Skip to main content

Coins and Cyprus: what are the motives of the IAPN?

The International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) are one of three groups taking legal action against the US State Department. Their stated objectives are (and I quote in full):
The IAPN is a non-profit organisation of the leading international numismatic firms founded 1951. The objectives of the Association are the development of a healthy and prosperous numismatic trade conducted according to the highest standards of business ethics and commercial practice.
Peter Tompa has now commented (in response to my posting where I stated, "But there is also an active lobby apparently seeking to liberalise the market"):
I don't understand why you think we stand for "liberalizing" the trade.
Really?

Even when one of the three bodies taking legal action has a stated objective to develop "a healthy and prosperous numismatic trade".

Even when the IAPN states in the legal papers that "the material sought in these FOIA requests will assist the IAPN in reaching these organizational goals", viz. "a healthy and prosperous numismatic trade".

Even when restrictions on the movement of coins (and antiquities) from Cyprus limit the supply. (And the point of the US import restriction is, I am sure we can both agree, to protect the archaeological and cultural heritage of Cyprus.)

Even when the ACCG narrative states:
The State Department recently imposed unprecedented import restrictions on ancient coins from Cyprus—requiring importers of even a single common coin of “Cypriot type” to provide unfair, unworkable and unnecessary documentation.
Even when fellow ACCG members state melodramatically ("Another Watergate?"):
The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild is the only organization actively defending collectors against the steady and insidious encroachment of legislation and regulations aimed at restricting and perhaps eventually banning private collecting.
Is the ACCG the only organisation "actively defending collectors against the steady and insidious encroachment of legislation and regulations"? What about the IAPN, or that matter the PNG, that are both fellow plaintiffs?

In any case, what is the problem if the coins available to collectors come from legitimate sources? After all, the legal papers (item 1) actually specify "other members of the public interested in the legitimate international exchange of cultural artifacts".

Tompa also claims (in response to Safecorner's posting "All the news that's fit to print?"):
All ACCG and the numismatic trade seek here is the "provenance" of the unprecedented decision to impose import restrictions on coins of Cypriot type and some transparency and accountability from the public servants at the State Department.
Really?

Wayne Sayles perhaps gives a big clue (again as a comment on the same Safecorner posting) when he says:
What is not mentioned is that collector and trade organizations support the Cultural Property Implementation Act. We honor the recommendations of CPAC. We merely asked Department of State whether they honored the recommendation of their own committee when they agreed to impose import restrictions. When they refused to answer that question, we felt that it was our right as citizens to use legal processes to force that answer.
I am note sure how the IAPN based in Brussels (and with that address --- 14, rue de la Bourse, 1000 Brussels, Belgium --- on the legal papers submitted against the US State Department) counts as a US citizen (though I realise that there are US-based dealers within IAPN).

I am also intrigued why the IAPN has still to make any mention of the court action on the press release section of its website. Is the IAPN taking an active role? Or is it just lending its name? Indeed the same appears to be true for the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG).

So what are the motives of the IAPN? What are they hoping to achieve by this court action?

Perhaps Messrs Sayles, Tompa, and Welsh could encourage their (sleeping) partners to make their views heard.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Codename: Ainsbrook

I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a Viking burial had been found. The location in Yorkshire was so sensitive that it was given a codename: Ainsbrook. Here is the summary:
In late 2003 two metal detectorists were working in a field in Yorkshire. They found 'treasure' buried just beneath the surface – a collection of Viking material next to a body. Although they had been detecting on the site for a number of years, during which time they had made large numbers of finds, nothing they had uncovered previously compared with this. They decided to share their discovery with archaeologists.The programme explored the tension between metal-detectorists and the English Heritage sponsored archaeologists putting six trenches into the field based on a geo-physical survey. Finds made by the metal-detectorists did not easily map onto the archaeological features.

Part of the programme had an …

The scale of the returns to Italy

I have been busy working on an overview, "Returning Archaeological Objects to Italy". The scale of the returns to Italy from North American collections and galleries is staggering: in excess of 350 objects. This is clearly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the material that has surfaced on the market without a history that can be traced back to the period before 1970. 

I will provide more information in due course, but the researcher is a reminder that we need to take due diligence seriously when it comes to making acquisitions.

Stele returns to Greece

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture has announced (Saturday 8 September 2018) that a stele that had been due to be auctioned at Sotheby's in London in June 2017 has been returned to Greece (Friday 7 September 2018). The identification had been made by Cambridge-based forensic archaeologist Dr Christos Tsirogiannis.

It appeared that the stele had been supplied with a falsified history as its presence with Becchina until 1990 contradicted the published sale catalogue entry. It then moved into the hands of George Ortiz.

A year ago it was suggested that Sotheby's should contact the Greek authorities. Those negotiations appear to have concluded successfully.

The 4th century BC stele fragment, with the personal name, Hestiaios, will be displayed in the Epigraphic Museum in Athens. It appears to have come from a cemetery in Attica.