We haven't followed all the twists and turns in the tussle over import restrictions on ancient coins, but Arthur Shippee forwarded this report (found in this week's Explorator newsletter), about the latest court bout between the U.S. Government and the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild. The coins in question were undoubtedly shipped with the intention of having them confiscated in order to trigger a test case. The group has gotten their wish.
U.S. Customs agents refuse to return 23 ancient coins they seized unfairly - some from Cyprus, where coins were minted by Alexander the Great, the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild claims in Federal Court. The Guild says Customs unfairly and arbitrarily applies import restrictions on historical coins, which have been traded for centuries and are of moderate value because there are so many of them.
Of the 23 coins seized, Customs reported that three were knife-shaped, seven were from Cyprus and 12 from China.
The Guild says Customs seized the coins because it could not "establish a chain of custody beyond receipt from a reputable source."
"Historical coins have actively been traded for at least 500 years as collectibles. Due to their usual modest value and the huge numbers extant, historical coins are typically traded without any provenance information or documentary history as to where and when they were found," the Guild says.
The Missouri-based Collectors Guild says it bought the coins in London and its broker sent them to Baltimore, where Customs seized them.
The group says Customs refuses to file a forfeiture action for the coins, which the Guild values at $275.
The Guild sued Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State for arbitrarily applying import restrictions on ancient coins, and violating the Fifth Amendment by taking the coins without filing a forfeiture action. It wants the court to declare the restrictions illegal, and it wants the coins back.
To read the complete article, see:
Ancient Coin Collectors Guild Says Uncle Sam Seizes Coins Arbitrarily
Wayne Homren, Editor
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