Wednesday 24 June 2009

Coiney Klan Keeps up the Smokescreen: Collectors fail to Question

The misinformation process about the ACCG illegal import coin stunt is still in full swing among the US collectors of decontextualised numismata. Over on Moneta-L the ACCG position is being reiterated (again) for the benefit of those whose confidence that they were being told the whole truth about the stunt was being swayed (as well it might). Heaven forbid that collectors might question why they were being dragged into this confrontatiuon by dealers and what's in it for them.

I pointed out ten days ago that the CPIA has a handy loophole for all those people who want to import antiquities from countries with an MOU about import restrictions. It applies to those who somehow have not had the opportunity to organize their legal import with an export licence. It’s really quite simple, just a piece of paper with a statement and a signature on it. Apparently speaking on behalf of the ACCG, John Hooker however ignores that totally and announces on the Moneta-L coiney forum: “Apparently, Paul Barford really does not understand what I wrote”. Quite right, I do not understand why he insists on writing about “export licences” when its not now about export licences, I do not understand why Dave Welsh and John Hooker refuse to admit to monetan collectors that there is in fact another way around the lack of export licence embodied in the CPIA. The only reason I can see for this is that to do that would reveal that the system currently in place for the import of coins from source countries which have asked the USA to control this is not so “unreasonable” after all.

To avoid talking about that, Mr Hooker patronisingly explains to his readers what a “test case” is and ventures that “all of his [that’s mine] advice on getting the right paperwork together really misses the whole point”. Well, it is not “advice” so much. What I am saying is that the collectors whose money is being used to finance this stunt (for that IS what it is) and who are ultimately going to be affected when it fails, really ought to be aware of what is going on, who is to blame for the path of confrontation that has been forced upon them by the dealers' lobby and what alternatives there are/were.

We therefore come back to the statement that “It is about changing unreasonable and restrictive laws”. Are these laws really so unreasonable when there’s a whopping big loophole in the CCPIA just waiting to be used? Are they unreasonable to collectors? The only unreasonable thing here is the attitudes of certain 'don't-ask-me-any-questions' dealers who are intent on divisive confrontation between exploiters and conservers, who form a sort of Ku Klux Klan of collecting united in their hatred of “archaeologists” and “archaeology” and its concerns which comes through very clearly in the writings of the ACCG members.

Another rather startling fact has just come to light and I am not sure what to make of it. Not only was the strategy of this Baltimore illegal import stunt not presented to the ACCG’s own members (“collectors”) for consideration as one of a number of alternatives to be democratically discussed, Dave Welsh revealed in a private letter in answer to my questions, that not even he, a member of the ACCG Board of Directors, knows where the coins were bought, and to whom the seized package was addressed in the US. So does this mean that fundamental decisions like this were taken without even consultation within the ACCG’s Board of Directors?

If so, it would mean that this whole affair is not the doing of the estimated "50 000" ancient coin collectors in the USA, not the estimated "5000" collector-members affiliated with the ACCG, not the cabal of a dozen or so members of the Board of Directors of the ACCG itself, but the doings of [a secret core] of maybe one or two people working within and ostensibly on behalf of all those people - but without it seems asking them first whether they agree that this confrontation is necessary or the right way to go. They will all however be required to suffer any consequences of it going badly wrong. Good, serves them right for not standing up to the unreasonable bully boys that are the source of all the trouble here.

1 comment:

Marcus Preen said...

These "in place of an export licence" certificates fascinate me Mr B.

Since some collectors might be reading your blog and many of them might be anxious to avoid illegal or unethical purchases, might it not be helful to them if you provided a draft of the sort of certificate they could be demanding from dealers as a condition of purchase?

I (dealer name and address) and I (supplier name and address) swear on oath that the items here listed (dug ups 1 -1000) were to the best of our knowledge blah blah blah...."

You could present it in such a way that they could print it off and send to any dealer in any case where they wanted to be sure. Indeed, if they simply requested a "Barford Certificate" the dealers would understand and could send it I suppose. I can't imagine they wouldn't - or indeed that they wouldn't welcome it as good for business and their professional image since it would say no more than they say they do anyway, sort of.

It strikes me that by going direct to the collectors in this way rather than arguing with others you would be doing something which all parties would benefit from hugely.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.