Featured Renewal of restrictions on coins from Italy - CPAC Meeting

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by 7Triones, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. 7Triones

    7Triones New Member

    Back in 2010, Italy the State Department to restrict importation of ancient coins from Italy. It's time to renew the agreement with Italy. It's time to make your opinions heard. The last agreement didn't cover Roman Republican and Imperial coins. What Italy wants this time is secret.

    The Cultural Property Advisory Committee meets in July. You have a chance to submit comments to the Committee via regulations.gov. The deadline for comments is July 8.

    Further information about the July 22, 2020 Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) meeting and how to comment before the July 8, 2020 deadline can be found here: https://www.federalregister.gov/doc...property-advisory-committee-notice-of-meeting The Federal Register notice also has a green "submit a formal comment button" which should allow you to comment directly.

    The cumulative impact of import restrictions has been very problematical for collectors since outside of some valuable Greek coins, most coins simply lack the document trail necessary for legal import under the “safe harbor” provisions of 19 U.S.C. § 2606. The CPIA only authorizes the government to impose import restrictions on coins and other artifacts first discovered within and subject to the export control of Italy. (19 U.S.C. § 2601). Furthermore, seizure is only appropriate for items on the designated list exported from the State Party after the effective date of regulations. (19 U.S.C. § 2606). Unfortunately, the State Department and Customs view this authority far more broadly. In particular, designated lists have been prepared based on where coins are made and sometimes found, not where they are actually found and hence are subject to export control. Furthermore, restrictions are not applied prospectively solely to illegal exports made after the effective date of regulations, but rather are enforced against any import into the U.S. made after the effective date of regulations, i.e., an embargo, not targeted, prospective import restrictions. While it is true enforcement has been spotty, CPO knows of situations where coins have been detained, seized and repatriated where the importer cannot produce information to prove his or her coins were outside of a country for which import restrictions were granted before the date of restrictions.

    B. What You Can Do

    Admittedly, CPAC seems to be little more than a rubber stamp. Still, to remain silent is to give the cultural bureaucrats and archaeologists with an ax to grind against collectors exactly what they want-- the claim that any restrictions will not be controversial.

    For comments, either comment through the Federal Register notice above or use http://www.regulations.gov, enter the docket [DOS-2020-0022] and follow the prompts to submit your comments. Alternatively, click this link and click on the Blue “Comment Now” Button which should pull up a screen that allows you to comment https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOS_FRDOC_0001-5233 (Please note comments may be posted only UNTIL July 8, 2020 at 11:59 PM.)

    Please also note comments submitted in electronic form are not private. They will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Because the comments cannot be edited to remove any identifying or contact information, the Department of State cautions against including any information in an electronic submission that one does not want publicly disclosed (including trade secrets and commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 2605(i)(1)).

    C. What Should You Say?

    What should you say? Provide a brief, polite explanation about why the renewal should be denied or limited. Question CPAC why it’s necessary to renew this MOU yet again when looting is under control and the real jeopardy to Italy’s cultural patrimony comes from poor stewardship by the Italian State. Indicate how restrictions will negatively impact your business and/or the cultural understanding and people to people contacts collecting provides. Coin collectors should add that it’s typically impossible to assume a particular coin (especially Roman ones) was “first discovered within” and “subject to the export control” of Italy. In fact, by far most Roman Imperial coins are found not in Italy, but on the Empire’s frontiers. You might add that Italian historical coins are very common and widely and legally available for sale elsewhere, and point out the absurdity of restricting coins freely available in Italy itself. Finally, you don’t have to be an American citizen to comment—you just need to be concerned enough to spend twenty or so minutes to express your views on-line. Comments from Italian collectors are particularly welcome!
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  3. QuintupleSovereign

    QuintupleSovereign Well-Known Member

    While we're at it, could someone compel Ebay to permit sales of Cuban coins from the pre-Communist era?
    Bayern, capthank and hotwheelsearl like this.
  4. Aetius

    Aetius Member

    Interesting..has anyone experienced problems buying from Italian auction houses recently? Is it just longer wait due to export license?
  5. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Haven’t Italian auction houses been shipping from Austria, Switzerland or San Marino at times when the government has been uncooperative? I think they are quite used to finding a way there.

    I wrote Massimo at Tintinna when I had been waiting 6 weeks for a coin in feb/march. He answered that the postal service was a mess due to Covid, nothing about export licences.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    Aurelianus, Bayern, ominus1 and 2 others like this.
  6. Scipio

    Scipio New Member

    Just my 2 cents, as an Italian collector. Italy has more antiquities and archeological sites than the whole rest of the world. You could dig almost everywhere and fInd artifacts, coins and remains of buildings centuries and millennia old. There is a special branch of police dedicated only to the cultural heritage law enforcement. So the poor stewardship argument is likely to be reviewed after adequate information. Italian laws on antiquities are very strict; every unearthed ancoent artifact belongs to the State, and if you own one, it’s up to you to give evidence of its legal provenience, otherwise it is seized. In case of export, the Italian State can ask to reimport the items also if they were legally sold abroad. Anyways there is no restrictions to export of ancient items legally owned by individuals or businesses, except for items of particular significance. The agreement with the US Government, as far as I know, includes only specific kind of items (for example cast coins). (Cited from: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/renewal-of-restrictions-on-coins-from-italy-cpac-meeting.362358/)
    PeteB likes this.
  7. Burton Strauss III

    Burton Strauss III Well-Known Member


    eBay is a private company - how they choose to interpret the laws is between them & their lawyers (and the government if they are found to have violated the law).

