There being no ancient coins involved, we get a cross section of substantive comments from people who know rather than the cut-and-past knee-jerks. But there is always one, isn't there?
It is my understanding that in the upcoming renewal of the MOU with Guatemala there may be mention of imposing import restrictions on coins minted in Guatemala during the Spanish Colonial and early Republican period. I believe that this action is unwarranted and inappropriate for the following reasons:Mike Dunigan is, of course, a dealer in 'rare coins' from Texas. The origin of this lunacy is not far to seek:
1. These coins were minted in large quantities on machines with designs mandated by the Spanish or other governing authorities not exclusive to Guatemala. These facts remove them from consideration as archaeological or ethnological objects.
2. They were minted in quantities much larger than needed for local circulation and in the cases of Spanish Colonial (1733-1821) and Central American Republic issues were used and recognized as international trade coins. The Spanish Colonial issues circulated on every inhabited continent in the world. Far more of these coins left Guatemala in world trade than remained at home to circulate.
3. As further examples of the truly international nature of this coinage it must be pointed out that Guatemalan minted coinage was considered by law as legal tender in the United States from 1775 until 1857.
4. Guatemalan minted coinage flowed to Asia freely on the Manila Galleon trade until 1815 and then on private merchant trading vessels for many years thereafter. To this day coins bearing the Guatemalan mint marks appear from coin lots in the Orient. Some even bear "chop marks" which attest to having circulated in Asia for more than a hundred years. In addition early Republican issues of the Central American Republic are frequently encountered with Philippine countermarks which were applied by Spanish authorities 1832-1837. The countermarks allowed the coins to pass as legal tender in the Philippines. This example further validates these coins status as International trade money. Thank you for your consideration of my input in this matter.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the proposed renewal of the MOU with Guatemala. There has been "chatter" about an effort to extend import restrictions to Spanish colonial and early republican era coins of Guatemala and other South and Central American countries. Any such effort should be rejected for the simple reason that such coins are not typically archaeological objects as defined under the CPIA. Nor do they meet the definition of ethnographic artifacts found in that statute. Such coins were produced on a massive scale with similar designs and identical weight standards with coins issued in Spain and other South American countries. These coins were widely used in international commerce. Indeed, the terms "piece of eight" and "two bits" came into our language because such coins were legal tender in the United States until 1857. They refer to the "Spanish dollar" of Eight Reales, two parts of which were equivalent to 25 cents. Surely, Guatemala's national patrimony is not endangered by the pillage of such coins that circulated extensively not only in the Americas but far beyond in the Far East. In addition, there is no concerted international response of other market nations restricting these coins. Finally, restriction would hurt appreciation of Guatemalan culture not only by Americans, but immigrants from Guatemala and other Latin American countries as well. Let me also comment about less drastic remedies that should be considered before renewing restrictions. Looting is best addressed at the source. Two obvious ways to do so are to require American archaeologists to pay their workers a fair living wage and put into place security measures in place for the long off season. As obvious as these measures may be, they have never been made requirements of any MOU as far as I know. Thank you for your consideration of my views.
This is the proof that the US is being gripped by the politically motivated (read, anti-US) agitators working for the the political extreme Left wing of the Heritage circus to the detriment of US citizens. By allowing this bunkum, the US deserves all that's thundering down the track towards them.The nature of this 'proof' is not elucidated upon by this apparently intoxicated and deluded 'Make America Great Again' conspiracy theorist. I disagree, America does not deserve the redneck president Donald Trump.
Vignette: Guatemala coin