Richard Tyndall quoted Ebay's guidelines on
>Antiques and Cultural Items - The export of antiques and other cultural
items is subject to both UK and EU controls. etc<
Useful - pity nobody seems to take any notice of them! How do Ebay set
about enforcing them?
The Ebay statement is not very clear (but then the DCMS website Alex
directed us to is hardly a model of clarity) and Ebay don't point out that
(as I understand it) the main difference between 'antiques' and
'archaeological material found in UK soil or in UK territorial waters over
50 years of age' is that many antiques and 'cultural objects' only need an
export licence if they are over a certain threshold in value - but for
'archaeological material' the threshold is '£ zero'. Thus ANY artefact dug
out of the soil of the UK that is over 50 years old (which probably includes
the RAF badges that someone mentioned) requires an export licence, whatever
its value, whether it's going to the EU or further afield. (The EU adds a
complication of having a 100 year cut-off point instead of 50 years - so not
protecting finds from First World War battlefield sites?) Even Stig's lots
of uncleaned Roman coins (where stated to have been metal-detector finds
from England) and objects with prices like '£2.99' require the full panoply
of an individual export licence if he sells them to a bidder abroad.
I suppose nobody warns the American tourists who buy Roman brooches,
medieval thimbles or coins from the stalls selling metal-detector finds that
have sprung up in antique arcades in towns around the country that they will
be breaking the law if they take them out of the country?
Presumably under the new Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Bill such
objects exported without the appropriate licence would become 'tainted' -
and collectors abroad as well as UK sellers and foreign dealers may be in
breach of the new law. Of course there is always the let-out clause:
'anyone else in the chain of dispersal, who 'deals in' the object KNOWING OR
BELIEVING that object to be 'tainted', would be committing an offence under
the Bill'. = 'Honest, I didn't know it was exported illegally, guv!'