Saturday, 8 August 2015

Dealer Dave, Due Diligence and the ACCG Code of Ethics

Didactic approach
Torch-Bearing Temecula coin dealer Dave Welsh is possessed by a private demon. To judge by the contents of his personal blog, he is obsessed with the arguments of this blog and this blogger to the almost absolute exclusion of anything else. In a recent insulting post on his "Paul Barford is WRONG, Ancient Coins" blog Welsh claims that:
"for the past ten years I have endeavored, without the slightest success, to educate Mr. Barford in the realities of the numismatic trade, in what collectors really do and how they acquire their coins, and in a myriad of other relevant practicalities 
While I am sure I should be grateful that he has taken this onerous task upon himself, since he has done this via social media, I guess it is not just me, personally, he has been addressing. It concerns everybody who would like to know how precisely it is that coins come out of the ground, pass through various channels to appear on a US dealer's website with no indication of how they got there and then get bought by US collectors. Dealer Dave Welsh acts as a spokesperson for the trade, and exposes to us all just how it works, what it does and does not do. Mr Welsh claims my notion that a responsible dealer would be providing information documenting and confirming the licit origins of the material offered reflects:
almost total ignorance of how such businesses actually operate, and of the realities of the markets that they serve.
Indeed, among the areas where none of us can find any answers from other dealers concerns precisely the issue of due diligence. How, with no firm information, can a dealer hope to be able to demonstrate that the artefact he is considering adding to his stock had not been smuggled out of the source country after having been clandestinely and illegally excavated? Anyone can say 'because I say so, shut your mouth'. I'm talking here about establishing factual information, not opinions and dealers' assumptions.

Looking at the ACCG Code of Ethics, what does "reasonably suspected to be the direct products of illicit excavations in contravention of national patrimony laws" mean to a dealer like Dave Welsh if the coin in front of him has zero information about its origins? Does he just make an assumption/guess?

Will Dealer Dave buy a coin where there is no evidence that "coin collectors and sellers" involved in its handling earlier "have complied with all applicable customs laws"? If so, why, and what does that mean?

As for the ACCG code's "protecting, preserving and sharing knowledge about coins in their collections", will Dealer Dave  buy coins from collectors who do none of these things and have lost the documentation which contains that information?  How can it be ethical to buy coins from people who have not demonstrated by such means that they themselves have followed this ethical code?

Come on Mr Welsh, educate us all without any more of your name-calling and dismissive or deflective tactics. These are serious questions, they require thoughtful and serious answers. What actually does someone get buying a dugup artefact from you?

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