Thursday, 29 July 2010

Controversial Sales at Numismatic Convention

At the 1988 New York International Numismatic Convention a hoard of Apollonia diobol coins came onto the market ("The Black Sea Hoard"). Controversy broke out as it turned out that the coins were all fakes (though the dealers that had bought them continued to deny that for some time). It later turned out that they had been produced in Bulgaria in 1988 (or 1986?) as part of the first wave of Bulgarian fake artefacts to hit western markets.

In 1999 a large quantity of forgeries of Apollonia Pontika drachms were dispersed at the New York International Numismatic Convention. Controversy broke out as it turned out that the coins from this so-called "New York Hoard" were all fakes.

How interesting it is that in two conventions well attended by international numismatists the question of where precisely these coins had “surfaced” from did not arise. I guess they all shrugged their shoulders and accepted the “old collection” explanation for them and walked on. Interesting isn’t it that the only controversy was whether they were real or not and not how they came to be offered openly on sale in the US without anybody asking for evidence that they had been legally obtained and legally exported from Bulgaria. Why not? How interesting that the organizers of the Convention did not try to stop these sales. How many more illegally exported groups of freshly "surfaced" coins are being offered openly on the US market by US dealers quite openly without anyone batting an eyelid? Is this the "freedom" that the ACCG is fighting so strenuously to maintain?

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