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The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild has become a driving force in the ongoing effort to protect coin collectors and museums in which coins are stored from being forced to give up these items to foreign governments under the premise the coins are the cultural patrimony of the claimant nation. — Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News April 26, 2010

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ACCG Presses Claims to Hidden Information

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, the International Association of Professional Numismatists and the Professional Numismatists Guild have pressed their claims to information about the State Department’s controversial decisions to impose import restrictions on ancient Cypriot and Chinese coins.

By Peter K. Tompa |
April 27, 2009

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.

The numismatic groups have also contested the State Department’s search for responsive records to or from Maria Kouroupas, the Executive Director of the State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center, and to or from former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns. Both Kouroupas and Burns are believed to have played important roles in changing then existing precedent exempting coins from import restrictions.

To date, as a result of the numismatic groups’ Freedom of Information Act litigation, the State Department has identified one-hundred twenty-eight (128) responsive documents. Seventy (70) have been released in full. Thirty-nine (39) have been released in part and nineteen (19) have been withheld in full.

The Court is expected to rule within the next six (6) months about whether the State Department is entitled to withhold the remaining documents. Documents produced to date appear to suggest that State Department bureaucrats within the Cultural Heritage Center added coins to the Chinese request for import restrictions on their own accord. In addition, 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. The numismatic groups believe that the State Department has withheld other documents detailing this cooperation aimed at harming the interests of the numismatic community.

Tags:
state department
cyprus
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china
jay kislak
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