The London numismatists believe the proposed changes to the law, put forward by German Minister of Culture Monika Grütters in July, "will severely restrict trade in Germany, which will inevitably have a detrimental effect on prices and values across the entire market."
The headline element of Grütters' proposals is that all cultural objects valued at €300,000 or more and older than 70 years will require an export licence if they are sold to a foreign buyer. However the draft law also asks, in the case of a legal dispute, that the owners of 'cultural goods' with a value of at least €2500, provide absolute proof of the item's provenance for the previous 20 years. In the case of any item classed as 'of archaeological value', the value is set at €100.
Baldwin's believe this due diligence clause to be "an unrealistic demand which completely misrepresents those items that are currently traded on the international market" and "a totally unnecessary restriction placed on a traditional and long-loved process."
The good news, they say, is that the proposed amendment invites comment and contribution on what, exactly, is worthy of cultural property protection.
"In other words, our opinions matter. We are actively encouraging our valued customers and friends to sign the petition, so that we can continue to preserve the traditions and time-honoured culture of not just numismatics but collecting in all its guises."