Saturday, 11 December 2010

Opposing Viewpoints on Collecting

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Tim Haines has crawled out of his bunker and responded to the call for fair discussion on the Yahoo AncientArtifacts list which he moderates (I use the term loosely). He writes:
I agree that it is not right to attack Paul Barford where he cannot defend himself, although I would point out that view points opposing his own are not permitted on his blogs. Could we bring this discussion to a close please. [...]
I am not sure what is meant by "although I would point out that [viewpoints] opposing his own are not permitted on his blogs". The lack of comments from the Portable Antiquities Scheme and metal detectorists in the comments to my blog posts is certainly not due to me excluding them. I think it rather more that they feel that to comment would be taken as an acknowledgement that there are issues to be discussed, while they would prefer to leave these topics alone or only superficially "dealt with". Thus they themselves feel they have no answer to what is said here. Neither do they answer points raised here anywhere else, which suggests that they feel that no answer might suggest to outside viewer that the question is a worthless one. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not they agree with me that this is far from being the case.

In fact, I am always only too happy to discuss those "viewpoints opposing my own". I'd say that to a great degree it is precisely their expression which is the leading topic of this blog, is that not so?

The truth is that collectors find it comfortable to portray themselves as the victim, excluded, despised, misunderstood by people they label as "elitists" (or "radicals/purists" or whatever) from which they create an Other in order to create a group identity for themselves.

The tactic of dismissing opposing arguments as 'biased' or 'propaganda' on no evidence apart from them being uncomfortable views is a common one, not just among collectors of course. In the debate on no-questions-asked collecting, however, we often see it stretched by collectors to the limits of credibility.

So, in answer to Mr Haines, discussion of viewpoints opposing my own on the erosion of the archaeological record through exploitation by artefact hunters, no-questions-asked collecting and the trade in illicit artefacts and the ways in which we deal with is not only "permitted", but welcome on this blog. I really do not think anyone who is in the slightest bit familiar with what I have been writing on the internet for at least the last decade - and on paper somewhat longer - on the issues can (fairly) accuse me of running away from facing those opposing viewpoints. It is rather the other side who time and time again is guilty of JUST that (like the above-mentioned moderator of the AncientArtifacts discussion list who stopped me from doing just that by excluding me from his list for discussing these issues) .

Let it also be recalled that when Tim Haines himself accused me of thieving on his AncientArtefacts list after he had excluded me from being able to answer (Cf his comments above), I invited him over here to explain the basis for that accusation. In other words to express a viewpoint most certainly "opposing my own" He declined, (though somebody else appeared over here offering to explain what Haines had said or meant to say, whether or not Haines had sent him I cannot say). Haines' non-appearance was as cowardly as Dave Welsh's.

The debate on looting, the illicit trade and the ethics of collecting will not simply go away if collectors ignore the questions raised, if anything the more they delay addressing these points, the more painful it is going to be when the inevitable crunch comes.

Vignette: Responsible collectors or a den of pirates? Register with the Yahoo AncientArtifacts forum and take a look for yourselves.

21 comments:

drumax said...

If you dont mind a few comments and questions from the peanut gallery...They certainly feel vilified and speaking as a person well familiar with your tactics, this is exactly your intent thus they vilify you in return and you would have it no other way.

You lament that a coin discussion group might exclude you from a discussion forum you mine for your anti-collecting blog entries and where these accusations are sometimes a topic as proof they are like cartoonish villains that wish to lurk in the dark. This is, of course, not true. To say you simply wish to have a discussion regarding the effects of collecting on the historical record or its roll in encouraging (if not being the sole reason for) looting is ridiculous. I dont think any reasonable, sober person who is familiar with you and your blog would, for one minute, think this is your purpose.

You attack and belittle collectors and depict those you call 'coiny people’ or ‘coin fondlers' as offering little to nothing to the furtherance of human knowledge. You are purposefully abrasive. You are not wanting to debate as much as accuse, act as judge and expect people to answer to you.

