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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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FBI Warns Dealers and Collectors

FBI seeks cooperation of trade

By Wayne G. Sayles |
August 29, 2015

 

A recent warning on the FBI web site alerts art collectors and dealers to be especially careful in the trading of antiquities from the Near East.  The Bureau is asking U.S. art and antiquities market leaders to spread the word that "preventing illegally obtained artifacts from reaching the market helps stem the transfer of funds to terrorists."

 Concerns about looting in areas of strife are not unusual nor unfounded and the Civil War raging in parts of Syria and Iraq has rekindled those concerns.  Some have argued that the sale of looted antiquities is a primary funding vehicle for terrorist activity.  While that point is debatable, and certainly not true in the case of coins and other portable antiquities, the general point is well taken.  No responsible dealer nor collector would intentionally or knowingly sell nor purchase objects that are likely to have emerged from the strife in Syria and Iraq.  The only defense against unwittingly doing that is to determine to the best of one's ability where ancient and medieval objects originating in these countries have been in recent years.  Due diligence would include the avoidance of purchasing groups of suspect coins from unverifiable sources.  Although provenance is not typically available for average collector coins, the ACCG encourages dealers in ancient and medieval coins originating from these countries to, whenever possible, indicate in item descriptions the basis for a belief that the item being offered is not a product of the current conflict nor related looting.  In other words, descriptions could include a good-faith effort to provide the nearest thing possible to provenance for at least the most recent transactions.  This might include a citation to a known collection, previous offering in the trade, recent source or venue or any other pertinent information that aids seller and buyer diligence in following applicable laws.

 

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