Archive – Cultural Property Issues

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20 Years of Portable Antiquities Scheme

When it comes to describing a successful collaboration of archaeologists, numismatists, detectorists, coin collectors, and coin dealers, the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme is sure to be mentioned. We will tell you exactly what it is, on what legal grounds it is based, and the successes this program has achieved. more ]

A pilot scheme between eBay and the Swiss Federal Office for Cultural Affairs

Seemingly deliberate deletion of auction sales cause a stir among eBay users
It is a well-known problem. Anyone can turn things he doesn’t want any more into cash on eBay. In the last years, eBay has revolutionized the trade between seller and buyer and abolished the intermediary. What essentially is in the interest of the private user can be abused very easily when the seller offers goods which are illegal on the official market.
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No proof of origin necessary to sell and buy coins

On September 21st, 2009, 47-year-old installer Sylvio Müller stood trial for dealing in stolen goods in 711 cases. Reason for that was his hobby that the Hessian police deemed suspicious... more ]

Not that one-sided

Is there a mood swing regarding the Protection of Cultural Property?
An article in the New York Times from November 16th, 2009, raises some questions

Dr Zahi Hawass as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities seems to be feared by archaeologists – at least this is indicated by John Tierney in his article “A Case in Antiquities for Finders Keepers” published in ... more ]

Official Statement of the „Verband Schweizerischer Berufsnumismatiker“ concerning the meeting with representativs of the Federal Department of Culture on October 1, 2009

A group of numismatists met with representatives of the Federal Department of Culture and members of the cantonal archaeology in order to analyse the position of the coin trade and coin collecting after 5 years of Cultural Goods Transfer Law.
Following points were discussed... more ]

Interpol opens his database on stolen works of art

Nowadays, the computer is an indispensable aid in providing information for the broad public quickly. Especially the internet has become an important means of fighting theft of works of art. Thus far, Interpol’s stolen works of art database was accessible only to the police. Now it has been opened to all, to collectors, dealers and anyone interested. more ]

Manual to identify Roman coins

England’s Portable Antiquities Scheme is the most successful program on coin finds world-wide. No other country has won so many supporters to ... more ]

20 years FENAP – 20 years in the European coin collectors’ service

FENAP, the Federation of European Numismatic Trade Associations, is in existence for 20 years now. Within this international framework, representatives of ... more ]

New Website of IADAA featuring Basic Arguments concerning the Cultural Property Debate

IADAA published its new website last Saturday, March 13th, 2010. It features an interesting anthology of arguments concerning cultural property issues ...
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Customs sells “Precious Cultural Property”

German customs sells coins in public sale, which could be treated as “Precious Cultural Property” by the Hessian police ... more ]

Coin collectors for Cologne

There is a good opportunity to demonstrate that coin collectors are willing to save cultural property. Please provide support in order to rescue precious numismatic manuscripts, which have been damaged during the collapse of the Cologne Civic Archive...
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Nefertiti will stay in Berlin

The Federal Government informs in its press release no. 180 from May 19th, 2010, about the fate of “Nefertiti”...
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Coin collecting in Hesse

The Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts has its own reading of how German laws apply. Coin collector Alexander Krombach can vouch for that who had to fight for the return of his coin collection although the action for receiving stolen goods was abandoned... more ]

„Close to mental confusion“ – a German court on Michael Müller-Karpe’s private crusade

Five mediocre bronze bowls, which were bought for 200 Euro by an antiquities dealer, are the most recent object of a private crusade of Michael Müller-Karpe. He refuses to deliver these objects to the real owner, although a verdict was decided. Recently, a judge found hard words about this disregard of German law... more ]

Controversial Bronze Vessels back at their owner

Michael Müller-Karpe returns the five ancient bronze vessels to the Hessian ministry of science and art. The administrative court had decreed their restitution... more ]

Does a Parliamentary Question of the FDP provide the backdrop for the unexpected return of the bronze vessels?

On July 5th, 2010, members of the FDP (Free Democratic Party) enquired about the RGZM’s refusal of the return of ancient objects. The answer was received on July 27th, the objects were returned at the beginning of August. Are these events connected?
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Coin dealer sentenced to four years in prison by Greek court

In 2007 Malcom Hay was arrested in London. Hay was accused of having stolen items he sold to a Greek dealer in ancient art in 1999 from the Greek state. Now, a sentence was passed... more ]

News on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Greek coins may be subject to the new Memorandum of Understanding between Greece and the US in the near future. Let US government know your point of view! more ]

The Krombach Case – next act

Even after two court rulings the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts still believes that in Germany it is possible to seize a coin collection without evidence... more ]

Coin collectors for Cologne

The book of a Cologne Münzwardein (warden of the mint) from the 15th cent will be restored with the help of coin collectors and with generous support of Künker... more ]

Bavarian Ministry joins the discussion about cultural property issues

The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs sent a letter to the US government in order to inform the officials about its concerns due to the planned import restrictions on Greek coins...
more ]

