Wednesday 10 February 2010

Get into the Antiquities Business, Almost as Good as Porn or Gambling

I found this on a "money makers" forum:
We are antiquities exporters in Jerusalem, Israel. We [...] offer genuine, legitimate money-making opportunities to serious business people. We are "antiquities dealers to antiquities dealers" and specialize in export of individual fine ancient art, as well as bulk antiquities from the HolyLand. 90% of our clients are dealer-distributors in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan, and 10% being private collectors. For those who are looking for serious opportunities to establish genuine work-from-home businesses, antiquities distribution can provide a very good income for those who work hard, and are willing to invest their time and money in building and developing their new business. FYI - Antiquities is the 3rd largest online industry after pornography and gambling. Please visit our web sites detailed in our user signature. We look forward to hearing from serious business people.
Kindest regards, B. Leon
Z.Z. Ancient Art Ltd, Z.Z. Antiquities Ltd,
Sounds tempting doesn't it? Work from home, instant social cachet - second only to pornography and gambling, easy access to bulk items direct from Jerusalem.
ZZAntiquities claims "We have over 20,000+ items (not including bulk ancient coins available in their thousands and on regular basis) in inventory in our privatecollections available for sale/export". Twenty thousand individual artefacts and bucketloads of ancient coins. Where did they all come from, whee does he keep them all? This is just one antiquity dealer in one small country.

He has heaps of the stuff on the floor: You Tube film "Bulk Ancient Bronze Coins, Egyptian and Canaanite Scarab Seals, Mesopotamian Cylinder Seals" which we see him tossing about like so many pebles on a beach. This is the followup to that . Lots of "Judean coins" in this one. There are curently 11 films on You Tube from this guy all showing heaps of mixed and unprovenanced ancient coins in various states of preservation but mostly looking uncleaned (so not really believable as "from an old collection"). A few months back there were a similar number of videos of scarabs and scaraboids that he was selling - similarly in heaps on the same tile floor and being similarly manhandled. I mentioned them in previous posts here, but see that they have now been withdrawn. This is a pity because it probably means that they have been bought by those dealers in the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan and are in the process of being scattered even further among ephemeral private collections.

Presumably they went in their "Special Annual Liquidation of Inventory" when the goal is to "clear out inventory to our global client-dealer/distributors & collectors in order to receive new inventory early next year", so the commodity is obviously flooding in (these "old collectors" must be dropping like flies!). Just look what business opportunities this antiquities exporter now offers, such as:

"Uncleaned"/unattributed mixed varieties in hoards[...] mostly Romans, Byzantines, Greeks, Seleucids, Ptolemies, Judeans, Phoenicians, Nabateans, Persians, etc. i.e. all the cultures and peoples and empires that minted coins and traded and/or controlled this one-of-a-kind unique land bridge of Asia, Europe, and Africa that is the HolyLand. Currently 12,000 premiums available, and 14 kilograms low/avg-quality. Premiums available per-coin; Low/avg-quality are available per kilogram, approx. 500 coins per kilogram, buyer is responsible to pull out coins from the coin chips + ancient artifacts + other junk/artifacts that remain in these hoards of low/avg-quality along with the coins and coin-chips. APPROX. 500 coins per kg = approx. 1.00 USD /coin for normal price of 500 USD /kg. SALE PRICE: 450 USD /kg, minimum purchase 5kg, = approx. 0.90 USD /coin.PREMIUM Q - Price List:500 coins - SALE PRICE: 3.80 USD /coin1000 coins - SALE PRICE: 3.40 USD /coin2000 coins - SALE PRICE: 3.20 USD /coin3000 coins - SALE PRICE: 3.00 USD /coin4000 coins - SALE PRICE: 2.80 USD /coin5000 coins - SALE PRICE: 2.60 USD /coin. These coins sell for incredibly high profit margins when attributed, identified, and resold individually. Coins purchased for 2.60 USD /coin, and then sold EVEN IN WORST-CASE SCENARIO for 5 or 10 USD /coin liquidation price, this is 100 - 200% profit margin. The vast majority of coins are sold at average price of 20-40-60 USD /coin, and often are found and sold by our distributors very special treasure "cherries" of coins for much more (e.g. 400 USD). The only reason we don't do this ourselves is b[ecause]of the strict requirement of Export Approval for each export, so to do so for individual coins burns up the profit in gas + time + complementary express shipping costs - we export ancient coins only in bulk, i.e. hoards or small lots.

Wow. So Israeli export legislation promotes the selling of unprovenanced material in bulk lots like this but not the selling of individual coins? Odd. I am puzzled by the loose use of the word "hoards", who hoarded them? Alternatively another business opportunity could be:

Ancient Oil Lamps: in several types, Available in bulk. Collections of 10 Herodian for 70 USD /lamp (= 700 USD) is popular as personal, individual imports to decorate a house walkway or poolside or jacuzzi. Very simple to use: simply soak a fabric or wick in olive oil, fill the lamps with olive oil, place the wick/rolled-fabric and light. Provides light just as the ancients would have had it.
That's a really ethical way for a collector to treat an ancient artefact, at least we can be hopeful that he does not suggest lighting the lavatory with them too. He adds in case the would-be antiquities dealer does not know: "Herodian (Time of Jesus)". Or a would-be dealer might be tempted of course by the
Mesopotamian Cylinder Seals. Approx. 10-20 currently available.
Will there be any "new inventory" of these coming through the Jerusalem market this year too now the old new inventory has been cleared?

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