ANCIENT COIN COLLECTORS GUILD

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  • November 17, 2022 9:16 AM | Randolph Myers (Administrator)

    On November 15, 2022, the ACCG filed another Freedom of Information Act administrative appeal, this time for Customs and Border Protection’s refusal to produce any documents regarding three coin seizure incidents.  Based on CBP’s earlier production to us of seized asset spreadsheets, our FOIA request centered on 24 coin seizure incidents, which was later reduced to nine incidents to avoid duplication.  After CBP referred our FOIA request for six of the incidents to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their response to us, the CBP then declined to produce any documents regarding their own three coin seizure incidents by asserting various FOIA Exemptions. 

    Our FOIA administrative appeal argues that the CBP's denial violates their own regulations and that the FOIA Exemption withholdings was erroneous.  We also argue that the CBP failed to abide by FOIA’s requirement to provide “reasonably segregable” documents, since they could have produced the documents with limited redactions.  We are concerned that the CBP’s FOIA blanket denial basically allows the CBP to seize property secretly, without an administrative or judicial forfeiture, while denying the public’s ability to know of the agency’s actions.  It would defeat the very purpose of FOIA, which the Supreme Court states is intended to give citizens the means to know “what their Government is up to," which is “a structural necessity in a real democracy."  Besides our FOIA administrative appeal, the ACCG has also filed a request to the Office of Government Information Services, which offers dispute resolution services between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies.


  • November 07, 2022 10:49 AM | Randolph Myers (Administrator)

    On November 7, 2022 the ACCG submitted comments regarding the Draft UNESCO Model Provisions on the Prevention and Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property.  Besides joining the comments of International Federation of Art and Antique Dealer Associations and the International Association of Professional Numismatists, we wrote separately to emphasize several points as applied to ancient coins.  Specifically, we commented that it was unreasonable and unrealistic to require export certificates for ancient coins or to require licenses for coin dealers, that the United Kingdom’s Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme provides a more positive and reasonable alternative regulatory approach at least as for ancient coins, and that there is a need for better meaningful consultation in developing the Draft UNESCO Model Provisions.

  • October 19, 2022 2:49 PM | Randolph Myers (Administrator)

    On October 17, 2022, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Customs and Border Protection, for the glossary to explain their SEACATS spreadsheet column headings and designations.  SEACATS stands for “Seized Asset and Case Tracking System” and details seizures of property by Federal agencies like the CBP.  This FOIA request occurred after we earlier won a FOIA administrative appeal decision on September 30, 2022, when CBP provided us with a 13-page partially redacted SEACATS spreadsheet on their seizure of various items.  But while the SEACATS spreadsheet listed 53 incidents where CBP seized coins between 2009 and 2021, their spreadsheet contained cryptic column headings and cryptic two and three letter designations that are unintelligible to the layman.  In the meantime, however, we reached out to the Institute for Justice, at ij.org, a nonprofit public interest law firm that focuses on exposing government abuses and securing constitutional rights.  The Institute, who earlier engaged in a multiyear legal battle with CBP for the SEACATS data codes, provided us with one of their reports which explained many of the SEACATS data codes.  Now that we have most of the data codes and a better understanding of SEACATS list of CBP’s seizures, we plan to further examine the circumstances and outcomes of past CBP coin seizures.

  • October 02, 2022 4:55 PM | Randolph Myers (Administrator)

    On September 30, 2022, the ACCG won its Freedom of Information Act administrative appeal, were we sought documents from Customs and Border Protection, on the creation and enforcement of the Designated Lists of import restricted ancient coins of ten nations.  Back on February 5, 2022 Customs and Border Protection had responded to our FOIA requests that they had "no documents."  We then filed a FOIA administrative appeal that contended that their response was factually inaccurate and that they failed to conduct a thorough and reasonable search.   In upholding our FOIA administrative appeal on September 30, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security’s FOIA Appeals, Policy & Litigation Branch informed us that responsive documents did exist.  As for our request for documents on the creation of Designated Lists, they provided us with 66 pages of partially redacted records, while explaining that their agency only engaged in a “ministerial” function of publication in the Federal Register, and that it was “the State Department, through the Cultural Property Committee, [that] creates the Designated Lists.”   As for our request for documents on the enforcement of Designated Lists, they provided us with 13 pages of partially redacted spreadsheets from their Seized Assets and Case Tracking System (SEACATS), that identified fifty incidents between 2009 to 2021 where they seized coins, most of which were “antique.”  


  • August 05, 2022 3:23 PM | Peter Tompa (Administrator)

    Find out more about who said what at a recent Cultural Property Advisory Committee meeting to discuss a proposed renewal of a MOU with Libya.  

    http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2022/07/summary-of-july-26-2022-cultural.html

  • July 17, 2022 3:35 PM | Peter Tompa (Administrator)

    Effective July 14, 2022, the designated list for Cypriot coins was amended to include Byzantine and later coins that "circulated primarily" within Cyprus.  For details, see http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2022/07/cypriot-designated-list-expanded.html

  • July 07, 2022 9:05 AM | Randolph Myers (Administrator)

    On July 7, 2022 the ACCG filed comments with the Cultural Property Advisory Committee objecting to the proposed MOU with Libya as it impacts the importation of ancient coins  We raise one procedural objection, and five substantive objections, why import restrictions should not include ancient coins, except to the extent that it is an artifact that has been identified as looted from one of Libya’s World Heritage sites.   Details may be found here:

    https://www.regulations.gov/comment/DOS-2022-0015-0002

  • April 14, 2022 8:31 AM | Randolph Myers (Administrator)

    On April 14, 2022 the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild filed comments with the Cultural Property Advisory Committee objecting to the proposed MOU with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as it impacts the importation of ancient coins.  We raise two procedural objections, and five substantive objections, why import restrictions should not include ancient coins.   Our comments can be found here:

    ACCG comments to CPAC on proposed restriction of Pakistan ancient coins (RMyers 4.13.2022).pdf

  • April 13, 2022 6:01 AM | Randolph Myers (Administrator)

    On April 11, 2022, the ACCG submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of State, regarding the Designated List of restricted ancient coins from Albania, that was published by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on March 17, 2022. We requested seven categories of documents, including the basis of their “determinations” to legally justify such restrictions, how the restrictions can legally apply to coins that circulated outside Albania, and how they considered the public comments earlier submitted to the Cultural Properties Advisory Committee.


  • March 21, 2022 2:57 PM | Peter Tompa (Administrator)

    Our guidance for the import of ancient coins to the United States has been moved to our home page making it easier to find and access.  It also can be found here:  https://accguild.org/Ancient-Coin-Import-Restrictions

    The latest version of the guidance includes information about new import restrictions on coins from Albania.  For additional details about these new restrictions, see here:  http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2022/03/import-restrictions-on-albanian-coins.html

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