U.S. Law Enforcement Accepts Award from Anti-Collector Advocacy Group

SAFE has awarded members of U.S. law enforcement honorary awards for their efforts to stamp out the illicit trade in antiquities... more ]

Thefts Prompt Police to Monitor Cash-For-Gold Shops

For those, who still believe that closing down the coin shops will end dealing in coins: Here is some news on the cash for gold (and silver) business... more ]

Italian Cultural Property in Real Danger

Three spectacular collapses in 2010 should prompt the Italian government to action.... more ]

Self-appointed Cultural Property Custodians distort truth

A Bulgarian coin, a faxed letter from the Bulgarian Embassy and the vicious coin dealers, these are the components of a new story abused by self-appointed cultural property custodians... more ]

Italy draws the conclusions from the Cultural Property debacle

The opposition puts Cultural Secretary Sandro Bondi under pressure; the Director General of Antiquities is replaced... more ]

Greek Antiques in Times of Economic Crisis

What shall be done, if there is no money to preserve and exhibit cultural heritage properly. A Greek journalist is breaking a taboo... more ]

Zahi Hawass resigns as Egyptian Minister of Antiquities

After numerous contradictory articles and various accusations, Dr. Zahi Hawass announces his resignation as Egyptian Minister of Antiquities on his own website... more ]

List of items stolen from the Egyptian Museum / Cairo

The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has published a list of stolen items in the Internet... more ]

Zahi Hawass under fire from all sides

For years, the Minister of State for the Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, could count on the bad conscience when voicing his return requests but now he personally is under fire from all sides... more ]

The International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) condemns the looting of Egyptian antiquities and offers their help

The members of the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) are deeply concerned at seeing pictures of the looted rooms in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo...
more ]

Looting at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and at other remote excavations

The Egyptian riots endanger the World’s Cultural Heritage in Egypt. Unknown persons broke into the Egyptian Museum. Right now, the situation is more than untransparent. more ]

What Price Provenance? Safeguarding the Antiquities of Egypt

The Department of Cultural Policy and Management at London City University is to host a round-table discussion with leading experts on the current looting of Egypt’s museums and archaeological sites. Expert opinion will be given on field archaeology in Egypt, museum management, Law, cultural policy and the ancient art trade in a unique inter-disciplinary event... more ]

Egyptian Roly-Poly

On January 31, 2011 Hosni Mubarak appointed Zahi Hawass as new Minister of Antiquities. On March 3 Hawass lost his office. Since March 30 he is back – despite a one-year-jail-sentence connected with forced labor. Nevertheless, Zahi Hawass still has time enough to promote his own fashion label... more ]

The Indian version of the cultural property debate

By governmental order the vaults of a temple in Southern India have been opened. This revealed gold coins, jewels and golden statues, which are valued by the government at approximately 22 billion (sic!) dollars... more ]

Final Act in the Krombach “case” – Coins Restituted

Finally his coins have been restituted to Alexander Krombach. After he had bought some coins on eBay police saved the whole collection for evidence and accused Mr Krombach of fencing. Even after the preliminary proceedings had been closed, The Hessian Ministry did not restitute the collection. Now a final verdict has been spoken... more ]

The Future of Recording the Past. Different laws of finds in Anglo-american World

In Dublin ABA members will meet to discuss with experts the law of finds in the United Kingdom and the United States. The panel aims on considering the benefits and disadvantages of the systems in each of these countries... more ]

Import Restrictions on Coins from Bulgaria to the USA?

The US State Department is seeking public comment on a new request for import restrictions made on behalf of Bulgaria. It is important for collectors to express concerns in order to guarantee that coins that have been on the market for years will stay available to the average collector... more ]

Treasure Stolen in Benghazi or Hollywood the Libyan Way?

Like in a Hollywood film robbers intruded in a bank in Libya and stole the “Treasure of Benghazi”: thousands of ancient coins and other objects. Months later the Libyans alerted Interpol about the catastrophe. But now doubts have arisen if things happened really this way... more ]

International Storage Survey on Museums Reveals Disastrous Situation

Lack of space and lack of trained staff, backlog of indexing objects and damaged buildings: The list of deficits of the museums all over the world is long as a survey recently conducted by UNESCO and the cultural association ICCROM has revealed... more ]

Thessaloniki fights for its cultural future

It could be the most important archaeological finding of whole northern Greece: an ancient temple of Aphrodite in Thessaloniki. Though it was partly excavated in 2000, neither the excavations go on nor concrete actions are taken to preserve the rests for future generations... more ]

MOU Greece

The State Department has imposed broad import restrictions on Greek Cultural Artifacts including all ancient coins struck in Greece. Here is the exact wording from the Memorandum of Understanding... more ]

Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Treasure to be Assessed

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) is the body which runs the affairs of the Indian temples. Now it is trying to assess the value of the famous treasure found half a year ago in the troves of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in the province of Kerala... more ]

Public Asked To Comment On The MOU With Cyprus

The US State Department is imposing new import restrictions of Greek antiquities. Peter K. Tompa, Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) Board Member and Chairman of the Legislative Affairs Committee has published a call to comment on the hearing opened by the State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC)... more ]

