Monday 22 February 2010

Going too Far?

Californian coin dealer Dave Welsh reposts the entire text of David Gill's discussion "Looting matters" of the Baltimore Illegal Coin Import stunt on his blog ("Going too far...")! In his reply he trots out the same old stuff the ACG has been saying all along, but does not explain why dealers in other types of antiquities from China and Cyprus are not taking part in this court action.

Neither does he actually answer the question posed about what dealers in ancient dugups are doing to show they "care if archaeological sites on Cyprus are being looted to provide archaeological material for the market". Welsh answers that the position of the ACCG is that "the right to collect and to own antiquities is a far more important and ultimately transcendent legal principle". Also
In the absence of anything approaching any actual factual evidence that archaeological sites on Cyprus are really being looted to provide coins for US collectors, there is every reason to object to and legally challenge these far-reaching import restrictions.
But then it is beyond dispute that the CPAC agreed that the restricting of imports of Cypriot artefacts into the USA would have a positive effect on reducing looting. it is in their report released by the FOI claim. The same one that it is planned to present as "evidence" in the upcomuing trial if it allowed.

Welsh comments on David Gill's attitudes to this coin stunt: "raises a significant question, as to whether he views the narrow and parochial interests of archaeology being so transcendent that they necessarily trump all British and US common law, and also essential human rights of US citizens". And what of the attitudes of US coin dealers and collectors, do they not raises a significant question, as to whether they views the selfish, narrow and parochial interests of the trade in archaeological artefacts being so transcendent that they necessarily trump all attempts to protect the archaeological and cultural heritage of other nations by international cooperation and legislative measure and also essential human rights of the citizens of the countries affected by the destructive exploitation of their cultural heritage for commercial ends? Should this not be seen as a grassroots attempt of American citizens to claim the right to exercise their own colonialist ideologies at the expense of others?

In a situation when it turns out that over a half of the ancient coins currently in private hands in the US according to a recent report are demonstrably recently and illicitly imported looted archaeological artefacts and not from the recirculation of material from old collections as so frequently claimed, then the attitudes of the coin dealers to mild measures intended to decrease the flow of illicitly exported coins from two countries affected by looting really raises a whole load of questions about the nature of this sorr trade.

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