Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More "Publicity" About FOIA Lawsuit and Questions That Follow About 1970 Rule for Coins

David Gill and fellow SAFE bloggers Nathan Elkins and Paul Barford have made no less than six (6) posts in 24 (twenty-four) hours commenting in predictably unfavorable terms on various aspects of an update on this blog about the ACCG-IAPN-PNG FOIA lawsuit and its effort to force some transparency on the State Department bureaucracy. To varying degrees, the tenor of their comments suggest that "the distasteful nature of the dialogue" that has developed with respect to cultural property issues has as much to do with themselves as anyone else.

When they are not insulting the Plaintiffs or the former CPAC Chair who submitted a declaration in the litigation, they touch on various legal issues related to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") and the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act ("CPIA"). However, rather than relying on Gill and friends for legal analysis, I instead suggest reviewing Scott Hodes' "the FOIA Blog" (see: http://thefoiablog.typepad.com/) and the ECA's own "International Cultural Heritage Protection" website for information about the governing law. See: http://culturalheritage.state.gov/overview.html A short recap of the CPIA can also be found on this blog here: http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2008/07/short-recap-of-cultural-property.html Certainly, Barford in particular is way off base when he claims that the only relevant criteria under the CPIA is whether or not coins are "archaeological objects." Additionally, he also shows little, if any, understanding about the practical effect of import restrictions on those trying to legally import large numbers of ancient coins.

In any event, at the end of his own musings on the subject, Gill wonders aloud, "Is it usual, tolerable, moral and legal (and not forgetting ethical) to acquire recently-surfaced archaeological objects (including coins) that have no recorded collecting history prior to 1970?" See: http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2009/04/collector-on-cpac-looking-back.html

My answer, at least with respect to coins is, of course, a resounding, Yes! See: http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2008/08/cyprus-caari-and-boccf-there-is-as.html Indeed, I would appreciate Gill naming for me any and all well known numismatic scholars that unequivocally support his 1970 acquisition date rule for coins. I certainly am not aware of any, but admittedly, I don't run in Gill's circles.

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