Saturday 20 August 2011

Dealer SS: "Clean Trade Means a Vaccum Cleaner at the Border"

Alarm, alarm, watch out the enemy is at the gates, hysterically shouts Scott Semans dealer in dugups and numismatic books from Issaquah, WA 98027:
American collectors in future may have to ask shippers from outside USA to declare ancient & medieval coins as "reproductions" or U.S. Customs will confiscate them. That's right, fakes are illegal to own under the "Hobby Protection Act" but it is unenforced, while retentionists such as Paul Barford and his allies have converted U.S. Customs into a vacuum cleaner which will suck up coins and antiquities coming into the USA and return them to any foreign government that wants to warehouse or resell them. To learn more about this disturbing and under-reported situation, I suggest that listmembers join, or visit this site: <>. The future is almost here.
As for whether the alleged threat to collecting is "underreported", I would say it is being deliberately misleadingly reported by US coin dealers like Mr Semans and his equally hysterical colleagues. I'd say the two web-resources he sends collectors to are the last place to go to find out what these import restrictions are all about. I'd suggest collectors instead read the CCPIA for themselves with understanding and then find responsible dealers willing to comply with the law instead of kick against it.

Of course American collectors and dealers instead of importing mislabelled packages to avoid customs scrutiny (how often do they do that already? Also a crime, see the Windsor Antiquities Bust in NYC), they could just make sure the coins they import from certain countries have a piece of paper accompanying the package indicating that the coins were legally exported from the source country (two varieties to choose from). Wary collectors buying from such dealers would be well advised to get a copy of this paper to indicate that the procedures were followed.

I note on Mr Semans website the misleading information:
Radical archaeologists and nationalistic politicians in source countries have succeeded in placing bans on the import of coins from Cyprus, China, and Italy. Other countries are lining up to use U.S. Customs against American citizens. MORE:
I would not bother going there, its the ACCG website. I wonder if Mr Semans (who seems otherwise to come over as an intelligent man on his website) actually believes what he writes here. The only person given the authority to impose import restrictions under the CCPIA is the President of the United States of America who may delegate it to another branch of government under his authority, so no "archaeologists" at all. Whether or not Barack Obama is a "nationalist politician" I could not say. But of course no "ban" is in place, there is a restriction on coins of certain types from certain countries unaccompanied by export documentation or a declaration as laid down by the CCPIA. Like Mr Semans can't come to visit me without having a passport. That's not a travel ban in any shape or form - unless Mr Semans is unable to obtain a US passport because he is illegally in the country of course. But I trust that is not the case and most people accept it as understood that you need a piece of paper to cross borders - or more specifically to confirm your right to return to the place you came from, but also to go to a new one. US passport and visa regulations only act as a "vacuum cleaner" for illegal immigrants. I am sure Mr Semans would not want or tolerate any illegal immigrants in his stockroom, would he?

Funny, since we are on the topic, Mr Semans is extremely knowledgeable about Chinese coins, has handled thousands of them, but somehow has avoided as far as I am aware expressing any professional opinion on the authenticity of the coins the ACCG originally pictured as being the ones they illegally imported through Baltimore. Would Mr Semans have no problems selling those coins as authentic dugups staking his reputation on it? With those 'corrosion products'?

UPDATE: The post above about misinformation and the illicit trade in dugups seems to have struck a raw nerve with one coin dealer (link to my answer). Basically it does not need a degree in logic or philology to see that the words being used by dealers here bear absolutely no relation to what the CCPIA actually says. Check it out.


Anonymous said...

This is disgusting! What world is this Seamans living in? Why is he actively promoting to violate other country's antiquities laws? Why is he continued to allowed doing his business? Because of jerks like this guy, Africa, China and other areas of their world lose their past. How sad is this! Thanks, Paul for posting! Another retentionist writing here.

Paul Barford said...

"Why is he actively promoting to violate other country's antiquities laws?"

That is the 64 million dollar question. Why cannot a "legitimate business" function without breaking laws?
What kind of business is this dugup dealing?

I expect though that within hours we will see a flood of messages from responsible collectors disclaiming any connection with a 'renegade dealer' who espouses such views and a statement from the ACCG that Mr Semans' membership has been suspended.

Oh, wait, he wrote that hours ago and... not a peep of protest from any coiney anywhere that I can see. What does that tell you about coineys?

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