" in US law another document. It is constrained by what is in arts 1,2 and 4 of the UNESCO Convention, under which Roman coins found on a site in Lincolnshire cannot be considered "Italian cultural property" by the US government or anyone else (Give us back the Icklingham bronzes!). A cultural property lawyer should know that. I suspect Tompa does, he apparently imagines that by generating lots of words, thicko coineys will not spot the bluff. Likewise his stupid question: Why can't US collectors continue to import items legally exportable under EU law from places like the UK or Germany? But they can, there is nothing in the CCPIA to prevent them. He again twists the issue:
I'm also all for provenance information, but let's be reasonable about it. There is no legal requirement to retain it either here or in Europe. Italy itself is full of unprovenanced coins, so its a bit hard to expect importers to come up with it, particularly for inexpensive items.The same old tired trick. The CCPIA does not (repeat for the hard of understanding: does not, does not, does not) require any "provenance". Why do ever-gullible coineys fall for this one from the IAPN and PNG lobbyist, time after time? "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". When will collectors see through the tissues of cynical deceptions and distortions with which they are continually fobbed off?
Did Mr Snible? Nope. "Let's prove Mr. Barford is wrong by sending some partially provenanced coins" he warbles. He is not interested in the text of the Convention, he is not going to think, he's apparently quite content to follow.
Mr Tompa writes insultingly:
Just a short note. Reading Barford's latest, it's clear he really doesn't know what he's talking about or is willfully obfuscating. He seems to think the UNESCO Convention is what governs State and CPAC. It does not. The UNESCO Convention is not self-executing,I suggest Tompa reads what I actually wrote. The act merely implements the Convention, does not write a new one. I suggest the rest of us read the 1970 UNESCO Convention and see whether it gives any grounds at all to do what collectors are being led to believe it does (as part of the Italy MOU declare all Roman imperial coins minted and found anywhere at all, including Italy, as all Italian cultural property). Then they can read the CCPIA (noting that Peter Tompa does not say which articles in it he thinks give the US Government that authority to even consider it) and address the same question. When they've done that they can decide whether it is me who "is obfuscating" or Peter Tompa. To save yourselves the trouble (too many words) you can take it from me, Tompa is stubbornly clinging to the cynical manipulation that earns him money from the dealers associations that pay him to introduce this fog and try to drum up support to challenge the US's anti-smuggling measures for coins. The coiney community, Mr Tompa, are putting their faith in your ability to step uup there on April 8th and - since you feel it is so important - spend all of your allotted five minutes explaining to Prof. Gerstenblith that she and her esteemed Committee must recommend that the US Government CAN NOT add all Roman Imperial coins to the designated list - and then answer her questions afterwards.