Friday, 17 September 2010

Some Coiney Submissions concerning the Greek Request

Here's a couple of comments on a few of the atypical coiney submissions (ie not simply regurgitating what the dealers' lobby told them to write by following the templates they were provided) in response to the Greek government's request to the US to attempt to curnb imports of ancient artefacts illegally exported from Greece.

Chad King:
Coins should be specifically included from the restrictions. The mere removal of coins from the country does not damage the historical sites of Greece, nor does it remove historical artifacts from the country. Further, citizens of Greece are not restricted from collecting American coins -- even those with historical importance.
That's nice. "American coins of historical importance" - what actually would they be? How many of them would be being dug by looters out of 2000-year old archaeological sites and illegally exported to Greece?

What coins were being used in the United States of America two thousand years ago that we can collect in return for them trading two thousand year old coins from Europe and the Near East?

Charles Bent:
“...Therefore, a more reasonable approach would be for all such items, including coins, to be registered with the host country prior to any sale or shipping
yes, it is called an EXPORT LICENCE Mr Bent –precisely what it it is proposing to enforce through the CPIA.

Carl Zipfel: Most of his text is oddly independent of the usual coiney screed. But then the word version spoils that first impression, it’s tacked on at the end…

Dr Costas Paraskevaides (antiquities dealer):
The federal government should give careful consideration before adopting a clumsy MoU that will create a large and fruitless workload for customs officials and harm a vibrant - and responsible - US art market.
Yeah, right. Except its not paintings, ormolu ornamented card tables and old china, but dugup archaeological artefacts we are talking about.

Jimmy Gilliam
Since much of the request is secret correspondence I cannot support any agreement that is not very specific in its request and open for public scrutiny. To preserve Greek cultural property is necessary, but what is included in the term cultural property? Ancient sites in the Hellenic Republic should be preserved for study, but individual items like coins or pottery that have been traded and sold for hundreds if not thousands of years with no known pedigree should not be included in such an agreement. To make arbitrary decisions on what constitutes cultural property and require proof that something was not stolen is impossible. Allow law enforcement to do their work instead of giving aid outside the law to a bankrupt government. Since Greek pottery and coins were part of trade and shipped outside Greece, as well as minted or made outside Greece, no authority can legitimately state those to be cultural property of the Hellenic Republic. For a government that allows one national museum of an occupied country to be pillaged and then wants to limit legal ownership of property of its own citizens that can be arbitrarily defined as cultural property is ludicrous. National heritage should be protected for all nations but “cultural property” should not be defined by whims of bureaucrats or policing agents.
Can we read between the lines to infer that Mr Gilliam not only collects dugup Greek coins byut has one or two dugup Greek pots scattered around his home? Yes, the Greeks made a lot of pots, but digging them out of archaeological sites (the best ones come from robbing graves of course) destroys archaeological information. Just the same as does digging ancient coins out of archaeological sites. How precisely does collector Gilliam propose we differentiate items which "have been traded and sold for hundreds (sic) of years with no known pedigree" from those that have surfaced from recent looting? Without that, how precisely does he expect US "law enforcement to do their work" if not through stopping illegally exported items at the US border?

Chris Becraft wrote a submission that is also unlikely to be very persuasive. Let us hope he can claim that he was in fact "very, very drunk" when he wrote this, well at least its not following the ACCG/CNG template:
Dear Unaccountable Federal Bureacuracy in Collusion of Trampling our Constitution:
This proposed restriction is an outrage and further evidence of the Federal Government of the United States' arrogance and unabashed statist ambitions. But let's set aside the absolute fact that the Federal Government has absolutely no authority regulating stamped pieces of metal that were lost by their original owners 2000 years ago and lets consider the probable fact that there is likely not a single person in the front-line employment of whatever Federal bureaucracy in charge of enforcing this nonsense that is qualified to make the determination that of any piece of suspect metal would actually fall under this proposal. It's absurd, a insult to our Constitutional rights governing unwarranted search and siezure of personal property without due cause, and just plain disgusting.
Chris Becraft
American Citizen & Free Man

Vignette, Barney Gumble another American Citizen & Free Man

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