[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Feds Crush Collectors’ Age-Old Free Trade Rights | 02-15-2013
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
97°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 31
2001 - LASD Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian gunned down in Stevenson Ranch while backing up ATF [story]


Commentary by Wayne G. Sayles
| Friday, Feb 15, 2013

waynesaylesSome 50,000 Americans who call themselves ancient coin collectors are hopeful that Feb. 12, 2013, will be remembered by numismatic historians as an auspicious day.

Washington bureaucracy broke with law and tradition in 2007 by imposing draconian import restrictions on ordinary coins that are freely and routinely exchanged and collected worldwide, say coin collecting advocates in filed court documents.  Under these restrictions, American collectors are now subjected to requirements that they claim are impossible to meet and are extralegal on several counts.

“Congress limited restrictions to culturally significant artifacts found in a specific country, but now Americans importing common coins made in a specific country are forced to prove the negative — that their coins have not illegally exited a specified country subsequent to the signing of a bi-lateral agreement between that nation and the United States,” said  attorney Peter K. Tompa.

Since coins have flowed endlessly across national boundaries, without documentation, for more than two thousand years, collectors argue that it is impossible to say with certainty where any given specimen has been during that time.  Literally millions of very common and low value ancient coins lack specific pedigrees of ownership or “provenance” and consequently cannot satisfy the burden of proving a negative.

Are these coins all, by default, illicit because it is impossible to say where they were found in modern times?  Not at all, say collectors who point to a 600-year-old legitimate market that has witnessed a constant and massive flow of ancient coins from every conceivable source country.   Many believe a presumption of guilt has trumped the venerable presumption of innocence that Americans hold dear.

Law enforcement agencies in some third-world countries, and even more prosperous nations, are sometimes unable or unwilling to enforce their own nationalistic cultural property laws.  As a result, some objects of “national patrimony” eventually find their way to foreign markets.

Under U.S. law, foreign nations may in exceptional cases appeal to the U.S. State Department for emergency assistance through import restrictions.  However, a collector group’s lawsuit complains of bureaucratic overkill, where the State Department has reacted capriciously by creating what amounts to broad barriers to trade in all undocumented objects, both licit and illicit, significant and insignificant, that they arbitrarily designate as cultural property at risk.  That, collectors believe, is extralegal and ignores the plain language of the law.

By importing a group of unprovenanced Cypriot and Chinese coins from a British dealer in 2009, the nonprofit Ancient Coin Collectors Guild set in motion a test case before the U.S. District Court at Baltimore to challenge the State Department’s interpretation of law and their actions.

After lengthy hearings and deliberation, a trial court dismissed the case claiming that the issue was not one for the courts to decide. Disagreeing with this view, the ACCG appealed that decision to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals where ultimately the lower court ruling was affirmed.

The essence of the ACCG argument is that the governing law does not give unbridled authority and discretion to the president’s representative in the State Department, particularly when another agency, U.S. Customs, is ultimately responsible for the final regulations. They argue that the court should say what the law is and judge whether its provisions were followed in the process of imposing the restrictions being challenged.  After almost four years of litigation, no lower court has been willing to take that stand.

Meanwhile, the case has grown from a rather provincial test of bureaucratic agency decision-making to something of far greater consequence.

Does the executive branch inherit absolute discretion when Congress gives it oversight authority?  Even when there are limits and conditions established in the governing legislation?

This question has now been posed by ancient coin collectors to the United States Supreme Court in a petition for a writ of certiorari.

The potential ramifications are significant and extend well beyond the world of coin collecting.  A decision on this question could well set the bar for presidential discretion for years to come.

From small acorns do mighty oaks grow.

 

Wayne G. Sayles is executive director of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild. He can be reached at director@accg.us.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

2 Comments

  1. None Anonymous says:

    Ebay there are thousands of ancient coins crossing borders daily.
    Vcoins has 175 ancient coin dealers.
    The US Government is attempting to stop our hobby.
    Ancient money and modern money cross borders many times a second.
    The US government is acting draconian to a Great hobby of Holding history in your hand.
    Remember Next election, Vote these bums out of office.