Seizure and Detention at the New York International

On January 3, 2012 law enforcement officers seized two coins from a joint sale of Classical Numismatic Group and Nomos Ltd. The coins’ owner, Dr Arnold-Peter Weiss, was detained. more ]

Action against Bob Hecht in Italy abandoned

Italian courts accused him of having been one of the most active dealers on the black market in ancient art. Now the trial against the 92-year-old man ended with no verdict – because the time allotted for the trial had expired. more ]

IADAA – Guidelines on due diligence when purchasing ancient objects

The International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art has developed guidelines how to act when buying ancient objects with all reasonable due diligence. more ]

True Protection of Cultural Property Is Evolving

The Turkish Board of Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets proposes to sell artifacts which never leave the archives of a museum. A commission shall be created only to the goal of valuing these objects, and the objects might be sold after the valuation. more ]

Public consultation – privately

The European Union is conducting a public consultation largely unknown whether the directives on the return of cultural property need restrictions. Please join absolutely in this consultation today. Today, March 5, 2012 the deadline expires. more ]

Temple of Aphrodite in Thessaloniki cleansed

When we reported on a citizen initiative in Thessaloniki aiming at the rescue of a Greek temple, we had not thought that we would be really of help to those people. But we were: they were officially permitted to act by themselves. How? Read it here. more ]

Peter Weiss condemned to write extra essay

Now has arrived the legal end of an episode which had begun at the New York International Coin Convention. Peter Weiss pleaded guilty of owning two coins he believed to have been taken out of Italy illegally after the 1909 deadline. An expert had declared the pieces in question to be forgeries. more ]

Greek temple buried again

In Thessaloniki an ancient Temple of Aphrodite was buried below masses of soil. On September 18, 2012 authorities unexpectedly decided to put thus an end to the civil activism that had emerged in the quarter around the building. more ]

Olympia Gets Treasures Back

In February the Archaeological Museum in Olympia was robbed. Now the robbers tried to sell the loot to an undercover police officer. Three suspect men were arrested, the stolen items have been seized. more ]

Gambling debts paid off by museum plundering

After decades a Lydian gold brooch that allegedly brought misfortune and death to its thieves is returning to Turkey. The fate of this object of art casts light on the situation in some Turkish museums. more ]

The Crystal Skull of Doom

A magic crystal skull, the last Indiana Jones film, and Belize’s Indy-like chief archaeologist form a rather absurd US-American lawsuit concerning cultural property issues. more ]

In England number of treasure findings increasing

The Department of Culture Media and Sport has published the number of treasures found in 2011 in the UK, and the objects recorded through the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Both numbers have risen compared to the previous year. more ]

On the re-politicisation of cultural property

In an US indemnity lawsuit against Iran lawyers are trying to seize ‘Iranian objects’ from important museums of their own country in order to sell them. That, however, would mean that in the end US citizens pay for Iran. And then, of course, the academic research. more ]

From small acorns … Ancient Coin Collectors on the steps of the Supreme Court

In 2007 Washington imposed draconian import restrictions on ordinary coins creating thus massive problems for coin collectors. The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild has filed a ‘test case’ and applied to the United States Supreme Court. more ]

Hubert Lanz receives World Money Fair Award

On February 1, 2013 Hubert Lanz received the World Money Fair Award for his numismatic merits. Rarely a single person has done more for coin collecting in Germany and Europe. Since years Hubert Lanz is fighting for the right of every European to collect coins. more ]

Court Refuses Sotheby’s Request to Dismiss Forfeiture Claim

A United States District Court in New York City has refused to dismiss a Government case to forfeit a Khmer Statue that was to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s Auction House. The Government seeks to return the statue to the Cambodian Government. more ]

Hierapolis: Excavating around the clock

The important ancient city of Hierapolis will be excavated twelve months per year by a Turkish team of archaeologists. Allegedly the necessary money will be provided. Basically investing into such a heritage is very much welcome. But is this the appropriate move? more ]

Egyptian customs triumphs

Right at the border the Egyptian Antiquities Unit Bureau collaborating perfectly with the Antiquities and Tourism Police saved a priceless cultural object worth at least 100 euros from disappearing abroad. more ]

Appeal to save Syria’s archaeological heritage

The General Director of Antiquities and Museums at Syria’s Ministry of Culture asks the international community, UNESCO and the neighbouring countries to actively help preserve the cultural treasures of the country. more ]

Byzantine Church in Turkey re-converted to mosque

One of the most eminent Byzantine monuments on Turkish soil, a thirteenth century’s church, recently has been converted to a mosque. Although mosaics and wall paintings have been covered they are threatened by damage. And, unfortunately, this is no unique case! more ]

Symposium on the 30th Anniversary of the Cultural Property Implementation Act

The Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act was the result of ten years of lobbying and legislative drafting. This panel will explore the history of the CPIA, its implementation over the past thirty years and new ideas about improving it in the future. more ]

What is German cultural property?

