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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: goldenancients)  |  Topic: Time to Speak Out 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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« Reply #200 on: January 22, 2011, 10:41:04 pm »

I talked to a couple of dealers, and they said that the policy only applied to new imports.   Coin sales have been a legal business for many years.  I don't believe there would be a basis for asking owners to return coins.  However, I'm certainly going to keep all my records in case I want to sell any of my collection in the future to show that the coins pre-date the restrictions.

My real issue is that it is illegal for Italy as part of the EU to restrict sales of these coins to other countries within the EU.  It makes no logical sense for Italy to ask for import restrictions only to the US.
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« Reply #201 on: January 22, 2011, 11:48:35 pm »

i will now be boycotting spaghetti, loafers, bad comedy, and anything else which might originate in Italy. let's see how this decision effects their already thriving economy!

I understand how you feel, but bear in mind that, regardless of what Italy asked for in the MOU, the US State Department didn't have to agree to it. Consequently, it is OUR government which I feel is really the one to blame.
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« Reply #202 on: January 23, 2011, 12:41:06 pm »

No, it's Greece for starting it. The real solution would be to get them to change their attitude.
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« Reply #203 on: January 23, 2011, 01:19:31 pm »

No, it's Greece for starting it. The real solution would be to get them to change their attitude.

That'll never happen after they've begun to achieve success. Look at it from the perspective of the Italians - it's an easy/lazy/no-cost solution to regulating antiquity trade to ask the US to ban imports. Don't blame the Italians - of course they asked, who wouldn't? It's US action that is the issue.
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« Reply #204 on: January 23, 2011, 01:31:30 pm »

It's a problem which began in Europe, and has to be dealt with here. Your politicians have no understanding of the issues involved, and if one lot don't take the easy route and give in, the next probably will. It won't go away unless we can get it sorted. You lot over there could help by pressurising European governments and the EC, if you could only see beyond your own borders!
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« Reply #205 on: January 23, 2011, 02:38:03 pm »

It's a problem which began in Europe, and has to be dealt with here. Your politicians have no understanding of the issues involved, and if one lot don't take the easy route and give in, the next probably will. It won't go away unless we can get it sorted. You lot over there could help by pressurising European governments and the EC, if you could only see beyond your own borders!

I'm confused as to who "you lot", "yours", refers to, (I understand Robert lives in Europe) but anyway bear in mind that this issue is not really a problem if you live in Europe. There's a minor inconvenience from not being able to sell into or buy from the USA, but even in Italy coin collecting is perfectly legal and accepted (so long as you don't export) whilst other countries such as UK have completely benign laws - you can sell what you dig up, perfectly legally, within some sensible rules and controls. The regulation in question was enacted by the US government, presumably for bilateral political reasons involving US-Italy relations (no doubt involving export or trades incentives, and possibly with past cases such as the Euainetos Krater used as examples to add negotiating pressure). In the free-trade zone in Europe it would be inconceivable that such regulations could be put in place because there is simply no customs-posts at European borders any more. There's no physical means to regulate coins being distributed around Europe. And I can sort-of understand why Italy asked for this - as I said before it is an easy lazy route that reduces the trouble of realistic and complex control legislation and related policing. Just ask one of the main consuming country to stop imports - easy.

I'm sympathetic as to the position this places US collectors in, but it is less of an issue in Europe. Italy needs much better laws anyway to change incentives away from collecting based on clandestine sources, to collecting based on open sources such as in the UK, but that's not really the issue here. This is about a US trade regulation.
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« Reply #206 on: January 23, 2011, 10:34:18 pm »

If Italy wishes to restrict any exports, whatever they may be, that is Italy's prerogative; but the responsibility for enforcing those restrictions should be an Italian one, enforced by the Italian customs services and not one enforced by the American customs services. I also don't fault the Italian government for requesting this action from the United States on its behalf. I do, however, fault the United States government for agreeing to it. Whether the United States will actually enforce it is another matter (I have my doubts). In any case, the precedent was set several years ago when the U.S. made a similar agreement with Cyprus. I fear the outcome of the MOU request by Greece will be no different.
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« Reply #207 on: January 24, 2011, 01:11:01 am »