Leave a Comment


Commentary Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016
The district and its charter school partners are looking at an unprecedented model of cooperation so we can enhance the level of education that otherwise could not be experienced by the children of Acton-Agua Dulce while attending a small school district.
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016
Imagine Mom's fury and disappointment when a rich, white, oppressive family stepped up to enslave her son. To Colin Kaepernick's point, he was forced to go to school in this oppressive American culture where he had to attend air-conditioned schools and he was given paper, pencils and books to work with.
Sunday, Aug 28, 2016
Curtis Howe Springer established a health spa and mineral springs at Zzyzx. There was a natural spring in the area called Soda Springs. He bottled this water to sell to thirsty travelers in the desert. He set up his wife and himself in a ranch, filed mining claims for 12,800 acres of land on this spot, and imported animals to make his ranch more appealing to visitors.
Friday, Aug 26, 2016
Imagine forgetting the most significant and defining moments of your life. All of those moments of intense passion or overwhelming happiness, the moments of loss that tore you down or made you stronger than before – all of them begin to fade away.
Friday, Aug 26, 2016
Los Angeles City had – and might still have – about 6,800 buildings that lack inspections for periods of time covering months to multiple years. John Vidovich was put in place as fire marshal to clear out the backlog. It was learned he wasn't being truthful when he said he'd done it.
Thursday, Aug 25, 2016
A representative of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said: “The goal of the county is to get the approval of the CUP” (conditional use permit). There it was. The goal of the county is to get the expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill approved.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
A motorcyclist has died at the hospital following a crash on Sierra Highway, north of Vasquez Canyon Road in Canyon Country Wednesday morning.
Motorcyclist Dies from Injuries in Crash on Sierra Highway
The man who was found dead in the wash Monday afternoon has been identified as 56-year-old Leonard John Voeltner, Coroner's said.
Authorities ID Man Found Dead in Wash
Michael Moran is on a mission. He arrives in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 2 at 10:15 a.m. from Rochester, NY and heads north on the 5 freeway to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita. That’s where the California leg of his Roller Coaster Crawls to End Alzheimer’s begins.
Man Fundraises for Alzheimer’s Cure by Riding Coasters, Coming to Magic Mountain Friday
The Tejon Indian Tribe is one of 16 tribes across the United States that will be receiving federal grant funds earmarked for the protection of America’s native cultures this year.
Tejon Tribe Awarded $36K from NPS Heritage Grant
Interstate 5 was shut down at Pyramid Lake Wednesday morning after a suicidal person running in traffic lanes was struck and killed by several vehicles.
Suicidal 17-Year-Old Struck, Killed by Vehicles on I-5
2001 - LASD Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian gunned down in Stevenson Ranch while backing up ATF [story]
On Sunday, Sept. 11, at 9 a.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, County of Los Angeles Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Forest Service and California State Prison would like to invite the public to join us in remembering the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country on Sept. 11, 2001.
9/11: Remembrance Ceremony in Palmdale for Fallen First Responders
The district and its charter school partners are looking at an unprecedented model of cooperation so we can enhance the level of education that otherwise could not be experienced by the children of Acton-Agua Dulce while attending a small school district.
Chartering a Way Forward | Commentary by Mark Distaso
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a heat wave came in full force Tuesday, find out how long it will stick around. Plus, new names of young people who lost their lives in car accidents will be added to the Youth Grove in Central Park. Check out these stories and more in tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Chris worked closely with Los Angeles County Fire Department and was well respected and loved by all who knew him. He was an EMT Field Training Officer with American Medical Response (AMR) serving the Santa Clarita Valley. He trained many to respond to those injured and in medical distress. Sadly on Wednesday, his injuries were critical and Chris could not be revived.
Funds Sought for Family of Deceased First Responder
California water suppliers can begin warning and fining residential users for excessive water use during drought emergencies under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Brown Signs Bill Allowing Utilities to Fine Water Wasters
Global real estate investment company Kennedy Wilson announced Tuesday that the company acquired The Townhomes at Lost Canyon, a 157-unit multifamily community in Canyon Country, for $61 million
Townhomes at Lost Canyon Sell for $61 Mil.
Country music fans from throughout the Santa Clarita Valley are invited to experience an evening with Rosanne Cash as the beloved Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter takes the stage for a special one night only performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.
Oct. 1: ‘Date Night Done Right’ with Rosanne Cash at PAC
All available CHP officers will be on duty during the Labor Day Maximum Enforcement Period, from 6:01 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, to 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5. Drug recognition experts and CHP officers will be on patrol watching for impaired drivers as well as assisting motorists in need throughout the holiday weekend.