Yes, they use the label ‘elitist’ and think of you as the enemy but is this an insult or incorrect? Certainly your ideas concerning the ownership of antiquities are elitist, and would you want to be seen by someone like Mr. Welsh as anything but his enemy? You can admit this much correct? Lamenting the democratization of coins? How you see an ancient coin in the hands of the unwashed ignorant masses, people who want, as you call it, a geegaw? How you typify most collectors as idiots akin to fetishists who love to fondle little shiny discs of metal...how you place yourself as the self-appointed protector of antiquities, keeping them far from the grubby hands of the common man. It’s a thankless job I am sure since most people could care less. Certainly you can admit these charges are not unfounded. You see the thrill of holding and studying up close the artifacts of our past as being exclusive to very few. We know not what we do and if we do know then we are villains. Very black and white and you of course have all the answers.

One question, are all coiny people bad (or ignorant) people? Where does your entitlement end? What about people who collect and study German Notgeld minted between 1914 and 1923? As these coins become more than 100 years old will they also become the sole domain of the national museum vault? When, in another 100 years this collection is considered the most extensive collection of the type and this catalog considered the most definitive source for information regarding this type of coinage? Is this collector still worthless? Has he still offered nothing to the greater knowledge of human history? Is your disdain for collectors only bound to ancients? Is there no scenario where the collecting of ancients is acceptable?

drumax said...

If you dont mind a few comments from the peanut gallery...They certainly feel vilified and speaking as a person well familiar with your tactics, this is exactly your intent thus they vilify you in return and you would have it no other way.

You lament that a coin discussion group might exclude you from a discussion forum you mine for your anti-collecting blog entries and where these accusations are sometimes a topic for discussion as proof they are like cartoonish villains that wish to lurk in the dark. This is, of course, not true. To say you simply wish to have a discussion regarding the effects of collecting on the historical record or its roll in encouraging (if not being the sole reason for) looting is ridiculous. I dont think any reasonable, sober person who is familiar with you and your blog would, for one minute, think this is your purpose.

drumax said...

You attack and belittle collectors and depict those you call 'coiny people’ or ‘coin fondlers' as offering little to nothing to the furtherance of human knowledge. You are purposefully abrasive. You are not wanting to debate as much as accuse, act as judge and expect people to answer to you.

Yes, they use the label ‘elitist’ and think of you as the enemy but is this an insult or incorrect? Certainly your ideas concerning the ownership of antiquities are elitist, and would you want to be seen by someone like Mr. Welsh as anything but his enemy? You can admit this much correct? Lamenting the democratization of coins? How you see an ancient coin in the hands of the unwashed ignorant masses, people who want, as you call it, a geegaw? How you typify most collectors as idiots akin to fetishists who love to fondle little shiny discs of metal...how you place yourself as the self-appointed protector of antiquities, keeping them far from the grubby hands of the common man. It’s a thankless job I am sure since most people could care less. Certainly you can admit these charges are not unfounded. You see the thrill of holding and studying up close the artifacts of our past as being exclusive to very few. We know not what we do and if we do know then we are villains. Very black and white and you of course have all the answers.

One question, are all coiny people bad (or ignorant) people? Where does your entitlement end? What about people who collect and study German Notgeld minted between 1914 and 1923? As these coins become more than 100 years old will they also become the sole domain of the national museum vault? When, in another 100 years this collection is considered the most extensive collection of the type and this catalog considered the most definitive source for information regarding this type of coinage? Is this collector still worthless? Has he still offered nothing to the greater knowledge of human history? Is your disdain for collectors only bound to ancients? Is there no scenario where the collecting of ancients is acceptable?

Paul Barford said...

Thanks for those, certainly an opposing viewpoint well expressed.

Starting at the end, in line with the origin of this thread, can I ask for your honest and considered opinion as an intelligent numismatist, what major contribution Dave Welsh has actually made to human knowledge by his published work based on his dealings with ancient coins? Wayne Sayles for that matter, his much vaunted Krause Ancient Coin Collecting books are rather compilatory would you not say?

You are being disingenuous hauling out the "restricted access to antiquities" argument. You know that is not at all what I stand for.

