Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mass Destruction or Mass Deception?

Anti-trade academic Neil Brodie apparently thinks ISIS must be selling coins to fund itself based on the appearance of 23 "new" Syrian Tetradrachms on the market per year since the start of the Syrian civil war.  According to the study Brodie cites, this is an increase in the average of 17 "new" coins per year that appeared previously.

However, even assuming the increase can possibly be attributed to ISIS as opposed to the Assad regime, the "Free Syrian Army," destitute Syrian refugees selling off their own collections, or some new find outside Syria, the amounts of money sales of such coins could possibly generate won't do much to help fund a terrorist army. 

So, the appearance of so few "new" coins on the market, if anything, underscores the fact that the amounts ISIS must really be making from antiquities sales is probably quite minimal in reality, despite the best efforts of the archaeological lobby to justify the millions of dollars it has received from the State Department and other sources to "study" the issue and lobby for further crack-downs on collecting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Hacked emails have confirmed the suspicions of Senator Bernie Sanders' followers that the powers that be in the Democratic National Committee-- who are supposed to be neutral-- in fact sought to rig the system against him and his campaign.

Collectors, both here and in Germany, already know that feeling.  In the US, the State Department-- which is supposed to be neutral when it comes to deciding whether foreign requests for MOUs meet the criteria in the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act-- has never rejected one. Even worse, when a last minute effort to engineer import restrictions on Cypriot coins was turned down by the State Department's own Cultural Property Advisory Committee, the State Department's Bureau of Educational Affairs imposed them anyway and then went so far as to mislead the public and Congress about CPAC's true recommendations.  That, of course, gave the State Department bureaucrats license to do the same with other coins from Bulgaria, China, Greece, and Italy, citing the Cyprus decision as "precedent."

The situation is even worse in Germany.  There almost 50,000 collectors and dealers made their valid concerns known about a draconian new law, but CDU Culture Minister Monika Grutters rammed it through anyway, cheered on only by a small group of mostly authoritarian cultural nationalist countries and the German Archaeological Institute, which is part of Germany's Foreign Ministry.  Again, the desires of connected insiders associated with the archaeological lobby and the bureaucracy seemed to take precedence over the concerns of ordinary people and small businesses. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

ACCG files Motion for Summary Judgment

My law firm has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of the ACCG in its long running case against the government.  The motion asks for the return of its Cypriot and Chinese coins because the ACCG has rebutted the government's case for forfeiture with expert testimony.  The expert testimony of Douglas Mudd shows that it is more probable than not that the coins were outside of either Cyprus or China before restrictions were imposed.  The expert testimony of Michael McCullough, Esq. demonstrates that the Cypriot coins were legally exported from the UK which under EU law binding on Cyprus satisfies US law. Alternatively, the Guild seeks the return of the coins because the government has not met its own burden of proof to forfeit the Guild's coins.   Under Court rules, the government's response and cross-motion for summary judgment is due August 1st.