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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 51, December 16, 2007, Article 19

ARTICLE PROFILES WAYNE SAYLES AND STATE DEPARTMENT ANCIENT COIN LAWSUIT

[Dick Johnson forwarded an article from the Kansas City
Star about Wayne Sayles and the lawsuit filed by ancient
coin collectors against the U.S. State Department.  Here
are some excerpts.  -Editor]

Heads, Wayne Sayles is overreacting. Tails, the State
Department is.

Sayles, a south Missouri coin collector and dealer, is
suing the Washington bureaucracy. He insists its unprecedented
decision to restrict imports of ancient coins of Cyprus is
“a major offensive” against collectors like him.

In July, the State Department banned Cypriot coinage dating
from the end of the sixth century B.C. (when Rome was a small
town and the Jews were abducted by the Babylonians) to 235 A.D.

At a ceremony in Washington, Undersecretary of State Nicholas
Burns said the move would help Cyprus battle “those who would
plunder its heritage and seek to sell that heritage illegally.”

Dealers and curators must now worry that the government can
detain any coin that looks Cypriot, which puts the burden on
the importer to prove that an obol or tetradrachm was outside
of Cyprus before the July ban went into effect. Without
documentation or provenance, which most coins lack, coins
could be seized even if they’ve been away for centuries.

Sayles, a Gainesville man who has been collecting for 40 years,
is particularly interested in Roman provincial coins of the
city of Anazarbus in Cilicia, part of what is now southern
Turkey. His wife, Doris, likes to collect coins from the
Phoenician city of Dora on what is now Israel’s coast.

Not a Cypriot coin between them. So why …?

“In a world where globalism is not just a trend but an
irreversible fact of life, how can anyone justify turning
America into an island of prohibition for something as
innocuous as a common coin?” asked Sayles, head of the
Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, an advocacy group for private
collectors and independent scholars that he founded in 2004.

To press his case, Sayles has lined up backing from Sen. Kit
Bond of Missouri. “It’s easy for governments to just say
‘stop everything,’ but that just doesn’t make any sense,”
Vartian said. “Foreign governments, quite correctly, are
worried about people plundering stuff. But they tend to
respond to those things by hitting the fly with the
sledgehammer.”

To read the complete article, see:
http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/394858.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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