Friday, April 21, 2017

More Maladministration of the 1983 CCPIA

Taking a Closer Look At The Evidence

This image appears in an Obama Administration PR release from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency

ICE, CBP seize illegally imported ancient Roman coins

Further images of coins involved in the seizure appear here:

These images are, of course, not of sufficiently high quality to allow for reliable attribution, however they have been examined by interested collectors, and it seems clear that some of these coins were struck in Middle Eastern mints, and are therefore clearly not of "Italian origin."

It unfortunately appears to be the case that the officials involved in deciding whether coins should be detained in Customs for "illegal importation" are either not competent to accurately identify the actual location of their manufacture, or far worse, are ignorantly assuming that "Roman means Italian."

Italy was only one province of the enormous Roman Empire. At the time these coins were struck there were more than twenty active mints, most of which were located outside the borders of modern Italy. All of these mints had their own identifying marks, just as do US mints today. Collectors of the coins of the later Roman Empire understand these mint marks, which first appeared in the late Third Century a. d.

There are many ways in which maladministration of the law causes injustice and unfair hardships to law-abiding citizens. One of these ways is the unjustifiable and detestable practice of arbitrarily refusing importation of objects whose appearance merely resembles items included in the "Restricted List" published after the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding with a state requesting import restrictions on ancient artifacts. That unfair and unreasonable practice enables an official to order Customs detention without going to the trouble of carrying out a detailed investigation, and places the entire burden of the investigation upon the importer, who then must assemble entirely at his own expense (and without much time to do so) a documentation package proving "legal origin" of the artifacts.

"Guilty until proven innocent" is a standard that the archaeology lobby very much desires should be applied to every ancient artifact. However, it is not a standard that is in any way compatible with with the time-honored traditions of English Common Law, which became the origin of both the British and US Constitutions, and the legal rights of citizens of the English-speaking nations.

It is to be hoped that the impending review and restructuring of the US State Department and the Department of Homeland Security will include elimination of the scandalous maladministration of the 1983 CCPIA.