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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Is selling Somme Relics legal?


hillgorilla
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Belgium ain't France, and locals ain't tourists.

I fully understand that different countries have different laws, but are you really suggesting that there are different laws for residents and visitors in France?

That seems a bit ridiculous.

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The law is One Thing,Enforcing it is Another...Are there any records of Successful prosecutions of People Metal Detecting in France or Belgium ???,or have any Forum members personally Heard of anyone actually having been Nicked for said Offence ?

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perhaps the question could be asked a different way, does anyone have any evidence of anyone being prosecuted, having car confiscated for using a metal detector?

Mick

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I thought the Question was perfectly clear.. :D

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Dave,

As a seller of militaria you probably don't have a problem with it; and I don't suppose most people have a problem with the detritus of the battlefield being picked up.

However, where I think most people do find it objectionable is when it verges on, or becomes, grave robbing i.e. removing items that may eventually identify, if nothing else, at least the regiment that a soldier belongs to. Evidence of this was very apparent on Trench Detectives. Some of the state of the shoulder titles on ebay suggest they have been in some form of mud for quite a while.

Aye

Tom McC

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Dave,

As a seller of militaria you probably don't have a problem with it;

Tom.

Am I the "Dave" you refer to here? :blink: If not, I apologise, but if so, I'm a little confused by this statement.

Dave

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Dave,

Reference battlefield relics, you stated:

but personally, it doesn't bother me though there are people who get quite fired up by this subject for some reason

Hopefully, this makes the issue less confusing.

Aye

Tom McC

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Well, yes, it doesn't bother me at all and never has. Why would it? :unsure:

I'm not a militaria dealer though. I used to collect militaria years ago and list a couple of items on my website that are surplus to my collection. On rare occasions, I might put something on eBay when I need the cash (usually for a trenchmap or a book), but I wouldn't class myself as a "seller of militaria" any more than anyone else is on this forum. It's that statement that confused me (and still does).

Dave

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A dug up relic only retains its provenance of origin to the unearther and anyone prepared to trust his/her word. A label with "Found at Mametz Wood" would normally mean nothing to me in other circumstances, and particularly on ebay. <_< Phil B

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I've not got a problem with Somme Relics being sold.I'm not sure about the legality of them being collected from the fields by metal detectors and will be guided by others.My only concern is the moral one that by being left in situ or at least being recovered sympathetically they will help towards the partial identification of a casualty.

Few observations though

What's the difference between a relic recovered from a Battlefield and one sold by a Family? e.g.When visting Vimy Ridge a few years ago I saw a Princess Mary Tin that had clearly been recovered from the ground.I've got one at Home.I'm sure no-one would complain if I came to sell mine(it ain't for sale :lol: )Mine is a relic and would probably command a better price as it's in a much better condition than the one I saw in the Vimy Ridge Vistor Centre.

Same adage applies to Medals.They are a relic of the War and however one views them they are free to be bought and sold.

Finally-What happens to any relics that are found on Casualties e.g. Buttons,Badges,etc?Are they re-buried with the Casualty, held in a great archive by the CWGC or disposed of?

George

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Please explain Sir? :huh:

If the local gendarme is your father-in-law or your uncle you may well be able to do things that other people can't.

Still doesn't make it legal.

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The law is One Thing,Enforcing it is Another...Are there any records of Successful prosecutions of People Metal Detecting in France or Belgium ???,or have any Forum members personally Heard of anyone actually having been Nicked for said Offence ?

The subject comes up quite regularly on the French news - especially as we get to, for instance, the anniversary of Verdun - and they always say what the penalties are and always add that at Verdun alone the maximum fine of 10,000€ is handed down at least three times per year. Many lesser fines are handed down.

Of course, you could try getting caught deliberately and see what happens and then report.

Christina Holstein was stopped and interrogated once with her family as they were walking the battlefields in the pouring rain, on the grounds that only a collector would do that.

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  • 3 weeks later...
So, if I owned a piece of land in France, and a metal detector, it would be illegal for me to a, possess the metal detector and b, to use it on my own land?

Any reliable source for that information?

:blink:

When I purchased my property in France, upon signing the required paperwork there was an interesting paragraph relating to any archaeological finds made on the property automatically belong to the state!

It is an offence to use a metal detector on any site deemed to be of archaeological or historical interest as deemed by the authorative body. The rules are very similar in France to those in the UK, with the exception that in France you apply to the Prefecture for a license to detect or dig a site of archaeological / historic interest. If you want to be 100% certain of not breaking the law, go and and detect on the beach - unless there is a local French bylaw which prohibits this activity also.

Firestep

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When I purchased my property in France, upon signing the required paperwork there was an interesting paragraph relating to any archaeological finds made on the property automatically belong to the state!

Firestep

I can concur with that, having purchased a property in Normandie last month.

If I find anything in my garden, I won't be telling anyone I've found it :D

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I would hope you'd at least phone the DOVO or equivalent if you found live munitions in your back garden.

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:D I have always been told it's illegal to use detectors anywhere in france, and to be honest i don't like the idea, even being in possesion of the smallest fragment picked up is i believe also illegal, but apart from around Verdun a blind eye is clearly turned on most occasions.

Still don't make it right though, just because you get away with it.

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If I find anything in my garden, I won't be telling anyone I've found it :D

Steve, I think what you mean is - "If I find anything in my garden, I won't be telling anyone I've found it - as long as it's worth keeping!"

At least that's how I interpreted the paragraph when I signed :rolleyes:

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Guest KevinEndon

I may be barking up the wrong tree here but I was under the impression of you found something or bought something from a yokel you were asking for trouble at customs. If you buy something and get a receipt for it you were safe and customs wouldn't touch you. Please put me straight on this.

Kevin

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Kev if the "something" is anything that comes under i believe section 5 firearms and you got it, the men from customs will be putting on the rubber gloves, and you will be late for your tea! :blink:

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Guest KevinEndon

Say I purchased a picklehaube from a dealer in France for a few hundred euros and has a receipt could the French customs still take it from me.

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No Kevin they couldn't. Thats not what they're looking for. Its about being sensible. I keep getting criticised when I comment on here about keeping things in perspective but....Do not bring any object back that smells like explosives, looks like it might explode or is able to shoot someone. Chances are you won't even be stopped and searched but do not take that risk. If you are lucky enough to find a cap badge, button or id tag then put it in your pocket because if you are carrying something you shouldn't then they take everything associated with the item.

If you want a chat about what happens when you are stopped and arrested by French Police and customs, give me a bell.

By the way I have a couple of items for you that will be safe to bring back so pop round for a Leffe and bacon sandwich when you come over.

Mick

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Guest KevinEndon

Cheers Mick the phone call cleared up a few things. I know now if I want to buy anything then it will be from a museum and not from a Zak or Shadrag Dingle.

Kevin

p.s congratulations on your promotion.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Trenchwire

I have to say i visit France and Belgium 4-5 times a year and i do as many of the different battlegrounds as possible, and on my travels i do pick up relics from farmers and friends but nothing that has been dug using metal detectors,you simply dont have to, if you look in the right places.

The most successful places i find items are in the farmers spoil banks.

Each trip i try to add something unusual to my ever growing collection, and what i do not require i will sell, and the proceeds are then saved to go towards my next trip. Makes sense to me. :unsure:

However i cant believe some of the stories i have heard, :o about people putting live munitions and other nasties in the boots of there cars,and then taking them on the ferries, etc., endangering the lives of hundreds, :angry: a big no no in my book and they should be banged up for a very long time no questions asked.

Alan

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