Classical Numismatics Discussion
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. All Items Purchased From Forum Ancient Coins Are Guaranteed Authentic For Eternity!!! Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! Expert Authentication - Accurate Descriptions - Reasonable Prices - Coins From Under $10 To Museum Quality Rarities Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Internet Challenged? We Are Happy To Take Your Order Over The Phone 252-646-1958 Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! Support Our Efforts To Serve The Classical Numismatics Community - Shop At Forum Ancient Coins!!!

Recent Additions to Forum's Shop


Author Topic: Antiquity Laws  (Read 17432 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline nogoodnicksleft

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
Antiquity Laws
« on: December 09, 2009, 12:12:32 am »
Hi

I got a bit carried away yesterday in Jordan and purchase 40 small bronze coins from one the local shops, the shop keeper advised me to split them up into smaller batches and put them into different places before going through customs. Now I'm wondering if I might have some problems at the airport. The coins are to my untrained eye all low grade quality mostly ae4 in size and cost around £2.50 each and unlikely to ever be put in a museum. Does anybody have a similar experiences in this matter ?

Cheers

Offline Sap

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 114
  • It's already tomorrow in Australia.
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 03:07:44 am »
Jordanian law, as is the case with most Mediterranean countries these days, doesn't care how "common" or "poor condition" the coins are; if they're genuine coins older than 1700 AD, they're "movable antiquities", and the Antiquities Law applies. While private ownership of ancient coins is legal in Jordan, the acts of buying, selling and exporting them are all illegal. Click here for the English language version of the laws in question; see particularly Articles 23 and 24.

The chances of getting caught, however, are another story. I have no idea how well-trained the border guards are; presumably well-trained enough to spot the difference between genuine coins and the tourist fakes the street hawkers more commonly sell.

If they actually did catch you, the penalty is 2 months to 2 years in the Jordanian slammer (Article 28-i). Personally, it's not something I'd be willing to risk.
I'll have to learn Latin someday.

Offline areich

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 8715
    • Ancient Greek and Roman Coins, featuring BMC online and other books
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 03:20:24 am »
If you've already bought them, mail them to yourself without any return address, that's what I would do.
No matter how small the chances of being caught are, if it's illegal and it's one of 'those' countries,
I wouldn't take the risk.

Andreas
Andreas Reich

Offline commodus

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Deceased Member
  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 3299
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 12:27:35 pm »
Regardless of what has been said above, mailing them is the only viable option. Enclose no return address nor, in fact, anything but the coins themselves. Personally, I'd mail them in several different envelopes sent from different postal collection boxes. This will minimize the chance that ALL the coins will end up being confiscated if the mail is opened. I would also wait until as close to the date I leave the country as possible to mail them. This way you'll be gone before they are. Obviously, the Jordanian government is not going to extradite you if they do find the coins. Indeed there would be no evidence of who mailed them. They have bigger fish to fry than this.
Yes, this "breaks the law." Whatever. Better to do that and at least have a shot at receiving the coins than to abandon them there. And far better than risking getting detained or worse for trying to carry them out in person. At least this way you have a reasonable chance at keeping them, or at least some of them.
Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)

Offline nogoodnicksleft

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 01:32:13 pm »
Thank you for your replies.

There is a chance in the near future that I maybe working in the middle-east region again, and any criminal convictions or even a black mark against my name might effect this, therefore under the circumstances I won't take the risk of taking them out personally nor even by posting them.  I think what I'll do is visit the department of antiquities tomorrow and explain the situation and see if they will given me an export certificate or something, if not I will simply hand them in to the DOA to dispose of how they see fit.


Offline areich

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 8715
    • Ancient Greek and Roman Coins, featuring BMC online and other books
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 02:04:27 pm »
In that case I'd take no risk at all. If it was not a trivial amount you might try taking them back
and getting a significant part of your money back.
Andreas Reich

Offline commodus

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Deceased Member
  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 3299
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2009, 05:34:21 pm »
I agree with Andreas. Mailing them isn't much of a risk. Indeed, the only real risk there is that they might not get to you. However, I can't imagine that going to the authorities there is going to do anything but potentially open a pandora's box of hassles. Better to try to get your money back or swap them for something that won't present a problem if taken out of the country.

Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)

Offline cmcdon0923

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1026
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2009, 09:35:14 pm »
Unfortunately, this is a lesson in "caveat emptor", but I think some of the responsibility for this falls on the dealer that sold you the coins.  I assume from your posting that you are obviously (i.e., "visibly") not of Jordanian descent.  If so, since he told you to mail them, he is advocating that you break Jordanian law in attempting to mail them out of the country.

So if you decide to try and return them to him and he declines, perhaps telling him that you'll be turning them over to the Department of Antiquities, and will also inform them that he knowingly sold them to you as a non-national and recommended a way to circumvent their national antiquities laws.

Offline Salem Alshdaifat

  • Procurator Caesaris
  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1215
  • I am coincoholic ,I need help plzzzzz.
    • http://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/athena_numismatics
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2009, 11:07:05 pm »
you are allowed to call the minstry of toursim, they will alow you to carry around 25 coins, I called once to a friend who came with me to visit Jordan, he bought from a kid in petra some coins, and they allowed them out since they were commen not Gold and not antiques or big quintaty.
be honest in the Air port and tell them that you bought themse coins from a tourist area and would like to get them out with you, the worset case if the Sicurity dosent know the laws they will take them and this way yu will be clear .
best
Salem

Offline Andrew McCabe

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
    • My website on Roman Republican Coins and Books, with 2000 coins arranged per Crawford
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2009, 03:00:22 am »
Unfortunately, this is a lesson in "caveat emptor", but I think some of the responsibility for this falls on the dealer that sold you the coins.  I assume from your posting that you are obviously (i.e., "visibly") not of Jordanian descent.  If so, since he told you to mail them, he is advocating that you break Jordanian law in attempting to mail them out of the country.

So if you decide to try and return them to him and he declines, perhaps telling him that you'll be turning them over to the Department of Antiquities, and will also inform them that he knowingly sold them to you as a non-national and recommended a way to circumvent their national antiquities laws.

I don't know what to say to this. We are all coin collectors on this list. We know that all our coins originate in Jordan Turkey and Mediterranean countries. We are secretly grateful for those un-named faceless people who, despite inane antiquities laws that prevent trade in common coins that are of absolutely no value or interest to any museum, help bring the coins to us. Now we can put an name and a face on that person and you are advocating threatening him with severe legal action? "Knowingly sold them to you" sounds as if you are describing selling alcohol and tobacco to a minor, and even then I think the kid would be 60% to blame. I would not even suggest to the seller that you might contact DoA. What sort of impression does that leave about doing good-faith transactions, together with free advice, with a foreigner? Don't blame the seller, it could rebound in surprisingly bad ways on you. The guy was doing a favour, both for the transaction, which you wanted, and for the advice, which you wanted! Respect him for that.

As for the follow-up, I'd advocate the middle ground. The replies from commodus more or less summarise my views. Whilst I have sympathy with the suggestion from salem (I lived in the middle east, and it's an environment where if you fess up, shrug shoulders and smile, they easily take sympathy) I wouldnt suggest it  with 25 coins which might seem "commercial quantities" (what if Salem was wrong in this case) nor go with going to the department of antiquities which could cause much more trouble than you expect. Perhaps bring 6 or 7 nicer ones in your luggage loose amongst your other small change and post the remainder. You could use "tourist buys" - with a smile please - as the excuse for the small amount if questioned. If you are not cool with posting the remainder in unmarked padded envelopes (perhaps distributed amongst a couple of addresses if you are paranoid about a "pattern" being noticed), then just give them to the maid who does your cleaning as a tip. She will sell them to the next visitor and thus provide a double benefit to the Jordanian economy. And the coins will still end up in a collection somewhere.

In fact, if you are really worried, just give them all to the maid. Think of it as a dumb-tourist-tax and be grateful that Jordan has shared its archaeological wonders with you and allowed you temporary custodianship of some of its coins.

I once, by accident, brought several coins to Tunisia and from Tunisia without even realising it. They were in my wallet before I flew to Tunisia where I had picked them up from the post office a few days previously. Not being aware of them, I was totally cool with "illegally" re-exporting them from Tunisia.

Offline Sap

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 114
  • It's already tomorrow in Australia.
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2009, 03:31:58 am »
Quote from: Future Man on December 09, 2009, 09:13:44 am
In what other countries is this an issue?  And what of buying coins 'here' that originated 'there'?

