Thursday, February 17, 2011

American collectors eye events in Egypt with mistrust

PR Newswire

Ongoing developments in the Egyptian revolution and its reverberations in the Middle East have the world riveted on this historical event. Beneath the headlines, vacillating reports of vandalism and looting that allegedly took place at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and other sites have American collectors skeptical of motivations behind the apparent orchestration of news. Spotty and contradictory reports of museum looting had barely surfaced when members of the American archaeological community were calling for import restrictions on artifacts made in Egypt. It is unclear whether any of these calls have led to consideration of such action within the Obama administration.

According to Kerry K. Wetterstrom, President of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), the reason for concern among collectors is that import restrictions like those sought by archaeologists have typically been applied far and beyond the scope of authority vested under U.S. law. Restrictions are being applied to common objects traded for centuries without provenance requirements.

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