Wisconsin coin collector and dealer Jim McGarigle (“Polymath numismatics”) says he is “shocked” to learn from this blog what British law defines as Objects of Cultural Interest and in a post on his 'Ancient & World Coin Geek' blog called “Scholarly Pedantics - More Extreme Archaeology” proceeds to poke fun at what he calls “extreme archaeologists” who (as the ACCG-style numismophilic conspiracy theory goes) allegedly must be behind all this. He says “I think documenting any coin 50 years old or older, regardless of value qualifies as a demonstration of pedantry or pedantic behavior”. He then goes on to define the word, presumably worried that some coin collectors may not know what it means. Frankly I do not see any evidence of "scholarly pedantry" has been presented by Mr McGarigle, rather the opposite.
In his disdainful treatment of what the law of the UK says, Mr McGarigle ignores the fact that there might be other types of objects of cultural interest that the British might wish to control the export of. As a foreign collector eager to get his hands on cultural property from other countries, he may not accept that Britain has the right to do this, but fortunately it does. The fifty year watershed is for all types of cultural property, not only that which is the direct product of excavations, and the legislation sets out exemptions (for example postage stamps).
McGarigle ignores this, and pokes fun at the British showing examples of recent UK coins on sale on eBay which have obviously never been in the ground and pretending that British law (personified for some reason by an Indiana Jones icon) is saying “that belongs in a museum!” I invite Mr McGarigle to read the Reports of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and related literature and discover how many coins have had export licences refused and on what grounds. I do not think he will find many 1958 shillings among them.
As I said here earlier, it is essential for collectors of portable antiquities to make an effort to determine what legislation applies in the various source countries to the material they collect. Surely responsible collectors and dealers could easily put together a resource containing this information. It is disturbing that people like Jim McGarigle should be learning about it - apparently for the first time - from sources like this blog.