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March 10, 2022 11:29 PM | Sue McGovern-Huffman (Administrator)

Effective Date: August 15, 2016 but regulations retroactive to March 15, 2011

Source: 81 Fed. Reg. 2016-19491 (Aug. 15, 2016)

“Below is the Designated List of Archaeological and Ethnological Material of Syria that describes the types of objects or categories of archaeological or ethnological material that are subject to import restrictions, if unlawfully removed from Syria on or after March 15, 2011.”

I. Coins--In copper or bronze, silver and gold.

1. Coins in Syria have a long history and exist in great variety, spanning the Achaemenid Persian, Hellenistic Seleucid and Ptolemaic, Roman, Sasanian, and Islamic periods. Coins from neighboring regions circulated in Syria as well. Some major mints for coinage that circulated in Syria in various periods include Emesa, Antioch, Apamea, Damascus, Beroea, and Laodicea.

2. Achaemenid coins include silver drachms stamped on the obverse with the head of the king and on the reverse with an altar.

3. Coin types and materials for coins minted or circulated in Syria during the Hellenistic Seleucid and Ptolemaic periods include gold and silver staters and obols, bronze or silver drachms, hemidrachms, tetradrachms, and smaller bronze and lead coins. These coins have a wide variety of decorative elements. Male and female busts (of kings, such as Seleucus, and queens, such as Cleopatra, or sometimes deities) are usually found on the front. Seated archers, seated gods such as Zeus, winged Victory, Tyche, and Herakles, other Greco-Roman mythological subjects, animals such as lions and elephants, palm trees, and ships are usually on the reverse of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic coins, which are often inscribed in Greek.

4. Roman coins minted and circulated in Syria during the Roman period come in a variety of denominations and weights and were struck primarily in silver and bronze, though examples (sesterces) of brass also appear. The front usually has an image of the emperor; sometimes, other notable personages (e.g., Julia Domna) might appear. Subjects shown on the reverse include seated and standing deities, wreaths, temples and altars, mythological scenes, and eagles. Inscriptions are usually in Latin, but sometimes also in Greek. Late Roman (Byzantine) coins are similar, but the reverse often shows Christian iconography (e.g., crosses), and inscriptions are in Greek.

5. Sasanian period coins are typically silver drachms with an image of the ruler on the obverse and a religious scene with a fire altar on the reverse.

6. Islamic coins are of gold, silver, bronze, and copper and include examples from the Ummayad, Abbasid, Ghaznavid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Seljuq (including Zengid), Timurid, Mamluk, Safavid, and Ottoman periods. Most are stamped on both sides with inscriptions in Arabic, although a few types have an image on one side and an inscription on the other.

Comment: These restrictions were imposed by statute. The breathtakingly broad restrictions with a retroactive date to 2011 also include a specific provision that the coins in question were unlawfully removed from Syria after that March 15, 2011 date. As such, they are much more in keeping with the CPIA’s limitations of restrictions to items “first discovered within” and “subject to” the export control of the country for which restrictions were granted then many other import restrictions.


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Goal: $10,000.00
Collected: $7,250.00

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