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City cracks down on antiques trade

Update: September, 29/2012 - 08:13

HCM CITY (VNS) — Experts in HCM City have called for tighter management of antique collection and trade, saying it is important to preserve the nation's cultural heritage.

While the antiques market has existed and operated actively for a long time in the country, it has not been managed by any agency, the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Sai Gon Liberation) newspaper cited them as saying.

"HCM City allots around VND10 billion (US$50,000) for museums to buy antiques every year," Vu Kim Anh, deputy director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told the newspaper.

"The money is not small, but a little modest compared to the needs of the city's seven museums."

In order to buy an antique, the museum has to go through several procedures. It has to prepare a scientific document, have it appraised by appropriate officials, submit it to the concerned department and wait again for expert appraisal. Next, it has to do a price reference and send documents to the Finance Department for budget authorisation before applying for approval from the People's Committee.

It usually takes from six to nine months, or even more than a year for a museum to buy an antique.

"Due to the complicated procedures, most of the antiques fall into the hands of individuals," another senior museum official said.

"Sellers do not wait for us to finish our appraisal."

The city should initiate measures to manage antiques trading because they are of great value and cannot be reproduced once it is damaged or lost, the newspaper cited experts as saying.

Two years ago, the Government issued a decree (No98/2010/ND-CP) with implementation guidelines for some articles in the Cultural Heritage Law.

These covered the rights and responsibilities of organisations and individuals who discover antiques. They are required to hand relics, antiques and other precious objects to the Government and be rewarded with up to 30 per cent of their market value. — VNS

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