Dear MMD, Most European countries have imposed legal restrictions
against the export of goods considered to be of historical and cultural
value. According to the British Department of Culture,
"Any cultural goods manufactured or produced more than 50 years before
the date of export, and valued above certain thresholds (in the case
of mechanical musical instruments this threshold is GBP 39.600),
require an export licence (unless they were imported into the UK less
than 50 years ago).
"Every application that falls within the scope of control is referred
by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the relevant expert
adviser (normally a Director or senior curator of a national
collection) to consider whether the object of outstanding national
importance. In making a decision on this, the adviser judges the
object against the Waverley criteria:
"- Is the object so closely connected with British history and
national life that its departure would be a misfortune?
"- Is it of outstanding aesthetic importance?
"- Is it of outstanding significance for the study of some particular
branch of art, learning or history?
"If the expert adviser considers that the object meets one or more of
the Waverley criteria, the licence application is referred to the
Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art. If the Committee
decides that the object does meet one or more of the Waverley criteria
it may recommend that the Secretary of State defers granting an export
licence in order to give a UK institution or collector the opportunity
to acquire the object."
The French and Dutch governments have similar legislation for export
of these goods. I send this as a warning to prospective buyers of
mechanical musical instruments outside Europe. I would strongly advise
any prospective buyer to get information about possible export
restrictions before buying a major instrument here.
Best regards from the Netherlands,
Hans van Oost, Gen. Secretary and Webmaster,
Kring van Draaiorgelvrienden
[ Thanks for the research and your report, Hans. -- Robbie