Thursday 20 February 2020

"The coin collector lost a protracted legal challenge to regain possession of the coins"

"Most countries have laws that protect their cultural 
property, such as art, artifacts, antiquities, 
 or other archeological and ethnological material. 
 These laws include export controls and national 
 ownership of cultural property. Therefore, 
although they do not necessarily confer ownership, 
consignees or importers must have documents 
such as export permits and receipts 
when importing such items into the United States"

Public service announcement to all collectors

The kind of heavily chemically
stripped crap this "collector from
 Missouri" usually buys? 
Valentine's day present for responsible collecting. US dealers lobby group lose their "Baltimore Illegal Coin Import Stunt" ('Baltimore CBP Repatriates Priceless Artifacts to Cyprus Government Officials Press Release : February 14, 2020). So, what are they going to do now? Sue Cyprus to get them back?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Baltimore Field Office repatriated seven ancient coins [...] to the Embassy of Cyprus today that Baltimore CBP officers initially discovered in an air cargo shipment in April 2009. An appraisal determined that the collection dated from the Roman Empire, from several periods during 81 BC through 217 AD. The collection includes:
Two bronze coins from an unspecified Roman period
One coin from the Ptolemaeus period, 81 BC -58 BC
One coin from the Augustus period, 27 BC – 14 AD
Two coins from the Tiberius period, 14-37 AD
One coin from the Severan period, 193 AD – 217 AD
“On behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, I am honored to return these priceless national treasures to the government and citizens of Cyprus,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. “Customs and Border Protection will continue to use our border authority to identify and rescue precious antiquities being smuggled by those who profit on the theft of another country’s historical and cultural property, and return them to their rightful owners.
"Coin collector from Missouri", please note. The dealer he bought them from who did not have the proper documentation was sending him coins to which they had no title (1970 UNESCO Convention Art 3).  And just look at the state of this coin-chemically stripped to bare porous metal, this is what the antiquities trade does to ancient artefacts, this is not preservation, it is damage. Apparently these coins were acquired from Spink. Who would believe that such a 'reputable' firm would have had such things in their stockroom. Yuk.
CBP officers from the Area Port of Baltimore initially encountered the ancient coins in April 2009 during an inspection of air cargo that arrived from London. This specific parcel was destined to a coin collector in Missouri. CBP issued a letter to the consignee requesting any documentation they received from the government of Cyprus authorizing the lawful importation of these cultural artifacts.  [...] In May 2009, the consignee admitted to not possessing authority from the government of Cyprus to import the artifacts, and CBP officers seized the coins. Additionally, the parcel contained Chinese coins determined to be from the Zhou, Han and Western Han dynasties, dating from 400 BC through 220 AD. CBP contracted an appraiser to determine the estimated ages of the artifacts. The coin collector lost a protracted legal challenge to regain possession of the coins and CBP’s Office of International Affairs coordinated with the government of Cyprus to repatriate the coins during a ceremony today at their Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Good for them, and a long-overdue poke in the eye for US dealers who think they can carry on irresponsibly scattering the world's heritage without going to the trouble of documenting it properly. Now, what next for the "collector in Missouri" [Wayne Sayles] and the no-questions-asked dealers and collectors congregated in the now toothless and thoroughly discredited Ancient Coin Collectors'[sic] Guild?
Hat tip: Dorothy Lobel King

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