In an interview with German newspaper ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ American Alan Wolan claims openly to have stolen the sign marking Checkpoint Charlie in 1990. Now he tries to make heavy money selling it. more ]

Coins and stones – bones of contention

The protection of cultural property is vital. But the measures Turkish officials are taking, when a tourist has ‘stolen’ ‘cultural property’ are alarming due to their disproportion. And we do not talk about isolated incidents. more ]

Agreement Extended To Protect Archaeological Heritage of China

A memorandum between the U.S. and China concerning the imposition of import restrictions on categories of archaeological material has been extended. This includes objects from the Paleolithic period, the Tang Dynasty as well as monumental sculpture and wall art at least 250 years old. more ]

USA releases new import restrictions on coins from Bulgaria

On January 16, 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced new import restrictions on coins from Bulgaria. This is another major expansion of import restrictions, and one that for the first time reaches coins made as recently as the 18th century. more ]

Lost Change – innovative mapping tool for England and Wales

The English Portable Antiquities Scheme has presented a new tool which locates around 300,000 coins found in the country on an interactive map. Numerous search options reveal new connections between coins and their mints. more ]

Safeguarding cultural property the Turkish way

While the IS movement destroys with impunity many cultural objects and monuments, Turkey has demonstrated how it intends to protect objects of national interest: with tanks and drones. more ]

Harmless collectors or dangerous criminals? Controversy about trial in Florida

In early 2013, 14 US citizens were arrested in the course of a major tactical raid. The reason: they collect Indian arrowheads and other artifacts which they either purchase or retrieve from Florida’s riverbeds and other waters themselves. more ]

Great Britain’s busy treasure hunters

According to the British Museum, almost 1,000 objects classified as treasures were discovered by hobby archaeologists and metal detectorists in 2012. Those private treasure hunters have contributed a lot to our knowledge about history. more ]

The Phatthalung gold treasure

On 24 or 25 May 2014, unknown persons discovered some gold ornaments in the South of Thailand. That has sparked a gold rush. Destitute people from the whole province are now digging for treasures. The Fine Arts Department of the government does not know what to do and has now called the army for help and threatens the population with punishment. more ]

CPAC Public Session on Egyptian MOU

Peter Tompa is a coin collector as well as a lawyer and expert in cultural property issues. In his blog he published an article on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) public session on the Egyption MOU. We re-publish this article in CoinsWeekly to help spreading it among numismatists. more ]

There is only the straight way – insights into Egypt’s antiquities organisation

Terrible things are happening in Egpyt: the cultural heritage of all of us is being destroyed. And there are reasons why that happens. An insider of this system denounces problems of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, corruption and vanity but also courage and commitment. Ursula Kampmann read her book, which unfortunately has been published right now only in German. more ]

When culture turns politics: The fight over the Crimean gold

Until the end of August 2014, gold treasures from the Crimean Peninsula were on exhibition in Amsterdam. Now, since Crimea has been annexed by Russia and the ownership of the objects is unclear, the museum doesn’t know where to send them. Both the Ukraine and Crimea claim rightful ownership. more ]

Heritage of Middle East victim of violence

The Middle East is engulfed by violence. Together with the peoples the cultural heritage of this region suffers from the civil wars. Many monuments are heavily damaged or destroyed. Often this happens even intentionally. more ]

One million registered coins at the Portable Antiquities Scheme

The British initiative Portable Antiquities Scheme looks back on 14 successful years – and one million registered finding coins! Members of the public have enriched enormously our knowledge of the past by reporting their findings. more ]

Has Saudi-Arabia no respect for its own past?

The Taliban are emblematic of despite for one’s own cultural past. When these fundamentalists destroy architecture and historical property in zones of civil war, a cry goes around the world. But some internationally respected countries are not better at all. more ]

Hunger Strike of Turkish Archaeologists Averted

“We’re at the end of our tether” – these are the words a Turkish archaeologist used to describe her situation. Unemployment and precarious work characterize the life of 99 % of trained archaeologists in Turkey. Now, the Turkish government has given in. more ]

No Evidence of Trade in Ancient Art Funding ISIS

Exhaustive investigation has revealed that the most important sources of the allegation the trade in ancient objects would finance IS are not existing. IADAA is summarizing the latest state of knowledge. more ]

Italy’s guarded numismatic treasure

Once again a fully fledged scandal seems to get lost among Italy’s daily business: barrels of collector coins and very rare issues from the time of Victor Emmanuel III have been stored away in a magazine for decades. No improvement in sight. more ]

Cultural property protection made in Switzerland

In all troubled regions not only the people but also cultural property suffer. While the humans may emigrate and claim asylum abroad, objects cannot. Not yet. But that could change very soon. more ]

Germany and its archaeology: scandal or commonplace?

