Friday, 21 November 2014

Friday Retrospect: Coin Fairies

Coin Elves (Arthur Rackham)
I thought, for the benefit of new readers,  it would be worth revisiting the old posts about the "coin fairies" model and the corresponding "coin Elves" posts.

This all started with an early post:  PACHI Sunday, 12 April 2009: 'To all you young collectors out there' taking the mickey out of the US dealers' lobby groups like Ancient Coins for Education (whatever happened to them?) and their incessant efforts to dodge certain key questions.

But then the Coin Fairies and Coin Elves took on a life of their own. The idea is that while the rest of the world sees there is a supply-demand relationship between looting and buying looted items, coin collectors and dealers especially deny there is any such collection. So I invented the fairies and elves to make the point how ridiculous that is. In this model, anything that is looted is allegedly "disappeared' by the fairies, while everything that surfaces on the market comes not from the ground, but (obviously) the secret caves of the ancient coin elves (who I imagined probably live somewhere underground near Munich) who must create them by magic.  It is absolutely out of the question that any of them come from the Coin Fairies. The idea is well-illustrated by this graphic by Nigel Swift of Heritage Action.

Looting System Theory (HA)
A lot of this early discussion was with Dealer Dave of the ACCG. In order to muddy the waters, he insisted we should rephrase the argument in the terms he alone dictated, making out that he wanted us to take a 'scientific' approach to the question: PACHI Friday, 28 May 2010; 'Scientific Proof: Show Me the Coin Fairies'. In this post I presented an artist's impression of the coin fairy postulated by collectors to explain the otherwise inexplicable disappearance of looted artefacts in the "it was not me" model (the original was by IceMaiden71). She's stronger than she looks, and is capable of digging huge numbers of destructive holes in 'productive' archaeological sites.

Coin Elves get their own posts too: PACHI Sunday, 6 July 2014, 'More Understanding for Coin Elves Please'.

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