Thursday, September 28, 2017
The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild has filed a reply brief in the long running forfeiture action related to the coins the Guild imported for purposes of a test case. Due process requires the government to make out each element of its case before private property may be forfeited. Simple, no? For more, see here.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Eurocrats Find Little Evidence Terrorist Artifacts Entering Market, But that Does Not Stop Calls for Draconian Legislation
Ivan Maquisten writes that EU bureaucrats believe the absence of evidence that ISIS looted material is entering the market is reason for more draconian controls, not fewer. The bureaucratic thinking is that vast amounts of looted material must be entering the market unnoticed under current customs regimes. Of course, those who seek to justify draconian regulation will not consider the distinct possibility the extent of ISIS looting has been greatly overstated by Russian and Syrian propagandists and archaeological advocacy groups for their own purposes. Moreover, it does not help that the EU cultural bureaucracy-- like its US counterpart-- only considers archaeologists and foreign governments legitimate stakeholders in the issue. No wonder the cultural bureaucracy is so distrusted by collectors and the small businesses of the antiquities and numismatic trade.
Friday, September 22, 2017
Just What One would Expect from a Military Dictatorship That Respects Neither Private Property Rights Nor Human Rights
Egyptian government officials have attacked an edict of a religious scholar approving of landowners keeping treasure found on their own land as long as part is given to charity. Meanwhile, a member of the country's parliament seeks the death penalty for anyone caught with illicit antiquities. Just what one would expect in a military dictatorship with a rump parliament that respects neither private property rights nor human rights.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
One can only hope one of the few Trump political appointees at the State Department takes a close look at the Obama Administration deal to repatriate the Iraqi Jewish Archive. Such a repatriation would seem to be against everything America stands for. Some of the materials were originally confiscated from Iraqi Jews who were forced to leave their country under Saddam Hussein. Others appear to be taken from schools and synagogues after they left. All the material was stored in the basement of Iraqi secret police headquarters, and became waterlogged after the building was bombed during the liberation of Iraq. The US Government spent considerable time and money restoring and digitizing them. This is yet another situation where UNESCO's repatriationist dogma has been allowed to take precedence over not only the facts, but what is right. The archive should not be returned to sectarian Iraq. Or, at a minimum, the entire contents of the archive should be publicized so that individual Iraqi Jews can make claims on what is rightly the property of their own families.