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move to restrict coins from Cyprus


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the message below is a repost from Wayne Sayles and is a call for action from the coin collecting community:




Fellow Coin Collectors,


January 25th, 2007 may well go down in the annals of numismatic history as the Pearl Harbor of the Cultural Property War. When the U.S. Department of State posted a notice in the Federal Register that renewal of the import restrictions on cultural property from Cyprus would be considered, Peter K. Tompa (Ancient Coin Collectors Guild President) addressed the following concern in a letter to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). "It is unclear from the notice whether new import restrictions on coins will be considered in the context of this hearing to determine whether current restrictions on other archaeological and ethnological artifacts will be extended." Coins had been exempted from restrictions in the initial agreement five years ago. A reply from the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at ECA stated that "the Department anticipates consideration of extension of the agreement as it currently exists with respect to the categories of material." In other words, coins were not added to the list of restricted items being considered.


In my capacity as ACCG Executive Director, I then sent a letter to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee stating that since coins were not to be included, the ACCG would not take a position on the request and would not appear in person to comment during the public hearing. In other words, a quid pro quo. I was not advised of any change in position. On January 26th, the day after the public hearing, ACCG received the following notice from ECA. "On 25 and 26 January, 2007, the Cultural Property Advisory Committee met to onsider extending the bilateral agreement between the Government of the United States and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Shortly before that meeting, Cyprus submitted a request through normal diplomatic channels to amend the Designated List of its cultural materials for which importation is already restricted. The proposal is to include in the Designated List coins minted and found in Cyprus that are more than 250 years old." This action is a shocking disappointment. It further undermines ACCG confidence in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that has eroded over two years of struggling with constant stonewalling and departmental secrecy. Sandbagging a legitimate nonprofit advocacy group, to circumvent an effective defense of its position, is a tactic that sinks to a level that is intolerable. In an effort to diffuse the inevitable outrage, ECA has reopened the window for comment to run through the close of business on Monday, February 6. If ever there was cause for comment, it is now. This request, if approved, will not only affect ancient coins from Cyprus, but virtually all Medieval and early modern coins. Worse, restrictions would set an irreversible precedent. The aggression of cultural property nationalists knows no limits and there is no room left in the collecting world for complacency. Every collector simply must take the time to comment. The best method is by Fax to 202-453-8803. Address your comments to Mr. Jay I. Kislak, Chairman, Cultural Property Advisory Committee. Please be specific and be polite. The ACCG provides a free online Fax service for this purpose at http://accg.us If you avail yourself of that service, a choice of sample letters will be offered or you can create your own text in any standard browser. The process is fast, easy and meaningful. Our goal for this campaign is 1,000 individual comments to CPAC. We will need every single collector's cooperation. If you can't figure out how to comment or what to say, send a note to me at director@accg.us for suggestions.


Become an activist, spread the word and encourage all of your friends to comment. This is not a practice drill.


With best regards and hope for the future of our hobby,




Wayne G. Sayles

Executive Director, ACCG


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