As for your Notgeld collector, is his (or her) accumulation of such material resulting in the avoidable destruction of anything else? I would say no, they are taken from one collection and put in another. That is not the same is it as somebody hoovering archaeological sites with a metal detector and digging out all the things that are collectable. Which I think you realise.

I claim no "entitlement". I would like nothing more than people to have collections of material gained in a manner which enhances and does not diminish the archaeological record, full provenance details and collecting history
on record and properly curated with the properly curated collection to good museum standards. Is that [really] what all coin collectors [really] want? Or do the vast majority not all [really] just want to hold a piece of "the past" in their hand and gawp at it and imagine? Are all coin collectors Momssens, or are the majority not indeed just coin fondlers collecting them in the manner one might postage stamps (or indeed Notgeld arranged in albums according to the systematisation of Dießner's
Deutsches Notgeld for example)

I think these are questions the general public and their policy makers should be asking about where collecting and preservation of the past currently coincide and where they collide. I think that in an ideal world these are questions which would be being dealt with by responsible and concerned collectors (who are all said to be 'passionately interested in the past").

Britain's Portable Antiquities Scheme is founded on the principle that if we talk nicely to them, they'll experience some sort of Conversion on the Road to Damascus and suddenly become ardent conservationists. I think that is simply bollocks and time and time the fallacy of that is demonstrated by events. I use real examples from the real world of collecting to show (those who want to see) the other side of the collecting coin (pardon the pun).

This blog of course is not aiming at dialogue with collectors, been there since the 1970s, tried it, have the scars to prove it. It is not talking to no-questions-asked collecting and archaeology-eroders, it is talking about them. Which is not to say they cannot join in.

Others can continue their liaison and pandering, I think it is getting us nowhere to that aim which you mention - a scenario where the collecting of ancients is acceptable because sustainable and archaeologically compatible. I believe it is possible and if the move towards this is not going to come voluntarily from responsible and ethical collectors and dealers, they they must be forced into it by public opinion.

One way of doing that is showing public opinion that all the PAS and ACCG "problem sorted - all good blokes really" claptrap is claptrap and showing oikish and selfishly erosive behaviour for what it is. A bit like egg-collecting, ivory trading and fox-hunting really.

Paul Barford said...

As for mutual „vilification”, I’ll just point out that what this post is about started because a coin buyer noted I had a text here on the news reports of ongoing Spanish raids. This seems to be a sensitive topic for some, and was the springboard for the attack of a coin dealer with documented past business contacts in Spain on my „qualifications”.

No I do not think I ”expect people to answer” me, not no-questions-asked collectors. I really do not think they have any answers, how could they have? They’d just prefer the difficult questions to go away to leave them to get on with doing what they do the way they have always done.

“You lament that a coin discussion group might exclude you from a discussion forum you mine for your anti-collecting blog entries” Wrong, I do not lament, as you can see, I capitalize on it.

Basically what you are saying is that collecting forums only welcome those that write pro-[no-questions-asked] collecting things on them? So in what way does that show that they welcome “opposing viewpoints”? Moneta-L had open archives so everybody could see what goes on there with ancient coin collecting. Now it is closed, why? Because people were expressing anti-[no-questions-asked] collecting views and anybody could look at the forum and see that these criticisms were well-founded?

The majority of collectors’ forums, like the majority of metal detecting forums in the UK are closed access, the list owners control very closely who can speak about what, who can read what. This hardly suggests that they are at all confident about the ability of its members to deal with “opposing viewpoints”. Now why would that be? Could it be that they are well aware that there are severe problems in maintaining the picture they want to project to the outside world about what happens within the hobby? You ask for governmental transparency and debate about legislative moves affecting the hobby, but are unable to offer any of your own. What kind of “discussion” forum is it where only one side of a very important debate (one which ultimately affects the future of the hobby) is allowed to the table? This lack of openness and transparency is the whole root of the problem with no-questions-asked collecting of dugup ancient artefacts. It is therefore one which is going to be emphasised, and yes used against you by those who want to see change in the way the trade is organized. How could it be otherwise in the current situation?

