Thursday 18 February 2010

Bad Pennies

A new issue of Robert Matthews' Counterfeit Coin Newsletter (CCN) has appeared online. This is number 13. It begins with a short presentation of the new batch of Serbian fake LRB (Late Roman Bronze) coins which I discussed here earlier. After presenting the history of the discovery of this highly interesting group of coins, Matthews writes:
The emergence of this "hoard" illustrates the need for dealers and collectors to only purchase material that is well provenanced and has appropriate export licences. Without these records such coins are likely to have been smuggled or counterfeited. It continues to amaze CCN that people who would not contemplate breaking the domestic laws of their country are happy to buy and sell such material from a probable illegal origin.
Well, it does not "amaze" me, but speaks volumes for the ethics of coin dealers and traders. If dealers lose money and their reputations by buying fake coins thinking they are buying looted and illegally exported coins from law-breakers, then I for one have no sympathy whatsoever for them. Nor for collectors that place their trust in such dealers without ascertaining where the coins they peddle are actually coming from. The Newsletter also has an interesting article British one-pound coin counterfeiting which, like looting of archaeological artefacts "reaches a "level of political significance""

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