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Coin Collectors Sue State Department Over Import Rules


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Three organizations representing coin collectors and dealers have filed a lawsuit against the State Department demanding greater disclosure of how the government makes decisions on the import of ancient artifacts from abroad.


The suit, filed jointly on Thursday by the three groups in Federal District Court in Washington, asserts that the State Department violated the Freedom of Information Act when it failed to release documents that the coin collectors had sought concerning recent decisions in which the State Department either considered or imposed import restrictions on ancient coins. The documents involve trade between the United States and Italy, China and the Republic of Cyprus.


If the coin collectors were to prevail, the State Department might be compelled to shed more light on the way it makes decisions on protecting the cultural property of other nations, a process that many art dealers, museum directors and collectors argue has been unnecessarily shrouded in secrecy. Among the information sought from the State Department are documents related to a May 2004 request from China that the United States restrict the import of a vast array of art and artifacts, including coins, dating from Chinese prehistory through the early 20th century. The State Department has repeatedly delayed action on the Chinese petition in the face of strong opposition from museum curators, art dealers, auction houses and collectors.



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I had no problem buying ancient Chinese coins, loads, bundles of paper money etc. when I was in China. Nobody was concerned what was leaving the country, more that they were just getting my money :ninja:

The Chinese request is puzzling in that the Chinese government is actively involved in the business of selling coins. There are some who speculate that the official request of the Chinese government has been altered to suit the policies of certain persons in the department. Original copies of the request were not made available. Similarly the Cyprus request appears to have been approved against the guidance of the advisory committee.

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