    Don't like it? Start your own company and hire your own lawyers...
  8. QuintupleSovereign

    QuintupleSovereign Well-Known Member

    Umm, no. In conversations I've had with Ebay customer service, they have freely admitted that pre-Revolutionary coinage does not fall under the embargo but that Ebay simply bans all Cuban merchandise of any sort as a blunt enforcement tool.
    Bayern and Nathan B. like this.
  9. Burton Strauss III

    Burton Strauss III Well-Known Member

    When you engage the lawyer for a question like this the question they ask you back is "what level of risk are you willing to accept". If the answer is none then the lawyer will tell you don't list anything Cuban.

    If fleabay had said no more than $100,000 fine, the answer would have been different.
  10. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    This statement is not entirely correct. The last agreement impacted Roman Republican coins produced before 211 BCE (effectively all pre-denarius coinage). I'd bet that the Italian government has asked to expand that scope.

    One thing I'd suggest in submitting comments - use your own words to argue that the requirements of the statute are not met by Italy's request with respect to coins. While I understand that the ACCG is attempting to make it easier for people to comment, I'm sure CPAC's collective eyes glaze over when they read the same verbiage over and over in every coin related comment (e.g. "people to people contacts"). I don't disagree with the arguments, but parroting the same arguments word-for-word seems counter-productive. Copy and paste only if you'll not otherwise spend the time to comment.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  11. Burton Strauss III

    Burton Strauss III Well-Known Member

    Nobody in this proceeding actually cares about coin collectors. The agreement is designed to make it difficult or impossible to profit from looting Italian archeological heritage sites.

    Your comments along any collecting lines get dumped into the non-responsive category (worse if they are boilerplate).

    You could make a much more cogent argument that over-broad regulations are causing local sellers to get around the hurdle by shipping from neighboring countries not covered by the agreement.

    And this is having an effect opposite than the one intended: Once you are already breaking the law for a legal 200 BCE coin, what is the added risk for a 222 BCE Illegal coin?

    US Customs can't easily tell the difference, so bright lines become the norm "No old coins from Italy".
  12. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    Done. I went for a different approach, calling out the AIA's unfair influence on the committee and also the Marxist (hence un-American) underpinnings of historical materialism, which I believe is the foundation of all this ridiculous nonsense about State ownership of the past. I also mentioned that the MOU's don't work, and are just a quid pro quo for archaeologists to get permits and further their careers. Finally, I mentioned two professors, Sarah Parcak (Alabama) and Erin Thompson (CUNY) who are strong advocates against looting archaeological sites. What you all might find interesting is that both professors recently posted instructions online that show American rioters how to destroy US cultural property.

    How do I see other comments? I can't seem to get any to load.
  13. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    I think you misunderstand the law since you seem to be focusing on coins shipped from Italy.

    This agreement has nothing to do whatsoever with what country an item is shipped from, just that it is coming to the US from somewhere outside the US. This agreement treats an Italian coin shipped from Italy exactly the same as one shipped from Canada.

    Italy has its own regulations as well but Italian regulations are not being discussed here, in fact it is entirely possible to buy coins in Italy legally that do not meet the criteria that the US is being asked to impose on imports.
  14. Burton Strauss III

    Burton Strauss III Well-Known Member

    I understand full well, it is an agreement between USCBP and the Italian government (some agency).

    Without it, once the coins escape from Italy it would basically be so sad too bad. Italian government would have to sue in US court and show by a preponderance of evidence that in fact the coins were looted.

    With the agreement USCBP is supposed to seize them administratively.

    Because of this, coins coming from Italy get more scrutiny. Which is why Italian sellers post them from other countries.
  15. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    Right, and those Italian regulations prohibit export without a permit. So, why not let the Italian government enforce their EXPORT regulations at their own expense, rather than making U.S. taxpayers pay for IMPORT restrictions and enforcement. The $$ we spend on this nonsense could be used for PPE, vaccine research, public education, and other useful endeavors.

    Incidentally, I've never had an export license denied when buying coins from Italian sellers, suggesting that common ancient coins aren't really the targets of the Italian government either, except as a source of application fees.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    fomovore, Volodya, PeteB and 3 others like this.
  16. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    I totally agree with these sentiments, Nick. However, I think the CPAC would consider this line of argument off topic. They aren't supposed to be concerned with underlying motivations of the lobbyists or the members of their committee. Their focus is (or should be) whether the proposal meets the statutory framework.
    Nicholas Molinari likes this.
  17. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    Yeah, probably. But I want them to know how I feel about the opposition (and some of the committee) and the whole predicament, all things considered. Someone else can write more intelligently about the legal aspects—unfortunately, I don’t think they really care, because the AIA has an unfair advantage.

    NB: I have 300 “undocumented” ancient coins arriving this week, legally exported from Austria, and they just got clearance through customs. I’m going to sit and just stare at the pile for awhile.
    Mat, PeteB, Alegandron and 1 other person like this.
  18. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  19. Scipio

    Scipio New Member

    Again, the export permit you talk about does not exist for the most of the cases. The point is the risk of illegal acquisition, wherever it happens. But if you like to Keep discussing about an alternative reality, pls go on.
  20. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
    fomovore, ycon and Scipio like this.
  21. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Sorry about the political stuff, I’ll delete it.
    The tweet Nicholas refered to was a statue of Columbus, btw.
    I agree with your assessment of the statues you mention. I don’t think that would make it legal for me to break them, however.
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