Following the lead of Italy, Greece has asked the State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) for import restrictions be imposed on cultural property.
Even though there has not been a decision made on the Italian request, the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) is asking for your help in responding to the CPAC. I said before, this can damage the hobby for everyone. It can start with Italy and Greece, but where does it stop? Will Canada come after my collection of Canadian coins? What about the 1912 Russian banknotes my relatives brought with them when they landed at Ellis Island? Once this snowball begins to roll downhill, what is to prevent congress from declaring pattern coins as contraband? It reminds me of a numismatic version of the “First they came…” attributed Pastor Martin Niemöller about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets.
This time, the State Department is using the facilities of regulations.gov to facilitate the response. First I recommend reading the notice “Receipt of Cultural Property Request from the Government of the Hellenic Republic.” Then go to this article on the Cultural Property Observer blog that has five good talking points for you to include in your response. Then write your note in a separate window because there is a 20-minute time limit on the regulations.gov page.
When you are ready, you can go to the comments page and upload the file or copy and paste your note in the space provided.
According to Wayne G. Sayles, Executive Director of ACCG, “Don’t worry about getting the content perfect, just state in your own words why you oppose import restrictions on ancient coins. It doesn’t need to be long, nor eloquent.”
The comment period ends on September 22, 2010 and the meeting of the CPAC is scheduled for October 12, 2010. Please lend your support before a government comes after your favorite collectibles!