German state NRW had announced drastic cutbacks in its heritage management. In the end these plans have been softened but a current case shows how disgracefully Germany takes care of its archaeological treasures. more ]

European Police Recover Thousands of Stolen Cultural Artefacts

Thirty-five individuals have been arrested and 2,289 cultural artefacts seized, in an international operation supported by Europol to prevent the theft and trafficking of European cultural property. The operation initiated 38 new investigations, with more expected. more ]

German Archaeological Institute cooperates with Qatar to save Sudanese pyramids

Qatar Museums and Sudan created a project to protect the archaeological heritage of Sudan. Now the German Archaeological Institute has joined the project in order to save the famous pyramids of Meroë from further decay. more ]

Enough Already: Oppose Yet Another Renewal of the Italian MOU

Italy has requested a renewal of its current Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the United States. It’s therefore possible that the import of Roman Imperial Coins will be restricted. Time to oppose and comment on the website, says Peter Tompa. more ]

With jackhammers against cultural heritage of humanity

A video has provoked worldwide consternation: the film shows once more radical IS fanatics destroying unscrupulously the cultural heritage of humanity. This time they hit Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrians, once among the world’s biggest cities. more ]

German Archaeological Institute demands end of trade in ancient objects as we have known it

On December 11 and 12, 2014, the German Archaeological Institute hosted a conference on “Cultural Heritage in Danger: Illicit Excavations and Trade” at the German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin. The message was clear. Archaeologists demand an end of the trade in ancient objects as we have known it. more ]

Property claim after 2000 years?

India reclaims a huge bowl from Afghanistan. Buddha himself, according to tradition, donated it to an Indian town. There is a catch in that matter, though: the bowl came to Afghanistan some 2000 years ago … more ]

4 Million Pictures from Endangered Archives

Historical documents, books and photographs as well as manuscripts are at constant risk of being destroyed, especially in poorer countries. The British Library has initiated a programme to digitise these documents. After ten years the database now boasts impressive 4 million images. more ]

Secret File of “Suspicious” Auctions

Some respected institutions plan a secret file of “suspicious” auctions for Germany. Archaeologists decide what is suspicious. Neither the owner nor the auctioneer can object, due to the file’s secret nature. more ]

Secularization in India

With a GDP growth of 5.9% in 2014, India is one of the world’s fastest expanding economies. Not good enough, thinks the government. It hopes for the Hindu temple gold to be melted down to curb annual gold imports. more ]

Ministerial draft updating the legislation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage

Since the draft for the new Law on the Protection of Cultural Property has been presented to a handful of specialists, there is an ongoing debate about it. Some lenders have already begun to withdraw their works of art from museums. Ursula Kampmann gives a summary of the new regulations. more ]

Online petition for preserving the right to privately collect

As the German Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media is systematically trying to suppress the legitimate wishes of coin collectors and dealers for the new law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage, an online petition is now aiming at illustrating how many people support a fair, stable and manageable legislation. more ]

For the preservation of private collecting – a preliminary report

The entire world of coin collectors and dealers has helped to make the petition “For the preservation of private collecting” a success. Even though the quorum currently amounts to slightly more than 10%, the petition already achieved great successes: the voting in the Council of Ministers has been postponed. more ]

The Becchina case – or: a footnote to practical aspects of the return of cultural property

Naturally, stolen items have to be returned. But what happens to seized objects if they aren’t claimed by any state? And why is it that in Italy even the most notorious tomb raiders go unpunished? The Becchina case presents us with unanswered questions. more ]

Ministerial draft of the amendment of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Property published

On September 15, 2015, the German Ministry for Culture and Media has finally published the long awaited ministerial draft of the amendment of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Property. It is now available on the internet. more ]

80 million euros for 12 major cultural projects in Italy

In August 2015, Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, announced plans to invest nearly 80 million euros in twelve important cultural projects. One such project aims at rebuilding the Colosseum floor, to provide a stage for gladiatorial fights to entertain tourists. more ]

The third draft of the amendment of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage – attempt at a summary

On September 14, 2015, the Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media presented the third draft of the amendment of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage. We will introduce you to the most important modifications in comparison to draft number two. more ]

The German Ministry of Finance sells unique collection of German economic history in London

The German Ministry of Finance has awarded Spink with the sale of the inventory of historic bonds from the former German Reichsbank from 1889 to 1945. The historically important documents will be going under the hammer in London on November 20, 2015. more ]

India’s minister condemns smelting of ancient coins

India doesn’t have a serious coin trade. This may be the reason why Indian Minister of State Hansraj Ahir, when attending a numismatic congress, called for a law against the smelting of ancient coins. more ]

The French Heritage Act, a law against the circulation and conservation of archeological data

Since September 2015, the French Parliament has been discussing a proposed law which will have serious repercussions for coin collecting as it might discourage discoverers from reporting their finds. more ]

US MOU with Italy Renewed

The United States Government has renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with Italy for another five years. Import restrictions on Greek, Punic, Etruscan, early Roman Republican and certain Imperial city coins of Italy will again be restricted from entry into the USA. more ]

German Federal Cabinet passes draft of the amendment of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage

On November 4, 2015, the German Federal Cabinet passed the ministerial draft of the amendment of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage presented by Monika Grütters, Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media. The political work is thus beginning. more ]

The new legislation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage concerning fossils and minerals

