Skip to main content

Cyprus and the Coin Collectors: Yet Another Round

In February 2008 I posted an update about the FOIA request served on the US State Department by:
The IAPN and PNG are so interested in this action that they have yet to issue a statement in the press sections of their websites.

But now there is movement ... Peter Tompa has posted a development on the ACCG website:
In papers filed by attorney Scott A. Hodes on April 24, 2009 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the numismatic groups have argued that the State Department has wrongfully claimed such information to be “secret.” Past Cultural Property Advisory Committee Chairman, Jay Kislak, has added weight to the numismatic groups’ position. In a declaration filed with the Court, Mr. Kislak indicates that greater transparency is necessary to allow museums and members of the public to make informed presentations to CPAC. He has also stated that official State Department documentation falsely suggests that CPAC agreed with the controversial decision to impose import restrictions on coins of Cypriot type.

Tompa senses that there has been an attempt to hide information:
one heavily redacted document appears to confirm back channel coordination between the archaeological community and the State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center over extending Cypriot import restrictions to include coins
We continue to wait ... Tompa suggests another six months ... perhaps in time for Thanksgiving?

Comments

Wayne G. Sayles said…
David;

Thank you for spreading the word of ACCG's success in its FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. State Department. Your implication that IAPN and PNG are not "interested" in this action is very far from the truth of the matter. Rather, these co-plaintiffs have respectfully deferred in public comment to the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild which initiated the suit. Litigation against the U.S. government does not happen overnight, as most people would understand. Prior to the launch of this FOIA suit, the State Department routinely denied all requests for information submitted by the numismatic community. Since the filing, DOS has released hundreds of pages of documents and identified many others, including some of considerable significance, that will now be ruled on by a federal judge. You and others in the archaeological community may take the efforts of the ACCG lightly, but I can assure you that the State Department is not taking them lightly, nor will they take lightly the issues presented in further litigation. The motto of the ACCG, Per Lucem ad Veritatem, will in the end be prophetic as the truth is enlightened in court.

Best Wishes,

Wayne G. Sayles

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

Mithras relief from Tor Cervara

A fragmentary relief of Mithras was discovered in 1964 at Tor Cervara on the outskirts of Rome. It was acquired by the Museo Nazionale Romano.

A further fragment of the relief was acquired by the Badisches Landesmueum in Kalrsruhe in 1976. The source was an unstated Swiss dealer. This fragment has been reunited with the rest of the relief [press release].

Today a further fragment of the relief was reunited with the other pieces. This had been recovered during a raid in Sardinia.

The Toledo skyphos and a Swiss private collection

The Attic red-figured skyphos attributed to the Kleophon painter in the Toledo Museum of Art (inv. 1982.88) is now coming under further scrutiny following the research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis. The skyphos shows Hephaistos returning to Olympos.

Tsirogiannis has identified what appears to be this skyphos in five photographs in the Medici Dossier. The museum acknowledged that the skyphos had resided in a 'private Swiss collection'. Tsirogiannis suggests that this is probably a reference to Medici.

Enquiries to the museum by Tsirogiannis elicited the information that the skyphos had been acquired from Nicholas Koutoulakis (although that information does not appear on the museum's online catalogue).

The curatorial team at the Toledo Museum of Art will, no doubt, be contacting the Italian authorities to discuss the future residence of the skyphos.

For further discussion of the Toledo Museum of Art on LM see here.

Reference
Tsirogiannis, C. 2017. "Nekyia: Museum ethics an…