Most Mediterranean countries have similar such laws: Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus... virtually anywhere that once had an ancient civilization.

It's probably easier to list countries where the laws aren't as strict: trade in ancient coins is legal (though perhaps with some restrictions on high-volume or valuable items) in Bulgaria, Russia, Libya, France, Germany, Spain and Britain.

If you're travelling anywhere and plan on purchasing authentic ancient artefacts to bring them home with you, it's always a good idea to research their antiquities laws before you go.

As for bringing them home with you: I'm assuming you live in the US.  Ancient coins which originally came from Cyprus or China are currently prohibited from import, whether you're actually importing them from those countries or not (though Wayne Sayles and ACCG are currently testing this in the courts), and modern coins from pariah states such as Sudan and Cuba are also restricted. Anything else is OK.

If you're talking about purchasing coins from a dealer on your own home soil, there are no restrictions whatsoever; the laws of Greece, Jordan or anywhere else are not binding outside their borders, and "breaking" them while outside their borders is not a crime. However, as CNG found out with the confiscation a year or two ago of an "EID MAR denarius" they had for sale, if a foreign government has credible proof that a coin was "stolen" and illegally smuggled out of a country, your own country's laws against international criminals can be invoked.
I'll have to learn Latin someday.

Offline mwilson603

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1235
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2009, 04:40:15 am »
We know that all our coins originate in Jordan Turkey and Mediterranean countries.

Maybe I am being slightly pedantic Andrew, however, many are found outside of these areas.  In fact, many that I have were minted in London (England), Siscia (Croatia), Trier (Germany) and many countries outside of the ones that you state all coins originated in.  Many more are found in countries not covered by your statement above.  Not all of these countries have the same laws.
regards
Mark

Offline Andrew McCabe

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
    • My website on Roman Republican Coins and Books, with 2000 coins arranged per Crawford
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2009, 05:03:34 am »
We know that all our coins originate in Jordan Turkey and Mediterranean countries.

Maybe I am being slightly pedantic Andrew, however, many are found outside of these areas.  In fact, many that I have were minted in London (England), Siscia (Croatia), Trier (Germany) and many countries outside of the ones that you state all coins originated in.  Many more are found in countries not covered by your statement above.  Not all of these countries have the same laws.
regards
Mark

Possibly.

All I was trying to say was "don't accuse the sellers of breaking laws" when you go to a country with restrictive laws and then choose to buy coins (or indeed when you buy coins minted in a country with restrictive laws, even if the purchases were indirect). We buy these coins by choice.

Offline Abu Galyon

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • Change we can believe in.
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2009, 05:15:25 am »

We are all coin collectors on this list. We know that all our coins originate in Jordan Turkey and Mediterranean countries. We are secretly grateful for those un-named faceless people who, despite inane antiquities laws that prevent trade in common coins that are of absolutely no value or interest to any museum, help bring the coins to us.

Pella in Jordan is a hugely interesting site, a Decapolis city but with occupation levels going back to the Middle Bronze Age. Important too for early Christian history, since it is the place the Jerusalem congregation fled to during the Jewish War of 66CE - and they largely remained there afterwards.

A few years ago when I was in Jordan, I paid an out-of-season visit to Pella – and by ‘out-of-season’ I mean ‘when the University of Sydney wasn’t digging there.’  Although the Australian archaeologists weren’t around, about a dozen local men were. And a significant unexcavated portion of the site was being destroyed as they searched for coins, lamps and other small finds which they could sell on to dealers.

I actually don’t blame the looters much. Jordan is an impoverished country and people do what they must to make a living and get by. Other neighbouring countries are rich in oil and minerals; Jordan is poor in those but rich in archaeological sites, and I’m not surprised that local villagers are tempted to treat these sites as a source of income.   

And because Jordan isn’t wealthy and because there are large numbers of ancient sites, it’s not really possible to provide the security you’d need to prevent looting. The Jordanian Department of Antiquities spends more than half its (meagre) annual budget on the country’s big two tourist attractions, Petra and Jerash. Everywhere else hardly gets a look in. 

I don’t suppose the situation at Pella is unique. Finding ‘common coins that are of absolutely no value or interest to any museum’ often destroys a lot of vital archaeological information. I can understand why many archaeologists hate the antiquities trade and wish that it could be completely banned. I understand also why nearly every country where antiquities are found has laws in place prohibiting their export, though these are very hard to enforce. I don’t regard these laws as ‘inane’.