From October 30 to November 1, 2015, “The Munich Show” took place, the most important European trade fair for minerals and fossils. The main topic of discussion was the new legislation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage, in the light that the value threshold of 0 definitely applies to fossils and possibly to minerals. more ]

France offers asylum to endangered Syrian art

The headlines referring to the Islamic State committing atrocious acts are omnipresent. These acts not only affect millions of people, but also the cultural heritage of mankind. France declares the protection of this art a matter for the boss. more ]

Monika Grütters plays the European card in quarrel over Cultural Heritage

In order to implement an EU directive, Monika Grütters wants to issue the most rigid legislation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage Germany ever has had. Being confronted with strong resistance in her home country, she now attempts to make the European Union issue a stronger law. more ]

3D symbols against the terror

Starting in April 2016, replicas of blasted Syrian cultural heritage will be exhibited in London and New York in 3D and original size. The famous Palmyra arch is currently being recreated using the world’s biggest 3D printer. more ]

Public Asked to Comment on the Proposed Renewal of the MOU with Greece

Responding to the U.S. Department of State’s proposal to renew the Memorandum of Understanding with Greece, cultural property issue expert Peter K. Tompa asks all fellow coin collectors to comment. more ]

US customs destroys cultural heritage

The protection of endangered species is at the heart of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. In order to enforce CITES, US custom officials forced British antique dealers to destroy valuable antiques. more ]

Cultural Affairs Committee refuses to accept petition “For preserving the right to privately collect”, signed by 44,500 supporters

44,500 citizens have signed the petition “For preserving the right to privately collect”. In signing, they are calling for the proposed law not to put unrealistic demands on private collectors. However, the Cultural Committee has refused to accept an official handover of the signatures, citing time constraints and questioning its validity. more ]

Artworks seized at New York Asia Week

An orchestrated series of highly publicized seizures during the New York Asia Week questions the viability of this important event. Kate Fitz Gibbon, lawyer and independent art historian specialized in Central Asia, reports what has happened. more ]

Instant Conviction of Japanese Dealer

One of the most shocking episodes in the Asia Week series of seizures was the lightning-fast conviction of Japanese art dealer Tatsuzo Kaku under a plea agreement with the New York prosecutor, just one week after he was arrested. Kate Fitz Gibbon reports. more ]

Sherlock proves 23,000 missing artworks to France

France cannot find 23,000 cultural objects, as proven by a new online database. One of the problems is the division of responsibility which makes such an irresponsible handling of the country’s historical heritage possible. more ]

Antiquities Coalition Own Study Debunks Claims

Anti-art trade interest groups have been claiming that IS makes billions of dollars by selling out its cultural patrimony. A new study funded in part by those interest groups themselves denies that: terrorist funding estimate drops from $7 billion to “four million” – worldwide. more ]

Bundestag approves the amendment of the German Cultural Property Protection Act

On Thursday, June 23, 2016, with the votes of the coalition factions and the opposition abstaining, the Bundestag adopted the draft bill. more ]

The new Cultural Property Protection Act – An interview with Ansgar Heveling

Ansgar Heveling, Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary faction of the Committee on Culture and Media Affairs, answers CoinsWeekly’s questions about the impact of the new German Cultural Property Protection Act. more ]

New German Cultural Property Protection Act into effect

As of August 6, 2016 the new German Cultural Property Protection Act is effective. Here you can find which objects are concerned in regard to their export from Germany. more ]

Egypt Builds Pharaoh-Sized Museum; Ignores Theft and Abuse at Sites

Egypt is spending over $1 billion to build a gigantic museum for its tourists. At the same time the country fails to enforce security at storehouses and archaeological sites, and treats its cultural heritage carelessly. more ]

What an ethical guideline for coin collectors could look like

Shanna Schmidt is member of a task group which is discussing guidelines responsible dealers could adhere to. She says that many dealers already are following these guidelines without any official commitment. These guidelines could be a model for collectors. more ]

Building a Bridge between Ancient Coin Collecting and Good Ethical Practice

Nathan T. Elkins is archaeologist, numismatist and an active participant in the debate about building a bridge between ancient coin collecting and good ethical practice. He has developed his code of ethics for collectors. more ]

Dam to Submerge Town of Hasankeyf

Turkey’s Ilisu dam project to contain the waters of the Tigris will force out residents of the town of Hasankeyf and cover the remains of at least 300 sites and 12,000 years of history under 200 feet of water. more ]

‘Gold rush’ in Northern India?

