|Responsible collectors are up against |
irresponsible dealers selling artefacts
like potatoes loose in boxes...
But according to the Summary Judgement p. 16 fn 7:
"We know few actual details about the history of the defendant coins [...] all John Pett of Spink coins could say is that he thought it likely that a former colleague selected some low grade coins stored in boxes".That's boxes of coins acquired by Spink's presumably from licit sources such as old documented collections (yes?). But then inexplicably instead of retaining the connection between the objects and the documentation of where they came from (despite the clear implications of art. 3 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention) they threw away all the labels, coin envelopes, documents, and mixed the loose coins up in boxes of other loose Cypriot coins. What else was in those boxes? It cannot escape attention that Spink's was implicated in the sale of Cambodian sculptures which turned out to have been looted in the 1970s. Where did the Cypriot coins loose in those boxes come from? One might wholly legitimately ask, did some of them arrive on the market from looting of Cyprus in the aftermath of the 1974 Turkish invasion? Without documentation, the seller cannot ascertain, still less prove, that they were not (though should be interested in doing so if there had been documentation that they were kosher). So what business has he in selling them?
I would be very interested to see the ACCG (IAPN and PNG) and ADCAEA Guidelines "when buying artefacts sold like potatoes loose in a box involves no risk of acquiring artefacts which came on the market illicitly". I would really urge them to set about producing such a text as soon as possible if that is the sort of standards which prevail on the market in the second decade of the 21st century. It seems to me that there are a whole load of reasons to be completely suspicious of ANY dealer who offers artefact like this, because if they have been acquired no-questions-asked, they could as easily been from a middleman who got them at second or third hand from a bloke who bought a job-lot just emptied out of the swag-bag of a person who'd burgled a museum store, or from the sackloads which result from illegal metal detecting (Susan Headly 2005, 'The Saga of an Uncleaned Coin').
What is worth noting is that acording to the Summary Judgement p. 16 fn 7, in setting up this Baltimore illegal Coin Import Stunt case Spink's and the ACCG (and the dealers' organizations affiliated to them) "purposefully imported unprovenanced collectors coins because they are representative of most coins available in the numismatic marketplace". In other words, the real aim of this whole Baltimore Illegal Coin Import stunt is to protect the "Buy-artefacts-from-different-sources-discard-the-documentation-and-mix-them-up-in-a-box-so-they-can't-touch-you-for-it" type of dealing. This is the type of dealing that should only be being practised by the lowest-of-the-low cowboys in the grey market. Why would anyone in the second decade of the 21st century want to defend such dodgy methods? Reputable dealers in dugup antiquities should acquire only material which can be shown to be licit with properly documented collecting histories. If individual dealers are incapable of sourcing such material through their contacts, then they should not be in the business.
And ancient coins should not be stored by any dealers loose in boxes.