Cultural Property Protection Act

Overview of age and value thresholds for the export of cultural property
pursuant to Section 24 of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property

1 Pursuant to Section 24 (2) second sentence of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property, coins shall NOT be considered archaeological ob-jects as defined in category 1 for the purpose of export to the internal market if a large number of these coins exists, if they are of no relevant knowledge to archaeology and if they are not protected as individual objects by an EU member state. In this case there is no need to apply for an export licence. The same applies according to a decision of the Federal Supreme Finance Court (BFH, decision of 11 December 2012, VII R 33, 34/11) for exports to third countries. According to the case law of the Federal Supreme Finance Court, coins may be classified as archaeological objects pursuant to Category 1 of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No. 116/2009 only if the coins concerned are NOT "mass produced".

2 As defined by the Court of Justice in its judgment in Case 252/84, as follows: "Collectors' pieces within the meaning of Heading No. 9705 of the Common Customs Tariff are articles which possess the requisite characteristics for inclusion in a collection, that is to say, articles which are relative-ly rare, are not normally used for their original purpose, are the subject of special transactions outside the normal trade in similar utility articles and are of high value.”

3 Any other antique items not included in categories 1 to 14 that are between 50 and 100 years old (exhaustive list): toys, games, glassware, gold-smiths' or silversmiths' wares, furniture, optical, photographic or cinematographic apparatus, musical instruments, clocks and watches and parts thereof, articles of wood, pottery, tapestries, carpets, wallpaper, arms.

4 Any other antique items that are more than 100 years old and not included in either of the categories above.

Notice:

Section 24 of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property stipulates which types of cultural property require a licence for exports abroad (be it to EU member states or to third countries outside the EU). The export licence requirement depends both on the type of cultural property and on certain age and value thresholds.

Section 24 of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property distinguishes between exports to third countries (Section 24 (1) no. 1 of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property) and exports to other EU member states (Section 24 (1) no. 2 of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property). Since 1993, exports to countries outside the EU have been regulated by binding EU law (cf. Regulation (EC) 116/2009) that cannot be unilaterally amended by the German legislator.

With a view to facilitating trade, among other things, the German legislator has defined significantly higher age and value thresholds governing the licence requirement for exports to EU member states (cf. the table below).

In either case (export to EU member states and export to third countries), the same categories of cultural property are applicable (in accordance with Annex I of Regulation (EC) 116/2009).

As far as coins are concerned, it should be noted that pursuant to Section 24 (2) second sentence of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property they shall for the purpose of export to the internal market NOT be considered archaeological objects (as defined in category 1), if a large number of these coins exists, if they are of no relevant knowledge to archaeology and if they are not protected as individual objects by an EU member state. As regards the export of coins to countries outside the EU, the case law of the Federal Supreme Finance Court (Decision of 11 December 2012, VII R 33, 34/11) also needs to be taken into account which stipulates that the archaeological interest referred to in Regulation (EC) No. 116/2009 must be evaluated according to the circumstances of the individual case, "taking as key criteria, in particular, how the object in question is valued in the market and whether the same or similar objects" are traded to a greater extent. This means that mass-produced coins are normally not subject to an export licence requirement.

In principle, stamps are not subject to export regulations. Nor are cultural goods that are owned by their authors or creators subject to a licence requirement.

The table below provides an overview of the thresholds that are applicable for exports to the internal market and to third countries, respectively. It should be noted that a given cultural object must in any case meet or exceed both threshold values (age AND value) in order to fall under the export licence requirement. This means, for example, that a painting which is eighty years old and has a value of 200,000 EUR is not subject to an export licence require-ment.

If the cultural object in question is not subject to a statutory export ban (cf. Section 21 nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property), there is a legal entitlement to the issuance of an export licence. The competent authority of the Land in whose territory the cultural object was located (not just on a temporary basis) at the time when the export application was filed, shall hand down its decision within a period of 10 working days.