You will know the excellent text “Censorship in Numismatic Discussion Groups” of course. http://home.comcast.net/~reidgold/misc/censorship.html (He writes about censorship related issues in other contexts too). He says things like: “Moneta-L is more subdued, yet it has dozens of collectors moderated, typically without their knowledge, because they've left posts in the past critical of some aspect of numismatics. And some just thrown off without being officially informed at all of that fact and why… Obviously having a critical mind and a means to express it is enough.

Reid goes on to explain how it is: “With numismatics, unfortunately, many of the more popular moderated online discussion groups [rein] in free speech for commercial reasons. […] it's typically frowned upon to offer a negative opinion about […] a practice of the numismatic establishment”.

Which is Holy and Thou Shalt Not Question the Wisdom of the Elders.

Welcoming of opposing viewpoints?

Scholars or shopkeepers and mere coin fondlers?

heritageaction said...

Drumax -

"Very black and white and you of course have all the answers."

Actually, it IS pretty black and white.

If coin dealers only stocked dug ups they knew were neither illegally nor unethically sourced there'd be no problem at all.

Let them not tell you it's not possible, it is. That being so, you spending so much time defending them does little for your credibility. You are actually defending someone's commercial interest, nothing more.

You would do well to ask Mr Welsh to list where he gets each item from BEFORE you criticise Mr B. OK?

drumax said...

I never once defended Mr. Welsh. May I point this out? How you so errantly point out that I am somehow defending Mr. Welsh? How your innate bias caused you to make this error in judgment and accuse me of something that was completely untrue? What does that say about you and your judgment concerning this issue?

It certainly is not black and white, this seems to be the problem on both sides, people who errantly see this as a black and white issue. Both sides think they know exactly what is right and wrong, what should and shouldn’t be and because they are sure they are right and have all the answers there is no middle ground.

I could use the disingenuous answer and challenge you to prove that even a single one of the coins Mr. Welsh sells was not legally or ethically obtained but I wouldn’t go that route. I could even say that if complete transparency is so important for one not to be deemed to be plotting, hiding something in the shadows or wrong, certainly it wouldnt be asking a lot for ALL groups to be completely open such as governments and archeologists who are looking to take action against the trade in coins and antiquities. Nothing should ever transpire behind closed doors and we should all not only be informed of all they intend to do, spelling out every step they plan to take before taking them and be completely transparent in all their intent. All forums for all things should be completely open to all people, even those who wish to constantly force focus only on having them defend themselves. Last I checked this wasn't quite the case for most.

As with almost every subject, when people use the term ethical and then raise themselves as the authority on what is and isn’t ethical, the reality is seldom as black and white as it is in the mind of the person on the soap box. In your case it biases you to anyone who might criticize your side as ‘defending Mr. Welsh and criticizing Mr. Barford’ when in fact I can assure you I am on record as having problems with both Mr. Barford and Mr. Welsh as being the worst spokesmen for their causes.

drumax said...

You do raise an important point: Coin dealers stocking coins that are sourced neither illegally nor unethically… what you deem ethical I am sure, lets go with that because its obvious you have set yourself as the ethical authority and I am sure what is and isn’t ethical is about as clear to you as was the fact that I am here to defend Mr. Welsh. You seem to think this is possible or would be possible if someone like Mr. Barford had his way. If you would like to do something more productive than just telling me to jump on the bandwagon you can tell us exactly how this can be done in the present or future. Tell us how a dealer is to ‘ethically’ source their coins as things are today and in a world where, more and more, nations are looking to restrict if not ban all together, commerce in these items with people like Barford vilifying any trade in antiquities as criminal but giving very little, if any, evidence that he wishes to see a licit market come about through real cooperation between archeology, museums, academic institutions, numismatist, collector, or dealer.

I could be wrong but it seems that along with his extreme distaste for collecting of any kind, there is even a greater distaste for the existence of any market for antiquities, either licit or illicit. I honestly don’t see him as acknowledging any trade in antiquities as being licit or would ever want to see a licit market come about. He is perfectly content with expecting all dealers and collectors to be ethical while giving them few if any ethical options, all the while relegating the whole endeavor to a fetish. Certainly he will say that its only the damage to historical record that he laments but anyone who reads this blog will see his distaste for collecting in general and any market that would ever feed this.

