Monday, February 10, 2014

What's Left of the MOU with Italy?

In 2011, our State Department sold out the interests of American coin collectors for no good reason when it approved new restrictions on ancient coins of  Italian type in conjunction with an extension of a MOU with Italy.  Unbelievably, those new Customs regulations bar entry of the exact same types of coins that are openly and legally available for sale within Italy itself.

Under that same MOU, US museums were supposed to benefit from long term loans from Italy of high-quality archaeological artifacts.  Now, however, Sicily says not so fast-- it wants to renegotiate such agreements, presumably by charging high loan fees for what decides to send abroad.

CPO submits that Sicily has every right to do so, but then so too should there be a "renegotiation" of the MOU with Italy.  In particular, it should be scrapped altogether or at least modified so that there are no longer any restrictions on the same types of artifacts freely available within Italy and EU itself.  That would certainly include coins, but some other types of artifacts as well.

The burdens such restrictions place on Americans could never really be justified as necessary to "protect archaeological context" given such an internal market within Italy.  And now, with Sicily's decision to scotch further loans, what's the remaining reasons for any  MOU with the Italian National Government?  None, it would seem, unless, of course, it's really always only been about suppressing the trade at the behest of the State Department's Cultural Heritage Center and its allies within the archaeological establishment.

1 comment:

Andy Baines said...

Hi Peter,
I regularly read your blog and find it very interesting. I have started my first blog here in the uk. Im a metal detectorist and im keen to try and clean up the image of metal detecting and the collecting of artefacts. I was wondering if I could plug my blog here.

Regards

http://diaryofadetectorist.blogspot.co.uk