Quote from: commodus on January 23, 2011, 10:34:18 pm
If Italy wishes to restrict any exports, whatever they may be, that is Italy's prerogative; but the responsibility for enforcing those restrictions should be an Italian one, enforced by the Italian customs services and not one enforced by the American customs services. I also don't fault the Italian government for requesting this action from the United States on its behalf. I do, however, fault the United States government for agreeing to it. Whether the United States will actually enforce it is another matter (I have my doubts). In any case, the precedent was set several years ago when the U.S. made a similar agreement with Cyprus. I fear the outcome of the MOU request by Greece will be no different.

I fully agree with the sentiments, but on a practical note, trade laws are an EU matter not a national matter, and whilst countries can block individual cultural exports on grounds of national importance, they don't have the legal prerogative to block huge swathes/categories such as "coins". It's all on a case by case basis. Italy can deal with how antiquities are managed within Italy, but not at its borders except by the totally unworkable route of requiring export permits for every single old looking lump of metal. In theory once could seek, and should succeed in obtaining, an export permit for each coin, showing in each case that the coin in question is not a national treasure. In practice, owners drive to San Marino (which is of course a foreign country).

How to fix this? Italy can of course try to enforce its own laws but its own laws are unworkable, having no practical route for found objects to reach the legitimate market, anything except the outcome of a controlled excavation being considered illicit. Yet it still allows coin and antiquity dealing in Italy so there is an element of nonsense in the whole charade.

Faced with this situation Italy had two options (1) either set up a comprehensive and workable system for dealing with antiquities as they come out of the ground, such as in the UK, where so long as you report properly, you retain the right to retain the object, or its value if deemed treasure (according to defined rules that share with landowners etc).  Or (2) ask the US to stop imports. The latter is much the easier solution.

Amazingly the US agreed.
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« Reply #208 on: January 24, 2011, 01:28:20 am »

In practice, of course, such US regulation of the importation of the coins in question can only be partially imposed. I can imagine the bulk buying by dealers, or the purchase of exceptional, well-publicized pieces could be controlled, but when it comes to private individuals bringing into the US one or two of these? Don't tell me the US customs will hereafter examine every coin-purse, wallet, or simply pocket containing small change on the lookout for determined Italian-type coins...
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« Reply #209 on: January 24, 2011, 01:42:57 am »

In practice, of course, such US regulation of the importation of the coins in question can only be partially imposed. I can imagine the bulk buying by dealers, or the purchase of exceptional, well-publicized pieces could be controlled, but when it comes to private individuals bringing into the US one or two of these? Don't tell me the US customs will hereafter examine every coin-purse, wallet, or simply pocket containing small change on the lookout for determined Italian-type coins...

You are absolutely correct: they won't. I as a collector am not at all worried about this affecting items I may buy abroad and bring back. It is dealers who will be more directly affected, though there is plenty of stock for dealers already in the US. Were I a dealer in ancient coins I would be more worried about the impact this would potentially have upon me were I to attend shows abroad or do much overseas purchasing. Few individual US collectors are likely to be directly affected.
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« Reply #210 on: January 24, 2011, 10:43:21 am »

5. Struck colonial coinage—Struck
bronze coins of Roman republican and
early imperial colonies and municipia
in Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia from the
3rd century B.C. to c. A.D. 37.

People are saying this does not include Republican coinage..  It sure seems to by looking at #5.  Perhaps the Caesar of an elephant trampling a serpent would be exempt because it was produced in Gaul (I assume).  But this would seem to cover even imperial issues of Augustus and Tiberius.  Am I reading it wrong?
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« Reply #211 on: January 24, 2011, 10:48:03 am »

...

