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
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has repeatedly and consistently refused to provide the ACCG and Numismatic Trade organizations with requested details about foreign state requests for import restrictions.
What is the issue?
Serious concerns have arisen about the integrity of the process of imposing import restrictions on a wide variety of cultural artifacts of potential Chinese origin. In or about November 2004, the State Department placed what purported to be a public summary of the People's Republic of China request on its web site. What was unusual about the request as reported was its breadth; virtually every and any category of cultural artifact dating from Neolithic times to 1911 was slated for potential restriction. Members of the numismatic community became concerned about the scope of this request. In particular, they queried why the request included coins when the Bank of China has partnered with a Chinese entrepreneur to sell the exact same types of coins to tourists from a 500 ton hoard he has accumulated. In essence, why would China think coins were culturally significant objects that should be subject to restrictions when they had such large stocks on hand that they sell them to tourists? Specifically, we are concerned that a narrow PRC request for help in retrieving “stolen” items of cultural significance may have been transformed into a wide ranging request for import restrictions far beyond that originally contemplated by the PRC—with or without the assistance of the same members of the archaeological community that testified in favor of broad restrictions during the public hearing in February 2005. The State Department has declined to answer our requests for information in this matter. We are now asking our legislators for assistance. What can one person do?
We encourage you to contact your elected representatives in Washington to voice your opinion regarding this matter. How should I contact my representatives?
Email to representatives is widely acknowledged to be ineffective, so we have developed a free service to directly fax your comments to your representatives. You can access this service by clicking on the picture of the Capitol Building at the left side of this page. But who are my representatives?
We will identify your representatives based on your Zip code. You just provide the content of your message and we'll do the rest! If you are outside the US, we will send your letter to the most appropriate representatives. What is required to use this service?
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