Thursday, July 23, 2015

Petition Against New Anticollecting German Law

German collectors are appealing for support of their petition against a new German law that very seriously threatens collecting of all ancient artifacts, including coins:

Here is what they have to say to collectors everywhere about this malevolent law:

"The stipulations of the amendment of the law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage threaten the collecting of cultural objects by private individuals. This law will effect everybody specialized in traditional collecting fields, such as books, stamps, furniture, ceramics, coins, classic cars and paintings. Retroactively, this new law will impose due diligence guidelines that are impossible to follow even for the most meticulous collector. When it comes to a dispute, the law will require, by reversing the burden of proof, the owner of a “cultural good” with a value of at least 2,500 euros to provide proof as to the item’s provenance for the previous 20 years; this affects “archaeological cultural goods” with a value as low as 100 euros. 

This is an unrealistic demand which misrepresents most of the objects that are currently traded on the domestic and the international art market in full accordance with the law as being illegal, and will result in a considerable decline in value of the objects in question.

We therefore demand a law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage that observes the following principles:

• No retroactive effect of the law
• No reversal of the burden of proof
• A clear definition of the term “national cultural heritage” and a limit to claims by the state to “national cultural heritage” only 
• Free movement, unimpaired by bureaucratic obstacles, of cultural goods which are not classified as “natural cultural heritage”, EU-wide, according to the free movement of goods 
• An appropriate participation by the parties representing collectors and dealers in the law-making process

For centuries collectors have protected cultural heritage. Private collecting adds to national efforts and promotes the tradition’s preservation in all its variety, in a way museums alone could never accomplish. Collecting is an immaterial cultural heritage that is currently threatened by the latest drafts of the new German law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage."

This petition is supported by the ACCG, and I have signed it myself.

If these recommendations don't suffice to motivate you, here is another:

Infamous Warsaw archaeo-blogger Paul Barford has attacked the petition in his usual derogatory and insulting manner:

This is the same blogger whose qualifications as an archaeologist are apparently so obscure and unimpressive that he refuses to disclose them publicly.

I am very glad that Mr. Barford has assailed this petition in such offensive terms. I can think of no better incentive for collectors everywhere to make haste to sign it!

This is a threat to collectors everywhere: "Today Germany, tomorrow the world." 

********** UPDATE 7/23/2015 **********

It did not take the archaeo-blogger posing so unconvincingly as the "collectors' friend" to find some specious and characteristically misleading remarks in response to the above:

"Interestingly, a Californian dugup coin dealer tries to spin proposed new due diligence requirements in Germany as an "anticollecting law" ... (much turgid anticollecting verbiage omitted) ... So, if you are a sheep, sign the petition to (allegedly) "Save Collecting and Save the World". The rest of you who can think for yourselves, work out why dealers are upset about this, and why they are so desperate to get a petition signed to oppose real due diligence and act accordingly. To the pathetic and unconcerned sheep I say, be careful what you wish for."

Indeed, be careful what you wish for. You might perhaps get a world in which honest, law-abiding people such as you don't have to worry about grossly unfair and unreasonable anticollecting laws, or being scolded by the outrageously offensive likes of Mr. Barford, who has yet to demonstrate that he is anything remotely resembling a success as an archaeologist, or anything else of real merit.

Perhaps his greatest impact upon society has been his notorious blog, which specializes in finding ingenious ways to insult and provoke almost everyone involved in collecting, or metal detecting, or the late, lamented PAS in Britain, other than those few misled souls who closely agree with him.

That strikes this observer as a very negative, perhaps even despicable achievement. No doubt Mr. Barford glories in it.

To Mr. Barford, I say, John 21:17 (pardon me if a closet Marxist, as you seem to be, lacks a Bible to consult). It's better by far to be a good sheep and be loved by Jesus, than a malevolent hyena.