Wednesday, January 19, 2011

State Department Imposes Import Restrictions on Certain "Coins of Italian Type"

The State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and U.S. Customs have decided to impose import restrictions on certain "coins of Italian type." See

The categories of coins subject to the restriction under applicable Customs and Border Protection regulations are as follows:

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’’

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.

In making its decision, the State Department: (1) changed existing precedent allowing for an exemption, though there has been no change in the underlying facts; (2) ignored the vast majority of the public comment against such restrictions at the MOU hearing before CPAC; (3) ignored the concerns raised by members of Congress; (4) imposed requirements that only discriminate against American collectors and the small businesses of the numismatic trade; and (5) issued impossible to comply with documentation requirements at the very moment President Obama and Congress have promised to scale back job killing regulations. See and

I suspect there will be much joy at the Archaeological Institute of America that the State Department bureaucracy has again bent to its will. Still, one must ask is it really worth creating the additional enmity against archaeologists these ill-considered restrictions are certain to ensure?

1 comment:

Ed Snible said...

Do you or the ACCG have any guidelines on how to document a coin left Italy before a certain date?

I am concerned both about coins I might bid on at European auctions and about documentation I might have to provide should I sell my collection someday.

I feel like I understand how these restrictions might work as coins go through customs but perhaps you could blog about challenges under the MOU on coins already in the US. If a Greek Italian coin is listed in the catalog of a US firm does the Italian state have any new options beyond filing a lawsuit?