Friday, 15 August 2008

A leaky CPAC?

"The ACCG also has reason to believe that the CPAC actually voted against including coins in the Restricted List".
For the past few months phrases like this have emanated from the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild and its officers concerning their ongoing struggle with their own government over import restrictions on Cypriote antiquities into the US. This was even before they got their hands on an edited version of the CPAC recommendations.
Not "the ACCG cannot [or refuses to] believe that the CPAC voted for including coins in the Restricted List", not "the ACCG would be disappointed to learn that CPAC voted for including coins..." nor "the ACCG believes it would have been wrong-thinking for the CPAC to vote for including coins...". But "has reason to believe that the CPAC actually voted against including coins in the Restricted List".
The terminology used seems to be intended to suggest that the ACCG has received inside information on what the CPAC thought it had resolved in this matter, but is cagey enough to conceal the precise source of the information. Where would the ACCG obtain such information? To whom have they been talking in order to obtain such a statement?
This single element seems a key point in their conspiracy theory about an alleged "government cover-up" around the Cyprus MOU. The ACCG are alleging that although they "have reason to believe" that the CPAC vote was in fact favourable to coin dealers wishing to import Cypriot artefacts (just the coins) without the need to document legal export from Cyprus, the State Department ignored that recommendation. Their further speculations (and let us remember that they are only that) concern "why" that opinion was ignored. But if that is what all this huff and puff is about, we might be forgiven for asking, how do the ACCG know that the CPAC in fact does NOT consider coins to be archaeological artefacts? I think in the circumstances a little "Freedom of Information" is owed by the ACCG too.
Personally, I cannot see any reason whatsoever that the CPAC doing its job properly would agree to US import restriction on archaeological finds without export licences to help prevent looting of the worlds's archaeological heritage but determine that ancient coins are "not however archaeological finds". That would be supremely illogical in the circumstances.

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