Collecting ancient coins is legal and it's recognized by the Code of Cultural Heritage of January the 22th 2004 and subsequent amendments. In addition, The Legislative Decree of 22/01/2004 no.42, "Code of Cultural Heritage", specified the numismatic interest and practically established that coins could be freely subject of private collections. Only some of them, or some collections, should be considered as "cultural heritage" and for this reason they are protected by law. This distinction is applied to the currencies of each historical period. The ancient coins, as Greek, Roman, Medieval or Renaissance ones, are not considered cultural heritage therefore they are not protected by this law and they can be freely part of a private collection. The protection is established in very specific cases (see art. 10 paragraph 4 letter b with reference to paragraph 1; Art. 91; Art. 10 paragraph 3 letter a with reference to paragraph 4). Collecting ancient coins is a wonderful way to go into the story, enriching our personal culture. Through the study of coins it's possible to increase your own culture and consequently the national culture. In fact, the Code properly considers as "cultural heritage" the numismatic collections for which was already applied the "Declaration" provided by the Article 13 (in earlier laws it was called Notification of the State). This declaration can be applied only for collections having particularly artistic, historical and archaeological interest (Article 10, Chapter 1, Paragraph 3a). Numismatic collections, that is coins out of the archaeological context, are taken into account by the Code (under Article 10, Chapter 1, paragraph 4b) in order to be protected, only in the case they have exceptional artistic, historical and numismatic value. The legislator, after some changes, definitively identified the "numismatic interest", in relation to paragraph 4b that states: the exceptional artistic, historical and numismatic interest of a coin is in "relation to the time, techniques and production materials, and also to the reference context". It states also that these objects "have nature of rarity or of worth also historical". In addition, a numismatic collection - with commercial value inferior to € 46,598.00 - is not considered cultural heritage (therefore not protected by this law) (Attachment A, paragraph 13b and Annex B paragraph 4).
CARE AND PRECAUTIONS
When you organize an old coin collection, you have to take precautions. In case of controls, the Judiciary and the Police have to prove the existence of any crime, but it's advisable even for people in good faith (whom has coins of lawful origin), to organize for its own collection a small archive that can permit to go back to the origin of the various exemplars. Today many simple and inexpensive software make it possible. In addiction this action will permit in the future, buying coins, to remember happy moments, gifts received and interesting trips. In private purchases, you have to verify the legitimate origin of the exemplar and you have also to receive a signed statement as receipt. If you buy abroad, outside the EU, you have to keep the receipt or the purchase invoice and the bill of entry stating the payment of import tax. If you buy within the EU from a professional numismatist store or from an auction house, you have to retain the respective invoice or the sales receipt with, if possible, unique references of the exemplar. Organizing a photos selection of your collection opens up new interests to the artistic aspects of collected coins. These photos are also an important contribution to the identification of coins for any future activity, as the publication of the collection and the verification of origins. In addition, in case of theft, you can notify unequivocally to the competent authorities the stolen material. In this case, the photos can be acquired on the databases of numismatic associations and of military forces in order to facilitate the recovery of the collection.
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