Thursday, 26 June 2014

Reason Against the Coinheads

David Knell has added his two pennies' worth to the Biblical Archaeological Society discussion on "preserving provenance". He seems not to think very much of the coin dealers' line of "reasoning" either:
Apart from a genuine disregard for history, there can be only one reason why the coin dealers and their lobbyists are up in arms: acting responsibly is inconvenient. Refusing to buy stock that is likely to have been looted, carefully recording stock and revealing its provenance so that customers will know they are not encouraging looting either, and so on, are all a troublesome hindrance. To avoid that inconvenience, the dealers will invent any excuse they can dream up: archaeology isn’t important, coins aren’t important to archaeology, coins are all found in hoards, coins are common, it’s all the fault of the ‘source’ countries for not guarding the sites properly, archaeologists are just being nasty, and so on ad infinitum. All the excuses are blatant rubbish that are easily refuted but the dealers simply ignore that or invent another one. I have to wonder if the coin dealers spent half the energy on cleaning up their act as they do on inventing silly excuses to carry on regardless, people like Nathan wouldn’t have to defend what should be blindingly obvious. 
And that is it, the whole problem with dodgy dealers in a nutshell. What is more, those "any excuses the dealers can dream up" really are blatant rubbish (and I am pretty sure they know it) and anyone with familiarity with the ins and outs of the discussion with them over the past few years will see clearly that they are nothing more than a cynical deliberate tactic to to deflect attention, waste time and to attempt to discourage any further attempts to discuss things with them. Like UK metal detectorists, they just want to be left alone to do their thing. Obviously, they cannot, they cannot be trusted to ever get around to cleaning up their act by themselves, there is money to be made by cutting corners, and transparency is going to be pretty inconvenient to current business models (and contacts). It is time the business was better monitored and regulated. 

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