As a collector I surely benefit from new finds and new extra supplies of coins coming onto the market. But I deeply, deeply wish that the trade in antique coins was organised differently. 

Bill R

Offline Andrew McCabe

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
    • My website on Roman Republican Coins and Books, with 2000 coins arranged per Crawford
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2009, 05:47:44 am »
As a collector I surely benefit from new finds and new extra supplies of coins coming onto the market. But I deeply, deeply wish that the trade in antique coins was organised differently. 

I agree. Along the lines of the UK scheme, where so long as you report properly via the portable antiquities scheme, you can legally retain ownership.

Finding ‘common coins that are of absolutely no value or interest to any museum’ often destroys a lot of vital archaeological information. I can understand why many archaeologists hate the antiquities trade and wish that it could be completely banned. I understand also why nearly every country where antiquities are found has laws in place prohibiting their export, though these are very hard to enforce. I don’t regard these laws as ‘inane’.

I agree and understand all except the last sentence. I think the laws are inane because laws that criminalise ancient objects in a blanket manner seems to cause those night-time digs. Laws (such as UK) that legalise them, seem to cause proper reporting and control.

I know it is a lot more complex and we should probably avoid discussing such a complex subject on this list. That' why I say "seem to" in the prior paragraph because the cause and effect are more complex.

Collector's should maybe sometimes ask themselves however, how did my coins arrive in my coin collection if their origin was in countries that prohibit export/ownership? We are kidding ourselves if we believe that all coins came from a controlled excavation accompanied by an export certificate. Some come from old collections, pre-1970, but the majority, at some point or other, probably were exported in contravention to some law or other. We just don't know.

I do however think it is appropriate to take a position about how sensible the laws are. I don't want to damage any archaeological context so I am very supportive of laws that achieve that aim in the most sensible way. And it seems that restrictive laws don't work so well.

I don't think it is wise to blame individual sellers in the source countries (which was what started this discussion). Every coin any of us owned probably came through such sellers at some point or other.

Offline mwilson603

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1235
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2009, 06:02:02 am »
I think the point is that collectors (with really just a very few exceptions) who pretend that all their coins are perfectly legal are lying to themselves and others.
Possibly.

All I was trying to say was "don't accuse the sellers of breaking laws" when you go to a country with restrictive laws and then choose to buy coins (or indeed when you buy coins minted in a country with restrictive laws, even if the purchases were indirect). We buy these coins by choice.
In that case I missed the point and agree with the sentiments expressed.  I guess as most, if not all, of my coins were uncovered in the UK, or western Europe, I hadn't thought of it like that before.
regards
Mark

Offline Paleologo

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 190
  • nulla die sine nummo.
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2009, 08:33:47 am »
Along the lines of the UK scheme, where so long as you report properly via the portable antiquities scheme, you can legally retain ownership.
 came through such sellers at some point or other.

Andrew, I would like to understand better the rationale behind the p.a.s., because whenever this kind of discussion is started in Italy it is always mentioned as the non plus ultra in terms of regulation of the subject matter. It appears to me that it is mainly aimed at occasional finds and possibly non-destructive searching (i.e. metal detector). I also kind of understand that the area of the find can be put off limits for further "independent" searching if something especially relevant is found. Could you please clarify these aspects? I think we (in Italy) often misunderstand the subject, and think (or sometimes wish) that one could go to a potential archeosite with a caterpillar.

Also, I would like to stress the fact that strict rules about antiquities have been brought about (sometimes as early as the end of 19th c.) because of the digs, not the other way round. I anyway agree that have been often inane, in the sense of unable to prevent looting. If you can read Italian, the one below could be an interesting reading. The author is a Rome newspaper journalist, not strictly an insider or a fanatic, as far as I know. The title translates into something like "Raiders of lost Art. The looting of archeology in Italy".
Caminante, no hay camino
Se hace camino al andar

Offline Andrew McCabe

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
    • My website on Roman Republican Coins and Books, with 2000 coins arranged per Crawford
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2009, 09:19:23 am »
Andrew, I would like to understand better the rationale behind the p.a.s., because whenever this kind of discussion is started in Italy it is always mentioned as the non plus ultra in terms of regulation of the subject matter. It appears to me that it is mainly aimed at occasional finds and possibly non-destructive searching (i.e. metal detector). I also kind of understand that the area of the find can be put off limits for further "independent" searching if something especially relevant is found. Could you please clarify these aspects? I think we (in Italy) often misunderstand the subject, and think (or sometimes wish) that one could go to a potential archeosite with a caterpillar.

