Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spanish Inquisition?

This story was posted on an ancient coins discussion list:

This is a letter that Antonio (from Lucernae) in Spain wrote to a good friend of mine detailing what occurred late last year.

Antonio (lucernae) writes:

On december 1 I had one of the worse experiences in my life because police come into my home and office searching all the ancient coins I had. They remove all my stock and account balances, documents, pendrives with info and pictures, computers, all my work material. They say that I buy the coins from not legal sellers and suppliers and it is a lie. I always buy my coins from Ancient Auction Houses and I have my invoices and all the info available but they did not listened to me. I have in a judicial process and it is so large here in Spain, maybe it could take more than 2 years in the way and I´m inocent. I´m sure that they finally send me back all but the financial damage is incredible, more than 40.000 euros have been confiscated (coins, computers, material, all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and around 3.500 of my nice late roman coins for clean too. I´m always buying large lots of uncleaned roman coins from Ancient Coins Auction Houses in all Europe and this is my fault!!!!!!!!!!!!! HORRIBLE!! This is an stupid and crazy actuation againt me, maybe a formal complaint of an envious seller?? I do not what happened really but all my coins are blocked and confiscated and the sumary is secret yet. I think that with God help all must to be clare in the next months but I repeat, Justice here in Spain is slow as a tortle.

Archaeo-Blogger Paul Barford and friends are already gloating about the story, see http://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2011/01/coin-dealer-in-trouble.html and perhaps mixing it up with another crack-down on Spanish Metal Detectorists, but I've heard other similar stories from Germany, Italy and the United States where the authorities ultimately return all the material after holding it for months for an "investigation." Hopefully, that will happen here.

Ultimately, there is a danger for archaeologists and law enforcement that there will be a backlash against such heavy-handed tactics. Such a backlash against the Spanish Inquisition eventually brought reform to the Church. Hopefully, reform of Spain's laws (which have been overly-restrictive since 1985) may ultimately occur here as well.

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