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Heritage Auctions Joins Petition vs. ‘Onerous’ Proposed German Law


Legislation seen as negatively impacting German coins and collectibles business by requiring undue burden of provenance on dealers

Heritage Auctions has announced its support for an online petition aimed at stopping a controversial new German law instituting an export license on German cultural objects – which could include coins, art and a variety of other collectibles – requiring dealers to provide a 20-year history of an object’s provenance.

“We feel that this proposed legislation in Germany puts an onerous burden on dealers, especially as it concerns objects of lesser value,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “This legislation, if passed as is, would severely and adversely affect the international collectibles market of which German is an important part.”

Dr. Ursula Kampmann, the editor of, described the pending legislations as follows in the July 9, 2015 edition:

If this draft becomes law the German coin trade will change completely as will the coin trade with German customers… Everybody dealing in objects older than 50 years will have to adapt… Whenever a dealer will buy or sell an ancient object valued at more than 100 euros (about $110 US) or a post-ancient object of more than 2,500 euros (about $2,750 US) he has to execute due diligence and he will have to inform the buyer about the fate of the object during the last 20 years.”

The proposed legislation is broad enough that it is conceivable that it would affect not just coins, but books, stamps, paintings, comics, posters and any other collectible.

“The law moves the burden of proof from the state to the collector,” said Bierrenbach. “In other words, you would have to prove that you own an object legally, rather than the state having to prove that you own it illegally.”

“Heritage recommends that all its clients and collectors sign this petition and keep this legislation from becoming law,” added Bierrenbach.

Click here to sign the petition.

Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auction Galleries is one of the world's largest collectibles auctioneers. Besides offering rare and valuable U.S. and world coins and currency, Heritage offers ancient coins, exonumia, antiques, comic books, sports memorabilia, and many other collectibles. The firm is based in Dallas, Texas.

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