Also, I would like to stress the fact that strict rules about antiquities have been brought about (sometimes as early as the end of 19th c.) because of the digs, not the other way round. I anyway agree that have been often inane, in the sense of unable to prevent looting. If you can read Italian, the one below could be an interesting reading. The author is a Rome newspaper journalist, not strictly an insider or a fanatic, as far as I know. The title translates into something like "Raiders of lost Art. The looting of archeology in Italy".

So this is a dead complex subject even to start talking about, and I am NOT an expert, but I will tell you what I know.

I'm currently reading "The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums". I find it quite balanced and factual to the extent that it deals with one specific route, exactly as described in the title. "From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums". Specifically that. There was a major problem with that specific route (Getty Museum etc), and it seems now to be more or less fixed. None of the "World's Greatest Museums" are anymore acquiring illicitly gained art, and much has been given back.

The book does not address "collectables" of low value and very large quantity that end up in private collections. Nor does it address scattered site finds or lost objects by metal dectorists. Such have quite different origins. In the case of site finds from ploughed fields or the sides of Roman roads, they usually have zero archaeological information except the sole fact of the geographic location that they were found, and what other material was found at the same place. Preservation of information from such finds mainly demands that the find location be known - that's all. When it comes to coin hoards, bearing in mind that 95% of hoards were hidden OUTSIDE a residence, the only significant information one gets is geographic. Midden heaps: more or less the same applies. It's interesting to know which midden heap a buckle or coin comes from, but archaeologists generally (there are exceptions) don't do stratified excavations on such.

It may be difficult to figure what point I am making. It is that the great majority of ancient coins originate from locations where the only relevant information to an archaeologist is the geographic coordinates. They are 95% not inside houses or temples when they are found. Coins are found in excavations and can help to date them but most coins are found in hoards buried in fields, beside roads, in marketplace areas etc.

In this context, criminalising the finding, keeping and sale of such finds only causes the useful information - geography, and other finds at the same place - to be lost. It has no impact, positive or negative, on the Getty museum acquisitoins of rare large high-quality pottery or sculptures, as such rarities are not generally found hidden by themselves in a field (as a hoard is), nor by a roadside or marketplace areas (except maybe in very small fragments).

The PAS is indeed aimed at occasional finds and metal detecting. It is throwing up enormous amounts of information about trade patterns and movements of coinage and people (specially troops) and is enabling the users of this information to draw very new conclusions about Roman Britain. It is not aimed at large controlled excavations at palaces or forts to tombs. In principal, Italy could introduce a PAS without in any way weakening its control over archaeological sites, because the PAS is aimed at locations which are not controlled sites. It adds to information without increasing risk to controlled sites.

I visited Naples during the summer (it was far too hot..) and my photos of the trip can be found here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahala_rome/sets/72157621933264382/detail/

Of specific relevence to this posting was the exhibit in the Palazzo Reale on recovered works of art. It had perhaps 100 high-end artworks, most famous being the following, rather badly photographed behind glass:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahala_rome/3785570312/

I was virtually the only visitor to the exhibit in the hour or so I spent there but was interested in the subject from having recently browsed "The Medici Conspiracy" that I mention above. The book starts with the rather well known story of the Euphronios krater that I last saw in New York in January 2008, and since returned to Italy. The protection of antiquities is a complex issue, but a few observations from my visit were that

(1) the art works displayed were all top-notch
(2) there were prominent Italian Police antiquities division placards in every room, but no commentary at all by which process the artworks left Italy, or by which they were then returned. It left perhaps a deliberate impression that this was some enterprising sleuthing, and more of the same would unearth an equally large haul. Certainly there was no discussion at all on merits of different approaches to protecting our ancient patrimony whether by public or private means.
(3) Without being an exact count, rather tellingly about 60% of the displayed artworks were from American museums (mostly JP Getty, some Met, some MFA Boston), all cited as originating from "illegal excavations", and the remaining 40% were recorded as stolen from Italian museums! In otherwise just about everything (excuse me if I missed some pieces) was in a citable museum collection at some point.