I think you should have no problems with your AEs grave. You have proof that they left Italy before the 19th January. I own a few "Romano-Campanian’’
with bill of sale ,and the Auction catalogues from which I bought them.No problems for me either.


The initial proposal mentioned it had to be exported prior to the early 1970s and you had to have proof.  Was that changed to Jan 19th 2011?  I assumed they wanted a minimum date so that they could protect their spoils that they looted from Egypt and other places without being hypocrites.

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« Reply #212 on: January 24, 2011, 10:59:49 am »

5. Struck colonial coinage—Struck
bronze coins of Roman republican and
early imperial colonies and municipia
in Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia from the
3rd century B.C. to c. A.D. 37.

People are saying this does not include Republican coinage..  It sure seems to by looking at #5.  Perhaps the Caesar of an elephant trampling a serpent would be exempt because it was produced in Gaul (I assume).  But this would seem to cover even imperial issues of Augustus and Tiberius.  Am I reading it wrong?


Reread it carefully noting especially the terms "colonial coinage" and "struck bronze."
This does not cover general issue coinage at all or any coins made from silver or gold.
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« Reply #213 on: January 24, 2011, 12:10:59 pm »

Screwed again by this government, and you know this is only the first step.

Cameron

Layoff the Fox news hate and fear mongering.  This MOU is a bureaucratic screw up by the well intentioned but ill-informed and nothing else.


I do hope though that no funding is set aside for this.  First, we need to reduce spending on frivolous things. 2nd, the US shouldn't spend any of our tax money so that Italy and Greece can loot things that by large part, don't reasonably belong to them.  As congress prepares for budget discussions, perhaps this is the next step to attack the MOU.


Even if that fails, perhaps we can take solace in how little the government has done to stop fraud in counterfeiting ancient coins.  If they don't have the money or effort to make an impact in that area, odds are their impact at customs will be minimal as well.  They simply don't have the expertise even if they have a desire and funding.  This means they may improperly limit some things the first few years (my concern) while letting others through that are "mislabeled".  Mostly postal customs is Homeland Security and the USDA anyway... isn't it?  We're not even talking about a law here, just a policy.  Just label them "Carthaginian imitation of.." or "Celtic imitation of.." or dumb it way down to "old token from Tunisia" or "old token from France".



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« Reply #214 on: January 24, 2011, 12:24:46 pm »

I'm sympathetic as to the position this places US collectors in, but it is less of an issue in Europe. Italy needs much better laws anyway to change incentives away from collecting based on clandestine sources, to collecting based on open sources such as in the UK, but that's not really the issue here. This is about a US trade regulation.

Yes, but it's one brought in at the request of a European government. Lay the axe to the root, not the shoot, otherwise the problem just grows back again.
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« Reply #215 on: January 24, 2011, 05:43:36 pm »

Screwed again by this government, and you know this is only the first step.

Cameron

Layoff the Fox news hate and fear mongering.  This MOU is a bureaucratic screw up by the well intentioned but ill-informed and nothing else.


I do hope though that no funding is set aside for this.  First, we need to reduce spending on frivolous things. 2nd, the US shouldn't spend any of our tax money so that Italy and Greece can loot things that by large part, don't reasonably belong to them.  As congress prepares for budget discussions, perhaps this is the next step to attack the MOU.


Even if that fails, perhaps we can take solace in how little the government has done to stop fraud in counterfeiting ancient coins.  If they don't have the money or effort to make an impact in that area, odds are their impact at customs will be minimal as well.  They simply don't have the expertise even if they have a desire and funding.  This means they may improperly limit some things the first few years (my concern) while letting others through that are "mislabeled".  Mostly postal customs is Homeland Security and the USDA anyway... isn't it?  We're not even talking about a law here, just a policy.  Just label them "Carthaginian imitation of.." or "Celtic imitation of.." or dumb it way down to "old token from Tunisia" or "old token from France".





