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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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Import Restrictions sought on Greek Cultural Property

A request from Greece asking that import restrictions be imposed on cultural property will be considered by the US State Department in October.

By Wayne G. Sayles |
August 26, 2010

A Federal Register notice filed by the US State Department (DOS) on 25 August 2010 announces receipt of a request for import restrictions on cultural property from Greece.   Despite all the previous concerns expressed about fairness, again the comment period is rather short.  Although the request was received by DOS on 7/2/10, notice to the public was delayed nearly two months.  In contrast, comments from the public must be received by 9/22/10 a window of 28 days.  This tight window to assemble arguments and publicize the issue to interested parties is increasingly typical of the State Department's public comment policies.  A three-hour public hearing by the Cultural Property Advisory Committee is scheduled for 10/12/10.  Oral comments at that hearing are typically limited to five minutes.  The option to fax or email comments has also been eliminated.  In recent CPAC deliberations, thousands of faxes were received from coin collectors.  Instead, it will now be necessary for those wishing to comment to use the online comment feature of the regulations.gov website.  Those electronic comments will reportedly be made available for review by the public.   Though a summary of the request is promised, the actual details of the request are secret.  In other words, it is unlikely that DOS will announce whether coins are to be considered in this request.  It may be worth noting that coins were included in import restrictions recently imposed on cultural property from China and Cyprus.  Members of the archaeological community also argued before CPAC recently that coins should be added to a renewal of the Memorandum of Agreement with Italy.  That action is still pending. More information about this request will be posted here as it becomes available.  Specific details of the comment system, along with talking points, are provided in Peter Tompa's Cultural Property Observer blog.

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