Tuesday, 9 June 2015

"Candle in the Wind" the Dealers' Hither and Thither Arguments

As Professor Nathan Elkins points out the IAPN lobbyist is exceedingly inconsistent in their views, shifting them relative to the situation from which he is trying to deflect attention. When it is ISIL fighters having a books on archaeology and ancient coins in their weapon chest, as Professor Elkins points out (on Dr Sam Hardy's Conflict Antiquities blog June 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm) coin collector Peter Tompa
makes the point that the coins on the book weren’t made in ISIS-controlled territories. [So these coins couldn’t possibly be encountered by ISIS?] In other situation, he’s always going on about how coins circulated and moved in spite of the fact some classes of coins had limited circulation ranges, like the Egyptian coinage that primarily circulated in Egypt. Did anyone else catch that? Interesting how the perspective changes and coins DO have limited circulation ranges when he wants them to…
Readers will remember that Tompa has always argued (and through his blog on behalf of the IAPN urged readers to comment) that ancient coins all had a wide circulation so the so-called "first found" principle cannot be applied (I show elsewhere that Tompa misrepresents what that is all about).
A more curious suggestion can be found in Tompa's own collect to the same Conflict Antiquities blog - again as IAPN lobbyist. Here he suggests that ISIL cannot possibly be trading in ancient coins because... wait for it... ,
As for coins, you can’t find them without a metal detectors. Unless ISIS has access to metal detectors, and can afford to use them for coin searches as opposed to using them to uncover mines it’s not likely to find many at all.
As Dr Hardy comments, is this comment supposed to be taken seriously? This is pure tosh of course. First of all there is no reason why any Moslem, brown skinned or not should be unable to "afford to use" this tool, he can twiddle the knobs just as well as any half-brain Baz Thugwit. Secondly to posit that it is not possible to find coins without a metal detector would be tantamount to saying that no coins at all were ever found by archaeologists, goatherds or ploughboys through the whole nineteenth and early twentieth century, and that classicists were only able to find out that the Greeks and Romans used coins at all when the metal detector was invented. In fact there was commerce in these objects two centuries ago so they were being found in commercially viable numbers well before the period when metal detectors came into use. Petrarch, as the ACCG coineys keep reminding us,  "had a coin collection". But he did not have a metal detector did he?

Why do dealers and lobbyists make such idiotic claims, and keep shifting their position and then try to bring the discussion down to the personal level when they are challenged? Is this all the "professional numismatists" are capable of?  What is their aim in these tactics?


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