Sunday, 27 September 2009

ACCG raises $32 000 from selling old coins: the fight goes on

The ACCG "Benefit Auction" finished before the weekend, and it has been announced it raised $32 000 ("plus") to fight a case with the US government over antiquity preservation legislation it has passed which allegedly infringe "collectors' rights" in some way. Last year's ACCG benefit auction raised over $50 000 so perhaps we may be justified in inferring that US dealers and collectors are tiring of the incessant barrage of justifications come up with by the coin dealers' lobby to oppose this legislation instead of simply complying with it.

In fact perhaps they are looking closely at who is saying what and who stands to benefit from this case. Certainly not collectors. Not US collectors who want to buy legally imported coins. Who actually is writing about the State Department and the nefarious conspiracies allegedly behind this new legislation? Two names stand out, Wayne Sayles (coin dealer) and his long time buddy "Cultural Property Observer" aka Peter Tompa who the Executive Director has involved in "fighting the good fight agin the gubn'mint". All the rest of the talk on this in coiney circles (and let us note it is only coin dealers that are raising this fuss) is following the line these two define. Nobody is discussing it independently of the group of people gathered around these two agitators. But then, whose legal firm has been "retained" apparently to deal with this ACCG/PNG/IAPN case? I'll give you three guesses.

1) Alan Dershowitz (O.J. Simpson's former lawyer)?

2) Ted Watts (coin collecting US lawyer)?

3) Bailey and Ehrenberg (where "Cultural Property Observer" works)?

Guess (Answer here, see Looting matters).

So Cultural propert Observer is stirring up ferment among coin collectors to get them to support an action the conduct of which his own firm stands to benefit from financially?

Why do coin collectors need to FIGHT this legislation? Well, one bizarre explanation emerging from the ACCG clique is that society owes the coin collecting community "a great deal, including freedom, equitable treatment by government, and due process of law". So coineys are striking a blow for "freedom" - but the freedom forseen by the Wisconsin Collector's Rights Declaration which requires lawmakers:
to pass a bill exempting art, books, coins, militaria, pottery, stamps, weapons and other common antique collectibles for consideration from future import restriction and cultural property laws and treaties.
Unrestricted import into the US for all looted dugups for example, unfettered by any "cultural property laws" and international agreements. I think that the coin dealers will need more that 30k to prove to the decent folk of the USA that cultural property laws and international co-operation to halt antiquity smuggling are senseless, though following recent developments in the Blanding case, I begin to wonder.

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