The Krombach Case – next act
CoinsWeekly already reported in detail on the Alexander Krombach “case”. In the course of investigations against Silvio Müller the coin collector got in search’s sight. Contrary to many of the 347 further victims of that police action, Krombach did not agree on voluntarily abandon his coins although prosecution proposed that after proceedings were closed.
Ever since the owner of 821 coins, that the investigating official liked to be handed over to Prof Dr Hans-Markus von Kaenel of the J. W. Goethe-University in Frankfurt for reasons of study and education (so much for investigation’s neutrality), quarrels with the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts that requested a seizure of the 821 coins for “averting a danger” and, despite the decision of the Administrative Court Gießen, feels right.
On behalf of the Ministry, the assessor iuris formulated a nine page request for allowing an appeal where she keeps repeating: “The owner of a legally traded antiquity can always present a corresponding permission.” Unfortunately, the lawyer, who by now surely has gained profound insights into numismatic practice, thereby is at odds with the (national) Numismatische Kommission der Länder (Numismatic Commission of the Federal States) which has signed a paper in conjunction with several associations: “Ancient coins without proof of provenance do not necessarily come from illegal actions. In Germany coins are systematically collected for 600 years. Millions are in the possession of private owners. They probably come from old finds, were brought home from travels abroad ages ago or simply got in the relevant country by exchange of goods. Legally speaking, all coins found in Germany prior to the introduction of the treasure regals belong to the founders and their heirs. The same holds true for foreign pieces that got into collectors’ possession before the relevant legal regulations were implemented. Millions of coins are concerned that found their way into private possession over the course of the centuries. The number of contemplable illegally acquired objects is comparatively low. The plaintiff has to prove in each case that the object was acquired illegally.”
The Krombach case is astonishing not only for the way in which the Hessian Ministry questions the competence of German courts. As tax payer one is amazed by the sums of tax money the government is entitled to squander in order to eventually enforce an official’s private legal opinion at a German court.
If you want to read the previous history, please click here.