I don’t recall FOX News as having anything to do with this, it’s called INCREMENTALISM and its immediate effects will most likely include approval of the Greek request to add coinage to their MOU followed by a host of other countries in the near future requesting the same.
The true effects of this decision will be more apparent 10 years or so down the road. At some point in time coin dealers, auction houses and collectors will be required to properly document their coins from these areas if they wish to sell them.
If this decision was truly made by low level Bureaucrats why did they need to change the status quo now? I wonder what sort of “Quid Pro Quo” was involved?

Cameron

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« Reply #216 on: January 24, 2011, 10:08:29 pm »

I don't think a conspiracy theory is needed.  Looting of archeology sites is a major issue.  Hard embargoes (see elephant/rhino ivory embargo) work.  I personally do not collect ancient artifacts that were not manufactured in the millions and widely because of my concerns around this issue.

To me, the questions are (1) do coins, which I understand are often not found at archeological sites, contribute meaningfully to the looting, and (2) does this have any meaning if Italy still allows trade in these coins to other EU countries?

It's easy to imagine the archeologists advising the regulators saying that cutting off coins will limit the absolute amount of looting.  It's harder to say that the limitations meet criteria above.  If it can be shown that these issues were not considered and reasonably addressed, then the regulation might be considered arbitrary, which is the normal standard for a court to overturn a regulatory decision in the US.

I personally would like to see the regulatory decision making record.
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« Reply #217 on: January 24, 2011, 10:37:17 pm »

5. Struck colonial coinage—Struck
bronze coins of Roman republican and
early imperial colonies and municipia
in Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia from the
3rd century B.C. to c. A.D. 37.

People are saying this does not include Republican coinage..  It sure seems to by looking at #5.  Perhaps the Caesar of an elephant trampling a serpent would be exempt because it was produced in Gaul (I assume).  But this would seem to cover even imperial issues of Augustus and Tiberius.  Am I reading it wrong?


You are (thankfully) reading it wrong. "Roman republican and early imperial" in the above sentence is an adjective qualifying "colonies and municipia". This sentence refers to the local bronze coins of the Italian or Sicilian towns of  Paestum, Vibo Valentia, Panormus etc. which continued until the reign of Tiberius.

It's clear from the reference book cited which is Rutter Historia Numorum Italy. There's no post 212BC mainstream Republican coinage in that book (there are some didrachm coinages, and plenty of coinages of the small towns). Pre-212BC Republican coinage is included in the edict (covered by Rutter HNI).

The argument is that the post 212BC coins coincided with the imperial expansion of the Roman Republican and thus may have been dug up anywhere from Portugal to Lebanon. And indeed many were minted outside Italy.
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« Reply #218 on: January 24, 2011, 10:53:07 pm »

I'm sympathetic as to the position this places US collectors in, but it is less of an issue in Europe. Italy needs much better laws anyway to change incentives away from collecting based on clandestine sources, to collecting based on open sources such as in the UK, but that's not really the issue here. This is about a US trade regulation.

Yes, but it's one brought in at the request of a European government. Lay the axe to the root, not the shoot, otherwise the problem just grows back again.

There's a conundrum Robert. Europe is unaffected. So where is the incentive for Europeans (and specifically Italians who have a say in their government) to do anything about it?

In 2009 I went to an exhibition on returned-looted art in Naples. Very interesting, and indeed most of the exhibits did origin from dug-up tombs etc. (which don't tend to contain coins). I checked from beginning to end of the exhibition and 100% of the returned objects were from
- US museums, or
- Thefts from Italian museums, or
- Excavators caught red-handed at some stage in the process, at the site, shortly after, or at the point of export.

Zero percent were from private collections or the antiquities trade. It appears the police targeted (1) US museums (2) export points (3) criminal tip-offs. They didn't target trade or private collectors (or if they did they were wholly unsuccessful). This reg may be building on their success in targeting exports to the USA.

