Of course, the major issue is not so much how difficult it is to export coins from Italy, but the unfair, unworkable burden import restrictions would place on unprovenanced coins of Italian type, of which there are millions already in the marketplace. By way of example, ACCG imported unprovenanced coins of Cypriot and Chinese type from the United Kingdom for purposes of a test case. The coins could have come from literally anywhere, but U.S. Customs has assumed they were exported from Cyprus and China contrary to the import ban. The coins were detained in April 2009, seized in August 2009, and Customs still has not brought an action in court to allow ACCG to contest the seizure. One can only imagine the chaos that would take place if the State Department reverses prior precedent and imposes import restrictions on coins of Italian type. ACCG, of course, plans to argue this point further when CPAC addresses Article I of the current MOU with Italy.The MOU under discussion is about "the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman Periods of Italy". Archaeologists are rightly concerned about the protection of archaeological contexts and heritage.
But what does the President Elect of the ACCG talk about? Trade.
In the MOU that is under discussion today, we are favoring Italian consumers to the detriment of American consumers of the same product. The Italian MOU creates a “one way street” in terms of trade. While commerce in common ancient and medieval coins faces relatively few restrictions within Italy itself, Americans can participate in this market only with great difficulty and patience. It would be an even greater travesty if they were precluded legally from that market while Italian dealers and collectors continue to experience the rewards of independent scholarship and private collecting.Wetterstrom has revealed the real concerns for the ACCG. It is about the right to trade in the cultural remains of other nations.