I believe he wants to destroy any market in antiquities trade and if he must tolerate a licit market, make it so regulated that most would not want to jump through all the hoops and it would price most of the already relatively small market right out. I believe this would be his ideal. I say this as a person who has read much of what he has to say on this subject. An honest assessment of what I have read.

But I am interested in Mr. Barfords opinions on how the coiny trade would ethically source new authentic merchandise to sell to all the coin fondlers worldwide since it isnt the collector but the looting that feeds them he truly opposes.

drumax said...

You do raise an important point: Coin dealers stocking coins that are sourced neither illegally nor unethically… what you deem ethical I am sure, lets go with that because its obvious you have set yourself as the ethical authority and I am sure what is and isn’t ethical is about as clear to you as was the fact that I am here to defend Mr. Welsh. You seem to think this is possible or would be possible if someone like Mr. Barford had his way. If you would like to do something more productive than just telling me to jump on the bandwagon you can tell us exactly how this can be done in the present or future. Tell us how a dealer is to ‘ethically’ source their coins as things are today and in a world where, more and more, nations are looking to restrict if not ban all together commerce in these items with people like Barford vilifying any trade in antiquities as criminal but giving very little, if any, evidence that he wishes to see a licit market come about through real cooperation between numismatist, collector, or dealer.

I could be wrong but it seems that along with his extreme distaste for collecting of any kind, there is even a greater distaste for any market for antiquities, either licit or illicit. I honestly don’t see him as acknowledging any trade in antiquities as being licit or would ever want to see a licit market come about. Certainly he will say that its only the damage to historical record that he laments laments but anyone who reads this blog will see his distaste for collecting in general and any market that would ever feed this. It not like he is looking for way in which the two communities could work together for a common goal. This seems unthinkable.

I believe he wants to destroy any market in antiquities trade and if he must tolerate a licit market, make it so regulated that most would not want to jump through all the hoops and it would price most of the already relatively small market right out. I believe this would be his ideal. I say this as a person who has read much of what he has to say on this subject. An honest assessment of what I have read.

drumax said...

All that being said, since it is the looting he is against and not the act of collecting (which he just disdains). I am interested in just how Mr. Barford envisions an ethical coiny antiquities trade? How are the coin sellers to legally and ethically source their new merchandise?

drumax said...

I understand your concern with cultural heritage and it is obviously a passion of yours and I applaud your efforts. As I said before it is probably a thankless passion, not in terms of your peers as much as the population as a whole, as most people you meet on the streets could care less about this issue. I am sure you can look at it as the burden of the elite. You fight for the cretins who do not even recognize your efforts or care or acknowledge them but you work for a higher authority, your own and human kind ;). My main objections most often come back to your attacks on the concept of the collector and belittling the study of coins, not in their archeological context but coinage as a historical human phenomenon, as a legitimate field of study. I have heard the exact same garbage regarding archeologists, how little their work matters in the big scheme of things. If an amateur archeologist uses found coinage to find the site of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, how has that enrich or advanced the human condition. It hasn’t to be honest but it sure is interesting and some ‘diggy’ types probably got a real tax subsidized thrill digging up and fondling all those great pieces of metal and bones and a small portion of the population who would even care thought it was cool they finally found the spot of that legendary battle.

But its not as simple as it might seem to many, archeology is an important field of study as is numismatics.

Lastly Mr. Barford. You act as if something like the Krause publications have little to no value. How a person concerned with the pursuit of knowledge could question the value of something that attempts to catalog every coin type ever known to be minted by any nation that has existed through history in several large volumes as not having any value is beyond me. If we are not to be allowed to buy these coins and study them up close, how are students of numismatics supposed to learn about them? Numismatics is, in essence, the study of a human phenomenon, money. From day one to today. Do you think an historian who teaches others about history as less of an historian simply because they are passing on the knowledge handed down by others? How many people must write yet another book about World War II until no more books about them are needed? Does every endeavor have to be new and ground breaking or does simply passing on the information and learning it have value? What grander purpose does any knowledge of human history serve than the knowledge of money? How is writing a book about the coinage of the Severans any more or less valuable than writing yet another book about World War II or about art in the middle ages, or the history of the Slavs. Some times people write about something simply to pass it on. If you took any price estimates out of Krause they are no different than cataloging anything else. It is telling people interested what was minted, what the mintage numbers were and pointing out any deviations for every coin minted. This is valuable basic knowledge to anyone who is looking learn about coinage of any type and time period. Why does anyone catalog anything? It is what we do and I would say cataloging is extremely important in almost any field of study.

