Monday 22 June 2009

Coineys ignore Von Kaenel

In reference to John Hooker's rambling name-dropping reaction to a post on this blog, Californian portable antiquity dealer Dave Welsh apparently in all seriousness announces on Moneta-L:

In the detailed post below, John Hooker meticulously refutes Paul Barford (yet again ....) and then goes on to say that Barford "... just doesn't get it. It is all invisible to him.

Well, John Hooker’s post on Moneta-L is long, a bit short on the (relevant) detail, but despite his efforts to legitimate the mere dismissal of what I wrote, I do not accept that Hooker has “refuted” what I said. Neither has Welsh for that matter.

I would like to point out to the scolding and moralizing Californian coin dealer that the points I was highlighting here were made by Dr. Hans-Markus von Kaenel, of the Goethe University, Frankfurt-am-Main. I would say he merits the term “professional numismatist” more than a mere shopkeeper with - as far as I can see – few articles in proper peer-reviewed numismatic journals or monographs to his name. So Mr Welsh will forgive me if I tend more to be interested in von Kaenel's assessment of the situation in current numismatics this side of the Atlantic than his own.

What I said would however be very helpful would be if the heap-of-loose-artefacts-on-a-table “numismatists” would attempt to produce (a) a review of the book about “coins in context” and (b) a methodological treatise [let's call it "Coins OUT OF Context"] which shows how ignoring the context from which the objects they collect come can in any way advance a fuller understanding of the past.


Phil Davis said...

Hello Paul-- I'm curious, on what do you base the headline of this post? Here are a substantial number of examples of "coineys" not ignoring Dr. von Kaenel:
I found these references with no effort at all; there are many more.

Phil Davis

Paul Barford said...

Phil, read the post and the coin collecting forum to which I refer. Has either John Hooker or Dave Welsh actually addressed the fact that what was being discussed was what Dr. von Kaenel had written? No, thought not. That is the point I was making. They are ignoring what was said, and merely venting their wrath on somebody else. We expect of course nothing else from the posturing clowns of the ACCG.

As I said, I would like to see the ACCG actually write a critique of this numismatic book and the points it contains. Do you think they will, Phil? Or do you think they'll continue to stand on the sidelines of the debate on ethical collecting, foaming at the mouth and muttering that "Petrarch collected coins" and that the "way Petrarch collected coins" is the way US collectors will jolly well continue collecting coins no matter what? That's the way forward for coin collecting is it, looking back at Petrarch as the role model?

Anonymous said...

Grrrr, I do wish these ACCG et al wallahs would explain themselves in a way in which ordinary people (or “the main stakeholders” as they think of themselves) can think isn't a smokescreen.

Mr Hooker opines “the primacy of archaeological context over typology is going to miss a lot”. But that’s not exactly a revelation down our lane, nor is the opposite truism, “if you look at typology and ignore context you miss even more”! If you only half look you only see half – yes, but so what, why keep belabouring such an obvious fact?

It’s a puzzle. Surely no-one is trying to say the pursuit of one by means that risk precluding the pursuit of the other is justified on the grounds that more will be gained in net terms? 100% minus 90% gets you 100% ??? Who would swallow that?.... Well, their customers, thinks the ACCG, evidently. For what else can this mean –

“We oppose government efforts to place the burden of proof on collectors”!

What is that but a public declaration that context is expendable so long as collectors still get to collect and coin dealers still get to deal?

Paul Barford said...

It strikes me there is a pattern here, Elkins discusses von kaenel, Hooker reads the headline of my post referring to it, attacks Barford. Welsh reads at the beginning of that text that Hooker is attacking Barford, so decides to have a go too - apparently without checking what the discussion is about. I point out that they've both ignored what the discussion was about, Phil Davis reads the headline (coineys ignore von Kaenel), and without reading the rest of the post says
"no they don't".

On one of the coiney blogs, there is a post which consists only of the title, which is then repeated below, there's nothing else.

I think its worth seeing if this is a pattern that repeats itself in collectordom. Is the tendency for some to go for the tactile and visual experience of a "piece of the past in yer 'and" rather than the more cerebral approach to the past through books due to attention span deficiency? That would explain a lot. It would explain the guy who put his 4000 year old cuneifoirm tablet under the tap instead of taking the trouble of reading up what they are made of.

Obviously this is something the PAS needs to research, I know that I've read on a metal detecting forum (some time ago now) a complaint that an artefact hunter could not cope with any of my posts because they were all longer than eight sentences which was his limit. If that is so, maybe the PAS will have to tailor their outreach accordingly.

Just a thought, but perhaps one that needs exploring.

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