Thursday 18 March 2010

The American Numismatic Association Code of Ethics

The American Numismatic Association is based in Colorado Springs, CO and is a nonprofit educational organization with nearly 33,000 members, "dedicated to educating and encouraging people to study and collect money and related items". The ANA "serves the academic community, collectors and the general public with an interest in numismatics [...] through its vast array of programs including its education and outreach, museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars".

It also has three quite long Codes of Ethics. The third (Board Member
Code of Ethics - revised March 1996) is not important here, but the other two are of interest.
The first is the Member Code of Ethics
Approved August 1965 by the ANA Board of Governors; revised February 1995.
As a member of the American Numismatic Association, I agree to comply with the following standards of conduct:
1) To support and be governed by the Federal Charter and the bylaws of the Association, and by such rules, policies and regulations as may be in force from time to time.
2) To conduct myself so as to bring no reproach or discredit to the Association, or impair the prestige of the membership therein.
3) To base all of my dealings on the highest plane of justice, fairness and morality,
and to refrain from making false statements as to the condition of a coin or as
to any other matter.
4) To neither buy nor sell numismatic items of which the ownership is questionable.
5) To conform to the accepted standards of dignified advertising.
6) To take immediate steps to correct any error I may make in any transaction.
7) Not to sell, exhibit, produce or advertise a counterfeit, copy, restrike or reproduction of any numismatic item if its nature is not clearly indicated by the word “counterfeit,” “copy,” “restrike,” or “reproduction,” incused in the metal or printed on the paper thereof, with the exception of items generally accepted by numismatists and not in any way misrepresented as genuine.
8) To represent a numismatic item to be genuine only when, to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is authentic.
9) To fulfill all contracts made by me, either oral or written, to make prompt payments upon delivery and to return immediately any item that is not satisfactory.
10) To give aid to members in their quest for numismatic knowledge.
11) To comply with the Dealer Code of Ethics with respect to my sale or purchase of any numismatic item.

It is interesting that this CoE refers entirely to the selling of coins, rather than their buying and collection (questionable origins, looking after objects in stewardship etc etc) and focuses on fakes. One wonders whether the collectors' definition of an item of "questionable ownership" refers to questions of absence of information of origins and export procedures, or whether it just means "stolen from somebody else's coin collection"?

The second Code of Ethics is the ANA Dealer Code of Ethics Approved August 1967 by the ANA Board of Governors; revised March 2002.
As an ANA member dealer, I agree to comply with the following
1) To comply with the ANA Member Code of Ethics.
2) To purchase and sell numismatic items at prices commensurate with a reasonable return to the seller and for a reasonable return on my investment with regards to the then prevailing rate.
3) To furnish my clientele with advice on numismatic information to the best of my ability.
4) To not knowingly handle for resale forgeries, counterfeits, unmarked copies, altered coins or other spurious numismatic merchandise that is not clearly labeled as such.
5) To frequently publish my statement of return privileges, which will allow my customers a designated period of time in which to return numismatic material for a refund[...]
6) To abide by all local, state and federal laws in all numismatic matters and to assist in the prosecution of violators of the law in this respect.
7) To recognize and respect my own contracts and business dealings and those of fellow members of the Association.
8) To refrain from making unjustified and/ or false statements or misrepresentations in my relations with others, and to fully cooperate in the advancement of our hobby and business in my relations with collector and dealer alike.
9) Any violation of this code will be grounds for expulsion from the American Numismatic Association.
Again the focus on fake coins and normal business practice. "To abide by all local, state and federal laws in all numismatic matters" ... there is something missing here, isn't there, in the case of dugups illegally excavated in other countries? In other words the limit of an ANA dealers "ethics" is what is not forbidden by local, state and federal US laws. Which basically means when it comes to dealing in illegally exported dugups from eastern Europe or the near East "anything goes". It may be legal (still) in the US, but is it ethical? Also what exactly is implied by "to assist in the prosecution of violators of the law in this respect"? Which "the law"? US local, state and federal laws only? Or assist in the prosecution of those that for example come into the shop with a bagfull of silver coins from Iraq? Does it mean "assist" when asked, or is the Code of Ethics obliging the dealer aware that a crime has been committed to actually report the incident/miscreant? There's so much here left unsaid, presumably - given the length of these documents - deliberately.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.