Ancient Coin Collectors Appeal Dismissal of Baltimore Test Case

Sep 26, 2011, 12:09 ET from Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG)

GAINESVILLE, Mo., Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On September 20th, the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) filed an appeal of Circuit Court Judge Catherine Blake's dismissal of a test case that sought to remove restrictions on the importation of common ancient coins from China and Cyprus. Ironically, these coins can be legally imported in all nations except the United States. Judge Blake determined that her court did not have review authority over the unpopular and arguably extralegal State Department decisions and Customs and Border Protection regulations. ACCG ( will question that opinion before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

Legally, import restrictions can be imposed only on coins found within those countries in modern times—not on the many coins that have survived for centuries in collections and dealers' stocks around the world. Extralegal restrictions, like those being challenged, place an unfair and repressive burden on American collectors, researchers, and businesses as well as foreign trade. The international market for collector coins is more than 600-years-old.

Overly restrictive import regulations clearly have an adverse effect on American businesses trying to maintain a competitive edge in a difficult global economy. Jobs are at risk as a result and the suppression of independent American research will hinder scholarly exchanges with the very countries that these import restrictions claim to be helping. Most private research is conducted at no cost to the government and without external funding of any kind. Independent scholars carry out this work in their free time for their love of the subject and interest in ancient cultures. Private collectors do much to promote these cultures and to foster friendly relationships with people around the world.

In formal comment during recent State Department hearings of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC), the public has overwhelmingly opposed such restrictions, often citing them as draconian. Objections were also received by CPAC from international numismatic organizations that fear their own country's economic problems will result in poorer stewardship of ancient coins and lead to widespread neglect of state-funded academic research in this area.

It is widely believed that the looting of archaeological sites, cited as the impetus for such restrictions, will not be reduced at all by these restrictions since most coins found at archaeological sites are of poor quality and relatively little interest to collectors.

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Wayne G. Sayles |

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SOURCE Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG)