GAINESVILLE, Mo. Jan. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a press release of January 19th, the U.S. State Department (DOS) announced extension, for another five years, of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and Italy "protecting Italy's archaeological materials representing the pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman periods". The new agreement has, to the surprise of many, been expanded to include import restrictions on popular collectable coins of Italian types. These include early Roman issues and all coins of the ancient Greek states issued in what is now Italy. Details are outlined in the Federal Register of that date. Ironically, this action comes on the heels of Executive and Legislative Branch calls this week for the reduction of anti-business regulations that curb jobs.
During a preliminary public comment period, DOS received more than 2,000 faxes from private collectors, coin dealers and concerned citizens opposing any addition of coins to the MOU. By contrast, public support for the requested action was minimal. Collectors' concerns were also echoed in a bipartisan letter from 12 members of Congress to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Opposition came from abroad as well. Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs, Martin Zeil, registered his government's opposition to import restrictions on coins saying in a letter to the State Department that proposed restrictions "would negatively impact the legitimate numismatic trade between Germany and the United States of America and also people to people contacts between US and German citizens." He pointed out that because of the MOU's overly repressive documentation requirements "Legal trade would then hardly be possible between Germany and the United States."
Collectors argue that over the past 600 years literally millions of ancient coins have been bought and sold without any requirement for chain of ownership documentation (provenance). Under terms of the MOU, future imports of listed coin types would be stifled since most collectors and dealers worldwide have only general receipts, if any, and could not meet strict documentation mandates for individual coins. Coins are often sold at public auction in "group lots" with only general narrative descriptions.
The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) is challenging import restrictions on coins through ongoing litigation against DOS and the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) in United States District Court for the district of Maryland.
For information about the ACCG, see: http://www.accg.us/
Contact: Wayne G. Sayles, 417-679-2142, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Ancient Coin Collectors Guild