Ursula Kampmann of CoinsWeekly has alerted the hobby to a proposed law in Germany that could have repercussions on all collectors
worldwide. Here is the text of a petition she's circulating. -Editor
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
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”
- Free movement, unimpaired by bureaucratic obstacles, of cultural goods which are not classified as “national 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.
For more information, see her CoinWeek article:
Ministerial draft updating the legislation on the Protection of Cultural
Bob Leonard writes:
The proposed change to the German law on Protection of Cultural Property is a huge threat to coin collecting in the United States--it
affects everyone. No ancient coin worth $110 or more--and that's the vast majority of them--will be able to be sold in Germany unless
its provenance can be traced back at least 20 years. How many can do that? And the burden of proof is on the collector or dealer. Germany
is now one of the two main markets for ancient coins in Europe; I have this year paid a German dealer more than $110 for an ancient coin,
and hope to buy many more.
Don't collect ancient coins? Don't worry, they're coming after you too. Here the limit is a generous $2,750 for everything
of cultural interest to Germans. Virtually every lot in the upcoming ANA auctions will sell for more than this. And "cultural
property" includes rare books, coin cabinets and other furniture, paper money, documents, stamps, ethnographic material, musical
instruments, etc., etc.,--everything over 50 years old.
If in any doubt, promote Ursula's petition anyway. It requires 120,000 signatures in little over a month for the German government
even to take notice of it. Unfortunately, the explanation is in German first, but if you keep going, it appears in English.
To read the complete petition, see:
To obtain the private collecting // For
preserving the right to privately collect (www.openpetition.de/petition/online/fuer-den-erhalt-des-privaten-sammelns)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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