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German Numismatic Society


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German Numismatic Association


A partial translation January 2009


Private collections have formed the seed from which a majority of museum

collections have grown. Time after time, private collecting has

provided important information and new discoveries for scholarly



This is why recent events have filled us with worry. Collecting,

especially of medieval and ancient coins, has been accused as a criminal

act; under the unjustifiable accusation that collecting is the result

and cause of the illegal looting of archaeoligical sites around the

world. The police conduct searches of homes, collections are

confiscated, collectors are charged with smuggling. There is talk of a

reduced legal rights for collectors.


We cannot and will not allow coin collecting and dealing to become

criminalized and therefore make the following clarification.


1. Collecting of ancient and medieval coins is not criminal. Documented

provenance for every coin is not necessary. Still, we urge collectors

to document their collections more than before even if they were

acquired at coins shows or other venues.


2. We support the protection of archaeological sites and historically

significant coin finds. We understand coin hoards can have more worth

than simply their financial worth.


3. We oppose any theft of protected cultural property, demand in return,

that collectors ,who buy coins over the Internet or elsewhere, in good

faith with without intent to acquire stolen cultural property, are not

charged with accepting stolen property. Confiscations of complete

collections must be stopped. We oppose the behavior of the police in

performing home searches and confiscation entire collections.

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Those "recent events" that the DNG mentions have been covered by several articles in German numismatic magazines. They are also mentioned in this year's World Money Fair catalog: http://www.worldmoneyfair.ch/wmf/pdfs/WMF_2009_Katalog.pdf


See p. 8-9 of the PDF file (p. 14-17 of the catalog); parts of the text are in English. Since the WMF is the world's biggest coin show, there is some hope that this issue will get more publicity internationally. We'll see ...



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That is absolutly disgrceful, all that it will do is stop people from reporting finds of importance and extinguish a legitamate hobby. I hope that collectors in Germany manage to get rid of any such stupid proposals. Does this mean that the State is claiming sole ownership of any ancient coin or artifact? if so then when are they going to confiscate paintings etc :ninja:

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Does this mean that the State is claiming sole ownership of any ancient coin or artifact?

Of course not. The matter is serious enough, so let's not get ridiculous. :ninja: Some overzealous police officers are not "the State". Besides, even public museums are affected - would they not be "the State"?


Nevertheless such confiscations, temporary or not, can make the life of a collector difficult. What some archeologists claim, apparently supported by some in the (particularly Hessian) police, is that you have to have a certificate for any "old" coin (>100 yrs). Which is not correct of course. But collectors who do not have such a proof of purchase etc. may be suspected to have acquired the coins illegally. Of course such a collector would legally still be innocent unless a court finds him guilty, but the whole "setup" is quite disturbing and deterring. That is also why several Hessian politicians have already become active - ironically members of a party that is part of the government coalition in that state - , and why the FENAP will discuss the matter (and hopefully issue a joint statement) at the WMF too.



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I am been very seriouse, these Police officers are a visible arm of the state and as such there actions have a direct reflection upon the state. Now if they are been over zelouse then someone needs to reign them in before it gets out of hand and if necissery diciplinery action should be taken.

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