I attended the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Convention in Baltimore, Maryland today. What makes this show different from others is the foreign participation. For example, I spoke with ancient coin dealers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland while I was there. I suspect there were also some foreign collectors in attendance, though not as many foreign dealers and collectors as those that come to the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) every January. For more about the ANA and NYINC see: http://www.money.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=ANA_Conventions&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=12462 and http://www.nyinc.info/
The State Department's Bureau of Educational Affairs (ECA) purports to support such people to people contacts, but typically does so through institutional exchanges. See http://exchanges.state.gov/news/2004/040204.htm ("ECA, comprises a team of 350 people who manage over 30,000 professional, academic and cultural exchanges worldwide every year.") Groups like the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute are the main beneficiaries of such federal largess. See http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2008/05/cash-and-caari-cyprus-american.html This work costs the taxpayer money.
You would think that ECA would also support activities like the ANA and NYINC as way to promote such people to people contacts between Americans and foreigners AT NO COST TO THE US TAXPAYER. Yet, import restrictions like those ECA recently imposed on "coins of Cypriot type" threaten to make foreign participation in such coin fairs as a thing of the past.
Hopefully, the ECA's new bosses, James Glassman and Goli Ameri, will avoid the "tunnel vision" of members of the archaeological community that agitate for import restrictions and instead consider all the interests at stake before imposing such a draconian remedy in the future.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
People to People Contacts Through a Shared Interest in Numismatics
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