As a private antiquities collector and tax-paying American citizen, I'm outraged at this stunt pulled by the ACCG. To deliberately break the law for the express purpose of forcing a trial is just unbelievable. No doubt this was cooked up between the "officers" of the organization without bothering to ask the 5000 members they supposedly serve. What would have been the answer if they had? And what of the millions of American taxpayers that will be footing the bill for this farce? I bet no one in the ACCG thought to ask how they would like their tax dollars being wasted on such a scheme. After all, we are already paying for their Freedom of Information Act litigation, but apparently the wheels of justice weren't moving fast enough for them, so the moved to "Phase 2".
What the ACCG fails to acknowledge is that it's not the importation of the coins that is being prohibited, it is the importation of coins without a valid export license or proof that they left before Jan. 16,2009 (for the Chinese coins) or July 16, 2007 (for the Cypriot coins) that is prohibited. They know full well that if the coins they "attempted" to import had proper documentation, they would have never been retained by customs. This was posted by Peter Tompa himself:
Under the provision, restricted artifacts must be accompanied upon entry into the US with either a valid Chinese export certificate or certifications indicating that the artifact in question left China before the effective date of the restrictions, January 16, 2009.
This was also posted to the ACCG website by Peter Tompa and Dave Welsh:
The burden will then shift to the importer to prove that the coin was outside of Cyprus before July 16, 2007 (the date of the restrictions). Coins lacking such documentation are subject to seizure.
the ACCG can't even follow its own already loosely worded "Code of Ethics" (Coin Collectors and Sellers will not knowingly purchase coins illegally removed from scheduled archaeological sites or stolen from museum or personal collections, and will comply with all cultural property laws of their own country.) or even its own bylaws (The guild does not in any way support, condone or defend the looting of designated archaeological sites, nor the violation of any nation's laws concerning the import or export of antiquities.) This conduct shows them to be an organization that can't be trusted or even respected by ethical antiquities collectors no matter what type of antiquity they collect.