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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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Dr. Roger Bland speaks in Washington DC

Dr. Roger Bland, Head of the Department of Treasure and Portable Antiquities at the British Museum Spoke as a guest of ACCG and ANS in Washington DC and was recognized for his contributions to numismatics with the ACCG Friend Award.

June 30, 2007

The founder of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Britain, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary, came to the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC on June 26, 2007 to report on the progress made in reporting finds of artifacts in Britain.
Some of the major points from Dr. Bland's lecture were:

  • The Treasure Act of 1996 attempted to regularize the common law system of treasure trove. The changes in the system were modest, but the effect has been great. The Treasure Act covers groups of coins and precious metal objects. There also is a voluntary Portable Antiquities Scheme (“PAS”). Both the Treasure Act and the PAS have led to a large increase in the number of artifacts that have been reported. In 1988, there were 25 finds reported under Common Law Treasure Trove. In 1998, the number had increased to 200. In 2002, the number increased further to 673. The number reported under the PAS is quite large, i.e. some 57,000 in 2006-2007
  • The Treasure Act is a reporting scheme that provides museums with a right of first refusal over the artifacts reported. Artifacts that are retained must be paid for based on full market value. The valuation comes from a committee that includes members of the trade and museums.
  • Most of the finds come from metal detectorists working cultivated land. This is significant. The archaeological context has already been disturbed and removing the artifacts helps save them from damage from deep plowing and/or chemicals used in food production.
  • Administering the program is relatively inexpensive, i.e.. £ 1.4 million per year. The costs of purchasing finds is separate and must be raised by the museums. There has been enough money available to purchase items of national importance. Items of secondary importance are regularly returned to the finder or landowner. After they are returned, they may be sold.
  • The system is not perfect, but it has helped bring archaeologists and members of the public together.
  • Dr. Bland has lectured about the Treasure Act and PAS abroad. He finds that in countries where the state has declared anything found in the ground to be state property, state sponsored archaeologists (which is everyone) find it difficult to grasp the concept that “less may be more,” i.e., that if reporting is encouraged with the prospect of a reward of full market value, many more artifacts will be reported. In contrast, he has an easier time convincing museum professionals in such countries about the merits of such a system.

The audience in Washington included Congressman John Culberson (R-TX), members of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, Dr. John Russell - U.S. State Department Special Assistant of Iraqi cultural affairs, representatives of the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, National Park Service, the American Numismatic Society, the Cypriot and Turkish embassies, Brian Rose - AIA President, members of the press and other interested parties. The venue was provided by Congressman Culberson and the event was co-hosted by the ACCG and the American Numismatic Society. Dr. Bland delivered the same presentation at ANS headquarters in New York City on June 27th.

In recognition of his many contributions to numismatics, the ACCG presented to Dr. Bland its Friend of Numismatics Award. This award is reserved for individuals who are not primarily involved in numismatic activities but have made significant contributions to the advancement and preservation of ancient coin collecting as a private pursuit.

A copy of Dr. Bland's Powerpoint presentation may be downloaded at www.finds.org.uk/congress.zip


Dr. Roger Bland (left) accepts the ACCG Friend of Numismatics Award from Peter K. Tompa, guild president, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Tags:
award
friend of numismatics
roger bland
cpac
washington, dc
britain
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john culberson
pas
peter k. tompa

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