drumax said...

I understand your concern with cultural heritage and it is obviously a passion of yours and I applaud your efforts. As I said before it is probably a thankless passion, not in terms of your peers as much as the population as a whole, as most people you meet on the streets could care less about this issue. I am sure you can look at it as the burden of the elite. You fight for the cretins who do not even recognize your efforts or care or acknowledge them but you work for a higher authority, your own and human kind ;). My main objections most often come back to your attacks on the concept of the collector and belittling the study of coins, not in their archeological context but coinage as a historical human phenomenon, as a legitimate field of study. I have heard the exact same garbage regarding archeologists, how little their work matters in the big scheme of things. If an amateur archeologist uses found coinage to find the site of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, how has that enrich or advanced the human condition. It hasn’t to be honest but it sure is interesting and some ‘diggy’ types probably got a real tax subsidized thrill digging up and fondling all those great pieces of metal and bones and a small portion of the population who would even care thought it was cool they final found the spot of that legendary battle.

But its not as simple as it might seem to many, archeology is an important field of study as is numismatics.

drumax said...

Lastly Mr. Barford. You act as if something like the Krause publications have little to no value. How a person concerned with the pursuit of knowledge could question the value of something that attempts to catalog every coin type ever known to be minted by any nation that has existed through history in several large volumes as not having any value is beyond me. If we are not to be allowed to buy these coins and study them up close, how are students of numismatics supposed to learn about them? Numismatics is, in essence, the study of a human phenomenon, money. From day one to today. Do you think an historian who teaches others about history as less of an historian simply because they are passing on the knowledge handed down by others? How many people must write yet another book about World War II until no more books about them are needed? Does every endeavor have to be new and ground breaking or does simply passing on the information and learning it have value? What grander purpose does any knowledge of human history serve than the knowledge of money? How is writing a book about the coinage of the Severans any more or less valuable than writing yet another book about World War II or about art in the middle ages, or the history of the Slavs. Some times people write about something simply to pass it on. If you took any price estimates out of Krause they are no different than cataloging anything else. It is telling people interested what was minted, what the mintage numbers were and pointing out any deviations for every coin minted. This is valuable basic knowledge to anyone who is looking learn about coinage of any type and time period. Why does anyone catalog anything? It is what we do and I would say cataloging is extremely important in almost any field of study.

Paul Barford said...

Well, I do not think anyone could claim that "opposing viewpoints are not permitted" after that lot. It is rather repetitive and I'm not clear to what each bit is referring and to whom he is replying, sometimes in the second person, sometimes third. The reader can sort it out.

There are the usual cheap shots without basis in fact. Such as: "people like Barford vilifying any trade in antiquities as criminal" (where?)

"his extreme distaste for collecting of any kind" eh?

I'd like to say that the person writing under the pseudonym "Drumax" has not understood (or is pretending not to understand) the point I was making about Sayles' Ancient Coin Collecting books by which collectors set great store published by Krause. he is muddling it with Krause's "World Coins" I think. The Sayles books to which I refer are superficial and compilatory overviews, not full catalogues.

Anyway, is merely cataloguing something and then finding more types not in somebody else's catalogue the sole way to advance knowledge of the past?

Anyway lots of "opposing viewpoints" for the reader to wade through. Thank you.

heritageaction said...

Drumax -

For someone that isn’t defending Mr Welsh you provide a very vigorous impression of someone that is!

