Government overreach is not a problem that happens only in the United States.
The latest example of this is in Germany with a proposed amendment to its Protection of Cultural Heritage law.
Alarmed, Ursula Kampmann of CoinsWeekly has spearheaded an electronic petition that collectors from around the world can sign.
I hope you will consider doing so. I have signed it already.
Law in one country sooner or later influences laws in other countries. Worse, a bad law in one country can be almost contagious.
Owners of gold know what bad laws did to them in the past. I hope they will stand up for collectors in the present.
In this particular case, the legal process is also questionable, especially as it occurs in a nation famous for its respect for law and correct procedures.
Kampmann cites a hearing at which nobody representing collectors was present. There has been no publication of the minutes of the hearing even though it occurred three months ago.
The draft law itself that is under discussion is written in such a way, as Kampmann sees it, to make it impossible to follow its provisions.
Kampmann writes: “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.”
Kampmann is not an alarmist. I have know her for years. If she says there is a problem, I believe her.
What the petition seeks are:
• 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” only
• Free movement, unimpaired by bureaucratic obstacles, of cultural goods which are not classified as “natural 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.
Signing the petition to the German Federal Parliament is quick. Please do it now.
Follow this link for more information.
Follow this link to go right to the petition.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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