In the previous weeks, the Indian city Chandpur witnessed some kind of ‘gold rush’, as the media called it. It has not been triggered by gold but archaeological artefacts. more ]

Guidelines for Coin Traders in Dealing with the German Cultural Assets Protection Act

The German law on the revision of the Cultural Assets Protection Act has substantial impact on the coin trade. The two coin dealer associations have sought legal advice from a specialist lawyer providing first recommendations for further action in your day-to-day business. more ]

Legislation Proposed in US to Seize and Forfeit Cultural Property

A new US bill grants federal agencies virtually unlimited discretion to seize and repatriate cultural artifacts that have been long-traded and displayed in the USA. The monetary threshold for prosecution for possession or sale of stolen property will be reduced to $50.00! more ]

The European Union conducts a survey on rules on the import of cultural goods

Since October 28, 2016 the European Commission is conducting a public consultation on rules on the import of cultural goods. All parties concerned, including private collectors and dealers, can contribute – providing they speak excellent English. more ]

Paphos Mayor Accuses Museum Staff of Stealing Antiquities

In Cyprus a dispute has arisen between the local mayor and the director of the archaeological museum. Both have different opinions why so many artifacts have not been digitized yet. more ]

Failure to Register Inventory Closes Israeli Antiquities Shop

Israel’s Antiquities Authority has moved to close down several licensed dealers for failure to complete inventories required under new laws upheld by Israel’s High Court in January 2016 which required computerized documentation. more ]

No home for India’s priceless heritage

Indian Government is at a loss where to keep ‘stolen’ national treasures worth $100 million when US sends them back. Ivan Macquisten points out a central problem of returning cultural artefacts to source countries without proper preparations. more ]

New Archaeological Discoveries Enlighten Britain’s Past

Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure annual reports announced the recording of a further 82,272 archaeological finds comprising 1,008 Treasure finds. PAS is now working closely with other European areas establishing a North Sea Area finds recording group. more ]

Museums win bid to keep antiquities

A US federal court has ruled that victims of a terror attack financed by Iran cannot claim Persian artefacts as compensation. Eight victims had hoped to take possession of museum collections in order to sell them to meet the $17.5m judgment against Iran. more ]

EU survey on the import of cultural goods finally available in German

Finally, the EU survey on the public consultation on rules on the import of cultural goods can also be accessed in all European languages. Please do not hesitate to fill it in. It’s your democratic right as a collector and dealer! The consultation is open until January 23, 2017. more ]

U.S. Embargoes Egyptian Coins among other artifacts

The US Government has published an extensive list of artifacts subject to import restrictions. Peter Tompa summarizes the coins which are concerned. more ]

Pandora’s Big Disappointment

“Operation Pandora” was a major investigation program lasting over two months in 18 countries. It had very small results for such a massive operation and did provide no evidence of the antiquities trade’s association with terrorist activity. Kate Fitz Gibbon reports. more ]

Impossible Standards? UK Bill Makes Trade in Items from Conflict Zones Since 1954 Illegal

A United Kingdom bill, the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017, has been enacted by Parliament. The chief controversy comes from a clause defining what is unlawfully exported cultural property and which is even retroactive. Kate Fitz Gibbon reports. more ]

Official recommendation on the new Cultural Property Protection Act

The official recommendation on the new German Cultural Property Protection Act has been published at the beginning of April. We will tell you where you can order it. Furthermore, the legal text has finally been translated into English by the ministry. more ]

Egypt's former minister says antiquities should stay abroad

Most Egyptian artefacts held abroad were exported legally, says Egypt’s former Antiquities Minister and argues that it is in his country’s interests to leave them where they are. more ]

Antiquities trade in Egypt

There are books we have been anticipating for years. This is one of them. It paints a detailed picture of the Egyptian antiquities trade, not black, not white, but with many shades of grey. Ursula Kampmann has taken a look at the book. more ]

Interrelations in the protection of cultural property - the American way

Planned tightening of the laws on protection of cultural property in the US deepens the divide between collectors and opponents of the art market. The pretext of the war against terrorism is used to cover particular interests and massive personal interrelations with the economy. more ]

Puzzle over Zahi Hawass

According to Egyptian media, controversial Zahi Hawass has been appointed UN Ambassador for Global Heritage. Reliable source material is hard to find, though. So, what do we make of this news? more ]

Council of Europe adopts Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property

On May 3, 2017, the Council of Europe has adopted a convention that aims to establish uniform rules in regards to cultural property. The convention is still based on the allegation that the trade in antiquities promotes international terrorism. more ]

Egypt punishes illicit trade in antiquities with life imprisonment

The Egyptian cabinet approves a tightening of the law on the illicit trade in ancient objects. With a sentence of life in prison, it stands alongside the leaking of state secrets. Therewith, the Land on the Nile hopes to guard its cultural property more properly. more ]

ANS repatriates coins to Austrian Museum

In 1995 the American Numismatic Society acquired 94 coins which were rumored to have come from a museum in Austria in 1945. In the meantime the rightful owner was proved, and the coins were repatriated end of May. more ]

Report on UNESCO 1970 Conference in Paris 2017

On May 15-16, 2017, the fourth meeting of the state parties to the 1970 UNESCO Convention took place in Paris. Representing The International Federation of Dealer Associations CINOA, IADAA chairman Vincent Geerling attended the meeting. Here is his report. more ]

New UNESCO Heritage Sites

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has added 21 sites to the World Heritage List during the 41st meeting in Krakow. Five sites were extended and for the first time Angola and Eritrea are present in the prestigious list. more ]

Sniffer dogs: the new secret weapon in the war against illegal antiquities trade?