The 100% of the items on display at the exhibit came from museums leads me to two conclusions. The first is that presumably now they lock the doors of the Italian museums against egress, and of American museums against ingress, then if museums are the target then the problem should now be fixed. I doubt JP Getty will acquire any more such works.

The second is that this exhibition says (literally) nothing whatsoever about the academic merits, educational benefits or otherwise of private ownership, what sorts of museums should hold pieces that are in public ownership and what is the best way to protect (in the broadest sense) mankind's patrimony. It was a very interesting exhibit but missed a chance for a much wider exploration of some interesting issues.

Consider what I just said again. 100% of the items on display at the exhibit came from museums at some point. None at all came from private collectors without at least having been in a museum at some point.

That's a striking point. And it is not unrelated to the earlier points I made about coins being generally found in different locations to vases and statues. The Italian police have been focussed on tomb-raiders and looters of major archaeological sites - both of which they could protect better with a fence and a watchman.

Yet the legislation which affects the vast majority of collectors of coins is aimed at finds in fields and roadsides and marketplaces, causes these finds not to be recorded, stops collectors meaningfully contributing to historical science by their study, and has no impact on the separate issue of locking the doors of museums and protecting archaeological sites. It is simply perverse. In order to prevent the theft of items from known major sites, rather than protect the sites, these impediments to collecting / trade / lack of a PAS serve only to add further damage to scientific information from other locations, whilst not reducing that caused to existing major sites.

The results are telling: What do we know about ancient Italian monetary circulation from records of site finds? With the exception of Pompeii, not a lot. What do we know about England? A ton of information.

It is perverse.

In all the above I should make clear that it is a layman's view. I have neither a commercial nor professional role in the subject.

regards
Andrew

Offline cmcdon0923

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1026
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2009, 11:20:33 am »
Quote
We know that all our coins originate in Jordan Turkey and Mediterranean countries. We are secretly grateful for those un-named faceless people who, despite inane antiquities laws that prevent trade in common coins that are of absolutely no value or interest to any museum, help bring the coins to us. Now we can put an name and a face on that person and you are advocating threatening him with severe legal action?

I'm not debating the point that some/many ancient coins have been, and continue to be, removed from their countries or origin/discovery under "less than legal" circumstances.  I was not trying to address that.  My point was that the dealer sold him the coins and then suggested a way to break laws that the dealer knew perfectky well, were in effect.  Since this dealer seems to have no respect for his own country's laws, then being "secretly grateful" to him seems that you advocate the illegal removal of these items from the country.

According to others here, Jordan does have a process for legally removing coins or other antiquities from their country.  But this dealer was blatanly suggesting a way to circumvent these laws.  So should I be thankful for the guy on the street corner who offers to sell me a Rolex, removed from its previous owner's home under "less than legal" circumstances?

Offline PeterD

  • Procurator Caesaris
  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1462
  • omnium curiositatum explorator
    • Historia
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2009, 11:31:02 am »
Just to clear up any misunderstanding:

The PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) is a completely voluntary scheme for objects found that fall outside the Treasure Act (that's to say, in the case of coins, single gold or silver coins or up to nine bronze coins). The finds are recorded in a database which is on-line http://www.finds.org.uk/  Find-spots are recorded but shown with reduced accuracy on the public site.

It is the Treasure Act (law) 1996 that has the teeth. It allows finders who correctly report their finds to either to receive market value for their finds or if not wanted by any museum, to have their finds returned to them. This also allows archeologists to search the find-spot for other artefacts and to determine that the site contains no permanent remains.

Of course, taking objects from a known archeological site is illegal and metal detectorists must have permission of the landowner before searching on their land. The importance for the problem of illegal digging is that under the new law the location of the site can be made reasonably secret and protected if neccessary. And the knowledge that a site has been comprehensively search would tend to deter any illegal diggers.
Peter, London

Historia: A collection of coins with their historical context https://www.forumancientcoins.com/historia

Offline cliff_marsland

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 827
  • O Sulla, please save us from fools and villains.
    • My gallery
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2009, 12:07:24 pm »
I would take great pride in disobeying authoritarian laws.  They were made to be broken (per John Locke).  I would mail it out in several batches, if there wasn't any other way.

