Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Just More Window Dressing?

According to the latest 2016 MOU with Italy, both Italy and the US promise to explore ways to facilitate the export of artifacts legally for sale within Italy itself.   MOU Art. II G.  Yet, in earlier MOU's, Italy seemingly promised more concrete efforts to make the process of legal export simpler.

According to the Art. II of the 2001 and 2006 MOUs,

F. The Government Of the United States of America acknowledges the efforts by the Government of the Republic of Italy in recent years to review the laws concerning the export of archaeological artifacts and to improve the efficiency of the system to release certificates of exportation. The Government of the Republic of Italy will continue to examine new ways to facilitate the export of archaeological items legitimately sold within Italy.

In 2011, the year that US import restrictions were extended to "coins of Italian types," the language changed as follows:

G. Noting that the law of Italy, as it currently stands, allows the purchase of archaeological objects of verified legal provenance, the Government of the Republic of Italy and the Government of the United States will discuss and explore ways to facilitate the legal export of such objects.

H. The discussions mentioned above in paragraphs E. and G. will take place during the first half of the year 2011.

The promise contained in Art. II of the 2011 MOU, has been repeated in the 2016 MOU, but without any "discussions" on the subject.

Yet, as well known numismatic dealer Arturo Russo indicated in his public comments to CPAC as it was considering the 2016 renewal, if anything, after US import restrictions were put in place on "coins of Italian types" in 2011, Italian cultural authorities made it even more difficult to export coins legally on the market in Italy, apparently  because they perceived otherwise "the Americans" would not think Italy "serious" about protecting its cultural patrimony.

So, will the new MOU really help facilitate the export of artifacts legally for sale in Italy itself or are its promises just more window dressing?


Duncan Finch said...

Of course the promises are "just more window dressing." Are you being intentionally naive? You are a lawyer, for gosh sake! If the Italian government could end private collecting they would, and the US government would help them (assuming that we are not talking about the collecting of guns). Keep up the fight though: remember we still think about the defenders of the Alamo and recall their names, while the army that wiped them out is no more than dust.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Thanks, I think....