You say –
“I could use the disingenuous answer and challenge you to prove that even a single one of the coins Mr. Welsh sells was not legally or ethically obtained”

I don’t need to. He has announced to British archaeologists assembled (on Britarch) that he is not willing to ensure that they are and that he is not willing to fit in with PAS’s advice to collectors to not buy unless they are sure! So, he is doing what I accuse him of, he admits it.

You say -
“when people use the term ethical and then raise themselves as the authority on what is and isn’t ethical, the reality is seldom as black and white as it is in the mind of the person on the soap box.”

First, you didn’t mention illegal, which I did. Why? I take it we are agreed that a dealer who doesn’t make sure what he buys isn’t illegal when it is illegal is separated from being a looter and a crook only by his own air of wide-eyed innocence?

As for unethical,if a new dug-up from my country is being sold elsewhere without a record of where it was found etc being supplied to the public in my country I think that’s unethical at both ends. And totally black and white.

You said –
“tell us exactly how this can be done in the present or future. Tell us how a dealer is to ‘ethically’ source their coins”

Speaking for my country that’s easy. Sell no recent British dug up without a PAS reference number. I’ve suggested to Mr Welsh he does that. He refuses. See, it IS black and white. No doubt there are things that must be nuanced, but at least accept the totally obvious unethical dealing that is going on and call for an end to it.

Go on, surprise me and him. Tell him and his lawyer and every one of his customers in public that no PAS number = unethical and damaging to my country. It's not rocket science. Why haven't all those tens of thousands of US collectors not been told do you suppose?

drumax said...

Mr. Barford, I did not say your blog did not welcome opposing views, I am sure you relish the chance to belittle anyone who dares to offer an opposing position. I am not sure where you ascertain that I was referring to your blog…do all you diggy bone fondler types constantly make such leaps? I was saying in other venues (where they do more than just wag their fingers from their moral high horse) the archeological concern is not transparent in details and specifics as in the subject of MOUs.

I would certainly like to be informed of their exact intentions and specifics when it comes to any action they intend to take, recommend or support when it comes to restrictions on antiquities and coins. Also in the case of governments, which diggy archeological types look to enact and enforce laws to protect their entitlements, they are certainly not transparent regarding almost anything including the issues you discuss here. Maybe we have found common ground here, we can work together to force governments to realize that we need to know exactly what they are discussing and be privy to every aspect of their decision making process and also be given a chance to question their every move and insist they answer to us? When they hide away behind closed doors, in secrecy to discuss and decide what they will do regarding these ‘cultural heritage’ issues, it MUST be because they are up to no good and have something to hide correct?

As for cheap shots, if you insist on lobbing out cheap shots, please do not expect any different in return. Do you even read what you write? If you do not have an extreme bias against collectors then I apologize for that characterization but you sure do a good impression of such a person! You are right, as a collector myself, I see being refereed to as a 'coin fondler' and being compared to a fetishist with funny little images to illustrate the point, as not at all belittling, its a compliment!! I must be dreaming as its obvious you have no idea how one could view you as having a distinct disdain for collectors...it must be me.

drumax said...

You say "For someone that isn’t defending Mr Welsh you provide a very vigorous impression of someone that is!"

I am not defending him nor was it my intention to, if you insist on saying this was my intention it is, of course, your right. If you read my first post here (from which you accuse me of defending him) I only mentioned him once saying "would you want to be seen by someone like Mr. Welsh as anything but his enemy?" and I would say this is quite an accurate statement.

You say: "I don’t need to (prove that anything Mr. Welsh sells is illegal or unethically obtained)."

I am certainly getting the impression that you don’t feel the need to offer any proof of anything; ironically this is exactly the basis of your complaint against Mr. Welsh. He also believes he doesn’t need proof. It seems we should just accept your accusations as truth!! God help us all if the legal system worked in this way. If you believe he is guilty of violating the Treasure Act and can prove this then he has indeed committed a crime. As for the PAS, which is voluntary and a good idea, it would be ideal if such a plan worked in such a black and white manner but of course it doesn’t and could never apply to all coins bought and sold legally. The Treasure Act proscribes what must be reported under the law. This does not refer to all coins on the market and in private collections or even every coin found today.

drumax said...