The claim that the antiquities trade is a significant source for financing the terror in the Middle East stubbornly persists. To fight it sniffer dogs are now used in the US to locate illegally excavated artefacts. more ]

Another tourist arrested for smuggling of cultural goods in Turkey

Toby Robyns, 52, from West Sussex, is currently threatened with three years in prison. He had gone on a relaxing holiday trip to the southern coast of Turkey with his kids. Found with 12 coins in his luggage as he tried to fly home, he was remanded in custody. more ]

Facts About the Art Trade, Terrorism and the Size of the Illicit Market

The Dutch National Police has commissioned a study on terrorism and the size of the illicit market. It confirms what associations of art and coin dealers have been telling for decades: The allegations are nothing else than media hoaxes. Kate Fitzgibbon gives an overview. more ]

EU Report backs art dealers’ position

The final report from Deloitte for the European Commission confirms other reports that there is no evidence at all that an illicit market in cultural property run by organised crime exists. However, it comes to predictably wrong conclusions. Read a briefing by IADAA. more ]

Complaint against the German KGSG with the European Commission

Within the German coalition talks, the revision of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Property is also part of the agenda – as a concern of the Free Democratic Party. The law has proved to be unrealistic, which is why a complaint is pending before the European Commission. more ]

Investment plans vs. heritage conservation

With an investment project for Athen’s defunct Ellinikon Airport, debt-ridden Greece currently becomes a talking point. Archaeologists believe a planned tourist resort to endanger cultural heritage. But now the way seems cleared. more ]

Portable Antiquities Scheme Reports a Record Year for Treasure Found by the Public

At the launch of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure annual reports at the British Museum it was announced that the number of new Treasure discoveries by members of the public had hit a record level. Read more about some of the fascinating finds. more ]

Who owns the Jewish cultural heritage in Iraq?

An international debate has arisen over the fate of Jewish cultural heritage. Iraq is demanding that the U.S. returns an archive confiscated by Iraqi officials 30 years ago – a story of dealing with history. more ]

Political reasons for false numbers in the cultural property discussion

In his comprehensive article, author Michael Press traces the deliberate use of false numbers in the cultural property discussion to support people’s own political views. more ]

India opens Pandora’s Box

Only 3,650 of India’s 500,000 monuments are protected by law. A study has shown that the legal regulations are hardly ever put into practice. A new law will make the situation a lot worse. more ]

FEDEX takes the gloves off, when Russian Embargo is concerned

Those who like laughing (and who are not trying to sent an object to a customer abroad) will love this email exchange of an over-challenged representative of FEDEX, a recipient and an auctioneer. more ]

World Customs Organisation Illicit Trade Report 2016

For the first time the World Customs Organisation has analysed in their Illicit Trade Report also the trafficking of cultural property. The figures show how absurd the claim is that trafficking of cultural property comes third in quantity after drugs and weapons. more ]

Art Dealer Program Brings Over 100 Artifacts Back to Tribes

Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association has returned over 100 ceremonial artifacts to Southwestern Indian tribes. This celebrates the phenomenal success of ATADA’s Voluntary Returns Program, a model for community action. more ]

To Repatriate or Not to Repatriate: That is the Question

Copenhagen’s David Collection is world-renowned for its collection of exquisite examples of Islamic art. Turkey has now requested repatriation of numerous items. Denmark has become a leading case as sending art back means it can only be experienced in source countries. more ]

Sotheby refuses to accept Greek ownership claims

Sotheby has filed a lawsuit against the Greek Ministry of Culture in a New York court. Greece had previously demanded the return of an object of excellent provenance. The auction house intends to clarify the rights of legal ownership. more ]

EU Adds Art Dealers to Money Laundering Rules

Anti-money laundering regulations have repeatedly been subject to change and tightening. The latest update of EU rules will burden dealers of art and antiquities in unprecedented dimensions. more ]

Congressman Wants Bank Secrecy Act to Regulate Art Trade

Against the backdrop of the fight against money laundering, a Republican Congressman has laid a draft bill before the House of Representatives which could hurt art and coin collectors financially. more ]

New Sites on World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee inscribed 19 out of 28 nominated sites on the World Heritage List. It also approved the extension of one natural site. Among the new sites is the Viking complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke in Germany, and Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. more ]

Italy cracks down on smuggling ring

In a wide-ranging raid, Italian police have successfully cracked down on a smuggling ring. Allegedly, the arrested members excavated antiquities illegally and then shipped them abroad to be sold. Arrests were made in other countries, too. more ]

Whose Truth? NYT Journalist Accused of Stealing Cultural Property

Some politicians still believe that the funding of ISIS is based on the sale of looted antiquities. A US-American journalists has overturned this false claims. The criticism she earned challenges our appreciation of scientific freedom. more ]

Blaze Destroys National Museum of Brazil

On September 2, 2018, a large fire destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Up to 20 million items are said to have been lost in the flames. The Brazilian population blames primarily the government and its officials for this catastrophe. more ]

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