CHP Out in Full Force Sept. 2-5
California's drought has contributed to the recent spate of wildfires throughout the state. Emergency tax relief is available if you or your business have been affected. Taxes are the last thing people need to worry about during a tragedy.
Tax News from BOE Member George Runner
California State University, Northridge nutrition professor Terri Lisagor and her husband, Mark, have arranged a planned gift to CSUN that will ultimately leave $1 million to establish an endowed scholarship for students in the Resilient Scholars Program, which serves students who were formerly in the foster youth system, and another endowment that will support faculty research, travel, and professional development in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Couple Endows CSUN Scholarships for Ex-Foster Kids, Family Studies Faculty
Hart High Cheerleaders are happy to invite all young aspiring cheerleaders to Spirit Day, Saturday, Sept. 10.
Sept. 10: Hart Cheerleaders Invite Grades K-8 to Spirit Day
The installation “Elements and Energy” by Santa Clarita artist Janet M. Stanton will be on display through Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the Town Center Art Space at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.
‘Energetic’ Art on Display at Valencia Town Center
Coming events and activities from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
SCV Chamber: Coming Events (8-30-2016)
The City of Santa Clarita invites local residents to attend the Walk of Remembrance to promote safe driving and show support for families who lost loved ones in traffic-related incidents.
Sept. 7: Annual Walk, Evening of Remembrance at Youth Grove
September is a great month to take someone new to fishing and show them the ropes.
Sportfishing Update: Free Day Sept. 3; more
Ten men and two women have been indicted for their alleged role in a residential burglary ring that encompassed Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura and Orange counties, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
12 Suspects Tied to Dozens of Burglaries Across 4 Counties
The College of the Canyons women's soccer team started its 2016 season in winning fashion Saturday as the Cougars picked up a 2-0 road victory over Taft College.
Soccer: Lady Cougars Blank Taft in Season Opener
The San Fernando Valley-based coalition advocates a new route alternative for study by the California High-Speed Rail Authority consisting of funding Metrolink and light rail improvements from Palmdale to Burbank in lieu of high speed trains that damage residential areas, the Big Tujunga Wash, the National Monument and Forest, and other sensitive environmental areas.
Aug. 31: Regional Protest Against High-Speed Rail Planned in SFV
Beginning in 2019, Assembly Bill 1066 would gradually phase in standards for farmworker overtime lowering the current 10-hour day level to the standard 8-hour day, and establishing for the first time a 40-hour standard workweek, over a four-year period.
Legislature Votes to Expand OT Pay for Farmworkers
News from around U.S. Rep. Steve Knight's 25th Congressional District.
Around the 25th District with Rep. Steve Knight
Caltrans and the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium (RUC West) have been awarded $750,000 and $1.5 million, respectively, to enhance the existing Road Charge Pilot Program and develop a multi-state road usage charge system regional plan.
Caltrans, Consortium Funded to Study Per-Mile Road Fees
Imagine Mom's fury and disappointment when a rich, white, oppressive family stepped up to enslave her son. To Colin Kaepernick's point, he was forced to go to school in this oppressive American culture where he had to attend air-conditioned schools and he was given paper, pencils and books to work with.
Practicing Jerkism
2009 - L.A. County Fire Capt. Ted Hall, 47, and Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones, 34, are killed in the line of duty on Day 4 of the Station Fire [story]
A Canyon Country man died Sunday morning in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash on Angeles Crest Highway, officials said, leaving behind two small children and a fiancee.
Canyon Country Man Dead After Crash On Angeles Crest Highway
The toddler who was taken to a local hospital after falling in a Canyon Country pool earlier this month reportedly died Monday morning, according to a GoFundMe account from the victim's family.
Toddler Found in Pool Last Week Dies at Hospital
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, the toddler who was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive last week died Monday. Plus, a man is killed in a crash on Angeles Crest Highway and Carousel Ranch's Heart of the West is a success.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, August 29, 2016
Plum Canyon Road will experience westbound lane closures from Via Joyce Drive to Santa Catarina beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 31, due to construction for the Road Rehab Project.
Road Rehab Coming to Plum Canyon, Aug. 31-Sept. 17
A man who was found in the wash in Canyon Country Monday afternoon appears to have died of natural causes, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station officials said.
Man Found Dead in Wash, No Foul Play
Saugus High School's cheerleading squads are hosting a cheer clinic fundraiser Sept. 25 that will teach cheer skills to kindergarteners through eighth graders, who will then have an opportunity to perform during halftime of a Saugus varsity football game in October.
Sept. 25: Saugus High Cheer Clinic Open to Grades K-8
This month’s Thursdays@Newhall series kicks off with 10 by 10 on Thursday, Sept. 1. The entertaining variety show is free and features 10-minute performances from 10 different performers at the Repertory East Playhouse.
10-by-10 Brings Entertainment to Main Street Thursday