Offline aragon6

  • Comitia Curiata
  • Praetorian
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Violent times..yet the beauty they created is here
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2009, 12:12:44 pm »
In Mexico a gent was arrested and put in jail for picking up a small piece of nondescript stone on a path leading up to some ruins.  Put in jail, had to pay a big fine in the end.  The law is the law whether we like it or not and some countries are rather harsh with punishment so I would really really think twice.  It is not the US of A, or Canada either.

Offline Paleologo

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 190
  • nulla die sine nummo.
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2009, 12:17:59 pm »
Thanks to Andrew and Peter for the clarifications. I don't completely agree with the conclusions, in particular to the applicability of a PAS-like system to Italy, mainly because (to our good or bad luck) this is a place where if you dig a hole in the ground you get close to 100% chance of finding something ancient. Setting up a PAS would require a lot of decentralized, careful, stubborn maintenance work while heritage funding seems almost invariably to flow into those few, highlighted events. And, to be honest, I have no guarantee that the liberalization of antiques ownership and trade would not spark a "free-for-all" assault on whatever is (or might be) still underground. Please consider that what is told by "The Medici Connection" and, to some extent, also by Isman's book is just the peak of the iceberg. Estimations (don't know how recent) are that a few thousand, maybe 10.000 people in Italy make a living out of illegally excavating and selling exactly the kind of artifacts that would be addressed by the PAS. This reminds me of the argument pro/con liberalizing drugs: it is possible that the long term result is stabilization of the phenomenon to a more acceptable (lower) level, but who knows what would happen during the transition period, and how long would this period last? In any case, thank you very much again for spending your time to elaborate on this.

Regards, P.  :)
Caminante, no hay camino
Se hace camino al andar

Offline Andrew McCabe

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
    • My website on Roman Republican Coins and Books, with 2000 coins arranged per Crawford
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2009, 12:30:22 pm »
Just to clear up any misunderstanding:

The PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) is a completely voluntary scheme for objects found that fall outside the Treasure Act (that's to say, in the case of coins, single gold or silver coins or up to nine bronze coins). The finds are recorded in a database which is on-line http://www.finds.org.uk/  Find-spots are recorded but shown with reduced accuracy on the public site.

It is the Treasure Act (law) 1996 that has the teeth. It allows finders who correctly report their finds to either to receive market value for their finds or if not wanted by any museum, to have their finds returned to them. This also allows archeologists to search the find-spot for other artefacts and to determine that the site contains no permanent remains.

Of course, taking objects from a known archeological site is illegal and metal detectorists must have permission of the landowner before searching on their land. The importance for the problem of illegal digging is that under the new law the location of the site can be made reasonably secret and protected if neccessary. And the knowledge that a site has been comprehensively search would tend to deter any illegal diggers.

Unlike me, Peter certainly IS an expert on the issue (I've read many knowledgeable postings from him before). So please defer to Peter rather than me for detailed understanding of UK issues.

Offline Andrew McCabe

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
    • My website on Roman Republican Coins and Books, with 2000 coins arranged per Crawford
Re: Antiquity Laws
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2009, 12:38:20 pm »
I don't completely agree with the conclusions, in particular to the applicability of a PAS-like system to Italy, mainly because (to our good or bad luck) this is a place where if you dig a hole in the ground you get close to 100% chance of finding something ancient. Setting up a PAS would require a lot of decentralized, careful, stubborn maintenance work while heritage funding seems almost invariably to flow into those few, highlighted events.

Fair point. I don't have an answer to it, other than to say that the current system is broke as far as numismatic research is concerned. Practically nothing gets reported.

How many site accumulations or hoards of Republican era bronzes can I cite? Two that I can think of. Silver hoards get reported because they occur en-masse and are attention-grabbing, bronze finds do not. As a result we really don't have a clue as to dating bronzes between 210-50BC. Yet the coins keep on turning up, ebay.it is full of recent uncleaned finds of such coins. The situation in the UK is so much better as regards such information.

I'll live with anything that works. Anything. Even completely sealing the border and checking every letter. But I rather suspect that liberalisation will have more success than tighter laws. I don't have proof though, and Paleologo raises concerns that I cannot really answer.

 

All coins are guaranteed for eternity