It would be ideal if people would voluntarily take the time to report all they find even if they are not required to (I certainly would). The PAS can only apply to newly found coins which is not even close to the lions share of coins being bought and sold, so many have been changing hands since before I was born, where they were found, even what country they were found in, can not be ascertained unfortunately. Is a person selling coins like this unethical or are we to simply turn all these coins in and start from scratch? How would one ascertain what coins on the market are newly dug or dug up many years ago having changed hands many times? What is to become of all these coins that already exist on the market and in private collections? When a person buys a coin (or anything) do they always keep the receipts after 5-10-30 years? Are all collectors and dealers around the world expected to log all of our coins in your (and every other nations) database so they can be tracked?

If we cant give the exact find date and location of every coin are we now criminals? Are those people who do not want to go to the trouble to log all our coins in a national database (or whatever simple black and white way you plan to ascertain new finds from old collections) are to be fined? Jailed? This would mean the only ethical coins one could deal in would be coins dug up since the PAS has been in existence and those people who only buy coins from people who have taken the time to register their new finds with PAS (although legal finds) and all other coins would have to be considered looted!! Maybe you can get the government to come and confiscate all coins lacking provenance or found before a certain date to make sure no coins looted 50 years ago are sold? Just wondering, I know this is black and white so I am trying to figure out how we are going to enforce this, certainly we will need to spend some tax dollars and maybe employ and army of people to enforce this. That would be a good government job.

drumax said...

You say "I take it we are agreed that a dealer who doesn’t make sure what he buys isn’t illegal when it is illegal is separated from being a looter and a crook only by his own air of wide-eyed innocence?"

No, we are not agreed. Do you ever buy anything in a second hand store? Maybe not. I would agree that a person who knowingly receives stolen goods is complicit in a crime. I cannot speak for Mr. Welsh so I do not know if he knowingly receives stolen goods, goods that are known to have been looted or taken against the current laws of your nation, that is, not in compliance with the Treasure Act. Ask anyone who buys and sells second hand how possible it is to know that everything you are buying is not stolen. Certainly it would be ideal if we could know that everything we ever purchase second hand is up-and-up but to require a person to be able track the item back to its origin, were it was bought, when, and by whom exactly, would mean the end to all resale. Hell, I often buy things from garage sales…that would be right out!!


You say: "As for unethical, if a new dug-up from my country is being sold elsewhere without a record of where it was found etc being supplied to the public in my country I think that’s unethical at both ends."

How do you ascertain ‘new dug-up’ pray tell?

You say: "Speaking for my country that’s easy. Sell no recent British dug up without a PAS reference number. I’ve suggested to Mr Welsh he does that. He refuses. See, it IS black and white."

How is he to ascertain a ‘new dug-up’, please keep it completely black and white. Here, lets use an example, here is a very common coin:

http://www.cachecoins.org/theodosius.jpg

Is this coin a "new dug-up"?

Paul Barford said...

With reference to that Cache coin website of Mr Drumax's (who seems to be plural), as somebody who lives in Poland, I'd like to point out that in terms of her rich numismatic history it is rather an unfair stereotype to lump it with "Russia", a country not even in existence when Poland first struck coins. http://www.cachecoins.org/russiaeasterneurocoins.htm Eastern Europe has a far richer numismatic heritage than a few coins with Stalin's portrait. Stalinism lasted here a shorter period (1945-56) than the post-1989 democracies (1989/90 onwards). Where are they represented in this coiney internationlist presentation?

Paul Barford said...

Right, well I think there are enough of a coiney's comments piled on on top of the other to demonstrate that the blog owner "permits opposing views". Here they are.

We have however strayed right away from the topic of the post which was "opposing views on collecting". As I said, this is not a discussion list. I am perfectly willing to join a coiney discussion forum and explore the topics Drumax raises, but it is THERE on coiney forums (as I pointed out several "pages" above) that opposing views are not permitted.

So let's give Mr "Drumax" the last word in this, his very own thread. Maybe he'd like to pose his questions under a more appropriate blog text and I will try to answer them properly there.

 
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