Sunday, 6 July 2014

More Understanding for Coin Elves Please

Coin Elves, misunderstood
by collectors
Some time ago I made a point on this blog. I couched it in simple language, simple enough one would think, for a child to understand. It seems one senior figure in the coiney world still has trouble with the concept. Wayne Sayles commenting on my post concerning 'Collection Driven Exploitation (CDE)' of archaeological sites ("shot in the foot") writes:
Barford then launched into a tirade against the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Britain, seeming to imply behind a very thin veil of "anti-defamation-suit" verbage that the PAS is a laundering operation for some 16,000 legal metal detectorists in Britain who in Barfordian Twist get their coins from Munich elves (illicit coin dealers). 
It is difficult to follow an argument which diverges so much from what I wrote. My comments on the PAS were not about "laundering" but about the terminology which is used to discuss artefact hunting in the public arena. The job of the PAS is to inform, and I consider that if you try to use what they tell people to counter the sort of nonsenses produced by the no-questions-asked dealers' lobby (as here), it becomes clear that they are not doing that very well. That's why I decided to introduce a term of my own for clarity (to all except a confused old man in the Ozarks). Collection driven exploitation of the archaeological record is what I came up with and it seems a useful general term for what is the object of concern of this blog.

As for "Munich coin elves", Mr Sayles has got that completely round his neck too. They are quite the opposite of "illicit coin dealers". They are the mythical metaphorical construct you would need to invent to account for fresh coins appearing on the market instead of them coming out of the holes of artefact hunters. Mr Sayles would have us believe in coin elves without really knowing what they are himself.

Coin elves and coin fairies in the collectors' imagination
Is it really so difficult to understand what this is all about? Or is Mr Sayles only making a big hullabaloo pretending not to understand, forcing us to waste our time explaining it? Is Mr Sayles going to go down as a sorry sidenote in numismatic history as a timewaster and staller rather than anything else?

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