Wednesday, February 11, 2009

eBay Germany Cancels Ancient Coin Auctions

eBay Germany has cancelled ancient coin auctions under new rules requiring provenance information for even common items deemed to be archaeological in nature. See:

The allusions to the Third Reich in the above thread may be needlessly inflammatory, but they reflect real frustration with eBay Germany and the authorities' construction of Germany's recent law implementing the 1970 UNESCO Convention. Adding fuel to the fire, one has to also assume that eBay's action is related to the recent seizures of entire coin collections based on the unknowing purchase of just several "suspect coins" on eBay. See:

I am no expert on German law, but based on my experience here in the United States, I do wonder whether the eBay Germany regulations and seizures are based on a fair reading of the governing law or some distorted version of the same being promoted by "hardliners" in the German archaeological community.

Presumably, eBay and the authorities will be called to justify their actions by members of the German numismatic community. We can only wait and see what comes of it.

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