Friday, 11 July 2014

Sekhemka and the Collectors' Lobby

And (as far as collectors and their lobbyists are concerned) the real story is...

The whole fuss in the UK about the sale of one isolated ancient object from a small museum's reserve collection rather puts doubt on one of their fondest dreams. To judge from what they write, collectors before their mums tuck them in for the night are down on their knees with an earnest little prayer: "please, God, make the source country museums deaccession all their duplicate objects for us!".

They try to hasten this eventuality by continually kicking up an unholy fuss about all the alleged "bad" things archaeologists, "corrupt foreign officials", do and the alleged ubiquity of ill-organized, poorly documented museums with (dank dusty) storerooms bursting at the seams with stuff which ignorant "rag-head museum officials" are too ignorant to catalogue (not like US collectors who eat the whole knowledge of the world for breakfast). They believe if they do enough belly-aching of that ilk (epitomised by Dealer Dave's discussion lists and blog, and Tompa's nasty word-ghetto), the world will cave in and deaccession tonnes of stuff and put it on the no-questions-asked market for them to buy and sell like potatoes.

The Sekhemka fuss shows them that this dream is even more distant than they think, which is why it disappoints them.

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