Monday 24 August 2009

Professional Numismatists Group also Finances the Assault on the CPIA

PNG and IAPN officials are concerned about efforts by the Archaeological Institute of America to train Customs inspectors to detect and seize coins suspected of being imported in violation of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. “The use of trainers from the archaeological community with ‘an axe to grind’ against professional numismatists and collectors carries with it the danger that unfair enforcement will actually result,” said attorney Peter K. Tompa of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Bailey & Ehrenberg PLLC.
Well, of course what the Cyprus and China MOUs regulate is the undocumented trade in archaeological artefacts. These coins are just one category of the material involved. I suppose Mr Tompa would rather that archaeologists show customs officers what square, triangular and spheroid archaeological artefacts look like leaving showing the round flat ones to the coineys. Of course none of the dealers and collectors approached would have any 'axe to grind' about import legislation. Nevertheless, if all they have to do is show the customs officers "this is an old coin", it seems not to be an impediment to training - but then, what is the point in employing a whole army of trainers when one group will do?

Anyhow it has just been announced that the PNG will provide $12,000 towards the costs of opposing the urrent means of implementation of the US's Cultural Property Implementation Act - but interestingly paid to the IAPN, and not the more ranty ACCG currently involved in a controversial and provocative attempt to import undocumented coins.

“The PNG Board of Directors unanimously agreed to contribute the funds to assist IAPN in its lobbying efforts to combat unfair import restrictions. We are concerned that overzealous Customs Bureau agents may unfairly misconstrue even well-meaning regulations by mistakenly claiming that any undocumented ancient coin is a stolen cultural property artifact of another country,” said PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.

Well, that is not exactly the case, the CPIA acuses nobody of anything, it actually only requires the import of certain groups of artefacts into the USA to be accompanied by certain types of documentation, providing alternative manners in which this requirement can be met. Either a particular group of coins have this, or they do not. If they have not, ethical dealers would not be attempting to import them into a country which has restrictions on the movements across its border of coins without such documentation. It is as simple as that. Why, actually do US coin dealers think that they alone should be above the law?

I think there should be more transparency here, are the IAPN and PNG behind the ACCG coin import stunt? Yes or No?

See now David Gill's comments: Numismatic dealers raise concerns about the AIA (I appreciated Nathan Elkins' trenchant comment at the bottom)

Photo: Robert Bruegman fourteen years executive director of PNG.

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