The Getty and the Met do have to answer for what's happening at the moment - incredibly sloppy acquisition policies allowed them to buy and subsequently have to return many unprovenanced items later proved to have been looted. The Met sold much of its coin collection to buy the Euainitos Krater which then had to be given back.

NB the BM for one has accepted no unprovenanced articles whose origin wasn't known prior to 1970 (UNESCO convention). The Hersh collection of RR assembled mainly in the 1950s just escaped that, and was donated to the museum, doubling the size of its RR collection in 2000 or so, and is well documented on the BM's new website on the subject: http://www.britishmuseum.org/system_pages/holding_area/research/rrc/roman_republican_coins.aspx
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« Reply #219 on: January 25, 2011, 01:20:16 pm »

What would be the proper documentation to have for coins already owned, to allow trade or facilitate circulation if needed. Original receipts are not often that detailed.

Is there something that could be done now to "secure" our collection ?
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« Reply #220 on: January 25, 2011, 01:43:07 pm »

With regard to some earlier observations here, the United States government unfortuantely opened the "repatriation" floodgates some time ago and the fallout is ever increasing (witness the MOU we are now discussing). Stemming this tide, let alone closing those floodgates, is now virtually impossible, it would seem.
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« Reply #221 on: January 25, 2011, 01:46:04 pm »

What would be the proper documentation to have for coins already owned, to allow trade or facilitate circulation if needed. Original receipts are not often that detailed.

Is there something that could be done now to "secure" our collection ?

No coins already in the US are affected by this. This is about restrictions on imports coming into the country, not on items already here.
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« Reply #222 on: January 25, 2011, 02:04:55 pm »


You are (thankfully) reading it wrong. "Roman republican and early imperial" in the above sentence is an adjective qualifying "colonies and municipia". This sentence refers to the local bronze coins of the Italian or Sicilian towns of  Paestum, Vibo Valentia, Panormus etc. which continued until the reign of Tiberius.

It's clear from the reference book cited which is Rutter Historia Numorum Italy. There's no post 212BC mainstream Republican coinage in that book (there are some didrachm coinages, and plenty of coinages of the small towns). Pre-212BC Republican coinage is included in the edict (covered by Rutter HNI).

The argument is that the post 212BC coins coincided with the imperial expansion of the Roman Republican and thus may have been dug up anywhere from Portugal to Lebanon. And indeed many were minted outside Italy.

Thank you for the detailed explanation!
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« Reply #223 on: January 25, 2011, 02:08:42 pm »

Quote from: commodus on January 25, 2011, 01:46:04 pm
No coins already in the US are affected by this. This is about restrictions on imports coming into the country, not on items already here.

yeah, but with the burden of proof on the collector.
i'm just glad i kept all my receipts for all these years, but it looks like i won't be saving too many more!   Angry

disgustedly,
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« Reply #224 on: January 25, 2011, 02:15:37 pm »

Quote from: commodus on January 25, 2011, 01:46:04 pm
No coins already in the US are affected by this. This is about restrictions on imports coming into the country, not on items already here.

yeah, but with the burden of proof on the collector.
i'm just glad i kept all my receipts for all these years, but it looks like i won't be saving too many more!   Angry

disgustedly,
~ Peter

No, this has no bearing on any items already in the United States; there is nothing retroactive about it. This is strictly about items passing through US Customs. Proof of ownership for items already here is not necessary as these are unaffected unless for some reason you carry them out of the country and then return through US Customs with them. For this reason it could have a direct impact on dealers, but only an indirect impact (if any impact at all) on individual collectors. This is strictly about importation of coins into the United States and has nothing whatsoever to do with owning, trading, or selling coins already within U.S. borders. Ownership of the items on the list is not being restricted unless you buy them abroad and bring them across US borders. Again, however, I doubt even that will be seriously enforced, if enforced at all. Besides, it is often difficult to remember to declare every little piece of metal one buys abroad. Don't panic! The sky isn't falling!
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