Skip to main content

A misleading Washington lobbyist?

I note that a Washington lobbyist responded to my latest PR Newswire release, "Do Coin Collectors Care About the Archaeology of Cyprus", by writing:
Archaeologist David Gill has issued another misleading press release about the ACCG's test case related to import restrictions on "coins of Cypriot type."
I wrote: "Earlier in February 2010 a Washington law-firm acting for the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild filed an action against (among others) the US Department of State and the US Customs and Border Protection." I hope the lobbyist will have observed that somebody from his Washington law-firm has filed an action on behalf of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG).

So to my next paragraph: "The government of Cyprus had urged the US State Department to sign a MOU in order to restrict the movement of archaeological material from the island to the US." There is a MOU in place.

So to paragraph three: "A Brussels-based numismatic trade organization was one of three bodies, along with the ACCG, to initiate a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) court-action against the US State Department." I have commented on the FOIA case before.

Leaving aside the lobbyist's "another" (which press release(s) did he have in mind?), there is a suggestion that the following items are unconnected:
  • a test case over the seizure of coins from Cyprus (and China) at Baltimore - to which the lobbyist's name appears in the filed action
  • a FOIA action that cited the following, "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."
  • an appeal against the FOIA decision that "seeks to overturn Judge Richard J. Leon's November 20th decision to uphold the State Department's (DOS) repression of information about the process by which import restrictions were placed on common collectable coins of Cypriot and Chinese types."
  • the raising of coins at last year's consideration of the CPAC review of Article II of the MOU with Italy that related to "the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman Periods of Italy".
  • the "project" by the Cultural Property Research Institute to "study" "unprovenanced ancient objects in US private hands" - and the same lobbyist is the legal officer for the CPRI.
Or did I raise inconvenient issues that would draw thoughtful collectors along a path different to the one that had been waymarked for them by a lobbyist retained by a commercial European-based numismatic organisation?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know


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 …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Attic amphora handed back to Italians

The research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has led to the return of an Attic red-figured amphora, attributed to the Harrow painter, to Italy (Tom Mashberg, "Stolen Etruscan Vessel to Be Returned to Italy", New York Times March 16, 2017).

The amphora is known to have passed through the hands of Swiss-based dealer Gianfranco Becchina in 1993, and then through a New York gallery around 2000 (although its movements between those dates are as yet undisclosed).

During the ceremony, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the District Attorney stated:
“When looters overrun historic sites, mine sacred spaces for prized relics, and peddle stolen property for top dollar, they do so with the implicit endorsement of all those who knowingly trade in stolen antiquities” More research clearly needs to be conducted on how material handled by Becchina passed into the North American market and into the hands of private and public collectors.