Tuesday 11 May 2010

Illicit Antiquities: 80% Failure Rate of US Customs' Barrier of Bubbles?

It seems the coin collectors are making a mountain out of a molehill over the import restrictions on antiquities. It seems from the amount of stuff on sale with no mention of export licences made up front that the US borders are as porous as a sieve where the import of antiquities is concerned. I'd say that is pretty disturbing, what else is getting through? Anyway it is clear from the lack of up-front attention being paid to provenance issues in sales offers that the US antiquities market is a veritable swamp of issues deriving from no-questions-asked dealership and acquisition.

The ICE failure rate has recently been put on record by Peter Tompa in his report of what Wayne Sayles said at the recent CPAC public hearing about the case of the Baltimore illegal coin import stunt ("Customs Test Case") discussed on this blog a number of times. The scandal deepens:
The ACCG imported the coins in April 2009. ACCG’s Customs Broker had to tell Customs that the coins were subject to potential restrictions. On the 5th attempt, Customs seized the coins, [...]
So it took five attempts to get US customs at Baltimore (so not exactly hillbilly country) to recognise there was something here they should even look at. So four out of five shipments would get through? That's eighty percent. That is eighty percent of items exported without proper documentation of the handful of countries which US ICE is (supposedly) keeping an eye open for. The UK, home to ten thousand metal-detector equipped collectable-seeking emptiers of the archaeological record is not even on that list. Neither is Egypt, or Bulgaria or France or Romania.

So what happened to the illegally imported coins the ACCG got through US customs prior to the fifth shipment being seized? Were they sold by an ACCG dealer on V-Coins or eBay?

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

"Chippindale's Law" strikes again...

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