Monday, 10 September 2012

Numismatists and the Crosby Garrett Helmet

I was looking for some information on the Crosby Garrett helmet and came across a thread on that topic on a numismatic forum where there were two posts which I think are worth sharing. In the first, one "cliff_marsland" indicates (Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 11:46:31 am) what he would do with such a find:
What's wrong with a private owner?  I have no kick against a museum owning it if they're the highest bidder.  This is one of the rare cases of one of those antiquities schemes (and I mean scheme - and this is one of the more benign schemes) working - the owner has the right to do with it what he chooses to do, not some antiquities gestapo.  He should be able to use it as a football, if he so chooses, although that would be a travesty. Legislation usually has unintended side-effects.  I think extra legislation just to save one item would be a bad idea, and the politicians could just as easily include coins and make it worse for we collectors. If a museum happens to be the winner, cool.  If not, oh well.
I think he rather misses the point here of a legislation which should ensure nationally important items reach a public collection for the benefit of all, rather than be shut away in some private collection where the new owner can "do what he wants with it"... There then follows a surprising admission:
If I had found it, it would probably be fairly dirty, because I would rather it just sit there instead of reporting it, and I'd hide it away somewhere.  Principle is more important than money sometimes.  I would profit far more by reporting it, but [...] sticking it to the antiquities gestapo - priceless.- It's a magnificent piece, by the way.
These are coiney "principles" I guess. The other post of interest is by one "irish", apparently (Reply #49 on: October 09, 2010, 03:40:41 pm) a great admirer of metal detectorists:
The lines have been drawn none the less....the item was initially valuated 200,000.00 - 300,000.00 pounds sterling, and then, within three minutes, was sold for about ten times that amount...the treasure laws are at fault, denigrating bronze to the level of the common classes and there are many instances where silver and gold artifacts should not actually have been called trove, but were, because of the so-called precious metal status.[...]  the treasure laws in the UK are nothing but enrichment for the elite and political types, who are literally looting the metal detectorists. All across Europe these idiotic laws are rampant, and even worse than in the UK! For every good find the metal detectorist makes, he probably removes many pounds of trash, amounting to metallic pollution, from the soil, and except for rare cases, the pay for that service is miniscule, and many times that is taken away by greedy types in the upper echelons of government and miseducation there. I do not like these precedents, as it gives all the politicians of the world bad ideas, and believe me, they all want to be able to abscond with finds, if they can but figure a way.
So, there is a worldwide government conspiracy to cheat metal detector owners of their loot. But it goes further still:
The archaeologists are so busy preserving history they have lost the ability to make history in their own right, and together those two forces, big education and big government, just love to work at keeping people in front of their television sets, soaking up the propaganda and other bizarre informations of little or no worth. Metal detecting has introduced untold numbers of people to the wonderful world of Numismatics, and much else; it should be considered a boon to the world at large, and instead it more often than not is considered a crime. That is as wrong as all the faulty laws. b ..
This guy is singing from the same songcard as Thomas Albert.

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