Thursday, 15 December 2011

Man on a Mission: Almighty Jove!! Hurl thy Olympian thunderbolts and raise up Dragon's Teeth

One of the words coin dealer Dave Welsh edited out when he cut and pasted my posts to just about every coiney discussion forum in western Christendom was "rabble rouser". He apparently considers this an unjust criticism. What then are we to make of this communication, found most appropriately enough on the German-based "Freak Search" website? What an astounding text:
For every collector of ancient coins, there is something very important that urgently needs to be addressed -- and if you wish to continue this beneficial avocation you should give serious consideration to getting involved. Archaeoblogger Paul Barford (a failed former archaeologist who has never yet done anything else of importance in that or any other field) is doing enormous, irreparable damage to your coin collecting interests through his incessant anticollecting rants in what has become a very widely read, influential and dangerous blog.

Should this unpleasant and unscrupulous man get what he wants, you can kiss ancient [and antique world] coin collecting goodbye, including any hope of ever being able to sell your collection. Coin collecting (with the connivance of Barford's fellow travelers in the bureaucracy of the US State Department) will by degrees eventually be restricted and ultimately prohibited by law.

This dangerous man is unscrupulously, steadily inciting public opinion against collectors, and if he is not convincingly answered that incitement will one day have fatal consequences. Someone must convincingly refute this drivel, lest this misleading and deceptive propaganda (whose original model is the "Big Lie" of Josef Goebbels) should be publicly accepted.
Incredible. If he persists in drawing a parallel between my remarks about no-questions-asked collecting to Goebels, the German coin collectors in his readership may well consider the methods of ACCG officers like him to have more in common with the methods of Julius Streicher. I hardly think the idea that the Department of State are Barford's fellow travellers will wash, either.

Mr Welsh presents himself to the Germans as a man with a mission, to counteract what he describes as "drivel" about no-questions-asked collecting. He says: "To date I have been doing that essential work alone. No one has yet come forward to help". Our hearts bleed. He urges his readers not to pay any attention to what he calls "the usual gaggle of unthinking liberal idiots" who have been reprimanding the self-appointed saviour of the whole global coin-collecting hobby for his bad behaviour and "what (to their sub-room-temperature IQs) superficially appears to be unfair personal attacks on Barford". He informs his readers that:
in social reality and every aspect of law and beyond that, in professional and academic ethics, there is no such thing as a personal attack in criticizing the public persona of someone who has intentionally made himself a notorious public figure.
Welsh warns his readers that the ultimate - but concealed- aim of this "unscrupulous propagandist" is allegedly to make "collecting
anything made by the hand of man, which is more than 100 years old, prohibited by law". Really? That's news to me.

Welsh further urges:
His poisonous outpourings cannot be left unanswered. To date I have been carrying that torch alone (see ) and I am getting very tired of doing that. [...] Do you care about the future of your coin collecting avocation ? Can you
accept the prospect of never again being able to add specimens to your collection, or to sell it? You should give that serious thought, for this evilly disposed crank (reminiscent to me of the creature Gollum) incessantly endeavors to steal away your collecting rights. [...] Forbid it, Almighty Jove!! Hurl thy Olympian thunderbolts and raise up Dragon's Teeth, a legion of militant collectors willing to stand up in public for what they believe in.
So, who is willing to stand alongside the likes of Mr Welsh? Is there a reason, perhaps that antiquity collectors have shied away from being more deeply involved in his campaigns against critics of no-questions-asked collecting? He has a blog ("Ancient Coins") to which there are no comments under the majority of his rants, he also runs two discussion lists - the Unidroit-L list ( 261 Members - one main poster responsible for a monologous 96% of the posts there) and his new "Numismata" list, stuck for some weeks at the 18 members mark and again a monologous 97% of the posts by the same guy - guess who? Attempts two months ago to kick-start some discussion on the Unidroit-L list by trying to drag me into the discussion failed to have any effect on the profile of the discussion except to establish that list members had nothing about no-questions-asked collecting they wanted to discuss if I was going to join it. The same is happening on the new list, Welsh keeps goading with posts about the "evilly disposed crank" to try and catalyse some unifying and identity-affirming group hate-in, but his 18 members are not, on the whole taking the bait (looks like you'll have to talk there about COINS after all, Mr W.).

But I like the bit about being "convincingly answered". So far, the collectors' main tactic has been muddying the discussion, using weasel words, misdirection and slime tactics or simple denial to avoid addressing the issues no-questions-asked collecting raises. Is there no-one among them who can actually assume the mantle of representing RESPONSIBLE collecting and address these issues in a public forum? Where are their blogs, discussion lists?

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