Friday, 2 December 2016

Getting the Cowboys off the US Antiquities Market

A useful account of the story behind the recent US/Egypt MOU: Rick St. Hilaire, 'After Long Delay, US and Egypt Sign Historic MoU Restricting Endangered Heritage from American Import' Cultural Heritage Lawyer blog, Sunday, December 4, 2016.

It is difficult to see why trade lobbyists such as Peter Tompa and the American 'Committee (sic) for Cultural Policy' are going absolutely bananas over this:
Cultural objects covered by the new MoU's import restrictions may legally pass through America's borders when accompanied by either an export permit or proof showing that the artifacts left Egypt before the adoption of US import regulations.
Since that is 'now', I do not see why there should be any difficulty in dealers having documents (invoices for example) differentiating between items in old collections 'before now' and those that will be taken out of Egypt 'after now', legally (or illegally). But it is stopping the latter reaching the US market that is the aim of this action - which I assume responsible collectors will welcome. It remains to be seen how many dealers will be expressing their approval of the decline of the cowboy no-questions-asked dealing which taints the international antiquities market.

Vignette: STOP the black hat cowboys

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