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Which Italian coins will the MOU between the US and Italy affect?

March 10, 2011 – The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States of America and Italy became effective in January. Wayne G. Sayles, Executive Director of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, gives a short summary, which coins will be affected. This article was published in the March newsletter of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild. We thank Wayne Sayles for his permission to republish it.

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Import restrictions have been imposed on certain coins of Italian type.

The Federal Register for Wednesday, January 19, 2011 announces the renewal of a Memorandum of Agreement with Italy that includes an extension to certain coins of Italian type. The section pertaining to coins indicates import restrictions on:

"F. Coins of Italian Types-A type catalogue of listed currency and coins can be found in N. K. Rutter et al. (eds.), Historia Numorum: Italy (London, 2001). Others appear in G. F. Hill Coins of Ancient Sicily (Westminster, 1903).

1. Lumps of bronze (Aes Rude) – Irregular lumps of bronze used as an early medium of exchange in Italy from the 9th century B.C.
 
2. Bronze bars (Ramo Secco and Aes Signatum) – Cast bronze bars (whole or cut) used as a media of exchange in central Italy and Etruria from the 5th century B.C.
 
3. Cast coins (Aes Grave) – Cast bronze coins of Rome, Etruscan, and Italian cities from the 4th century B.C.
 
4. Struck coins – Struck coins of the Roman Republic and Etruscan cities produced in gold, silver, and bronze from the 3rd century B.C. to c. 211 B.C., including the ''Romano-Campanian'' coinage.
 
5. Struck colonial coinage – Struck bronze coins of Roman republican and early imperial colonies and municipia in Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia from the 3rd century B.C. to c. A.D. 37.
 
6. Coins of the Greek cities – Coins of the Greek cities in the southern Italian peninsula and in Sicily (Magna Graecia), cast or struck in gold, silver, and bronze, from the late 6th century B.C. to c. 200 B.C."

These restrictions are effective as of January 19, 2011 and will remain in force for a period of five years, at which time they will be considered for renewal. Any coins of the types indicated above cannot be imported into the United States after this date unless they are accompanied by an export permit from the Republic of Italy or proof that they existed outside of Italy prior to this date. Roman Imperial coins are not covered under the MOU and are not subject to import restrictions. The import restrictions apply only to entry into the United States. Collectors in most countries around the world will continue to enjoy unrestricted access to these coins.

The ACCG has actively opposed import restrictions on coins and continues to do so through ongoing litigation against the U.S. State Department (DOS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Federal court system. It should be emphasized that this State Department MOU with Italy affects only the transit of undocumented coins and does not have any bearing on coins currently existing and recorded as being outside of Italy.

By Wayne G. Sayles
January 19, 2011

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