The exhibit is well done and thankfully avoids modern day politics. See http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2010/10/state-sets-secret-hearing-on-cyprus-mou.html
I hope to say more about it in another post, but for now let me just comment on the historical coins from ancient times to the Venetian period that were exhibited:
All were lent by the private Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation.
No provenance information was provided for the coins.
None listed a recorded find spot.
The Bank of Cyprus purchases coins on the open market from the same sources American collectors buy from.
Yet, the AIA, the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundations and Cypriot cultural bureaucracy successfully agitated for extending import restrictions to coins, claiming that unprovenanced coins should be treated as "stolen." Members of the AIA and CAARI have also argued that artifacts without a known provenance lose their value for study.
Is the MOU about protecting archaeology or giving the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation and Cypriot collectors a competitive advantage over American collectors who can no longer legally import undocumented coins?
Is there something wrong with this picture? Is this more of do what we say, not what we do?
Why does the Obama State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs countenance such discrimination against American collectors and the small businesses of the numismatic trade? And why are they also claiming that such discrimination is not subject to review by a court?
For more about the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, see