Thursday 15 April 2010

1000 US Votes for Not Fighting Coin Smuggling

The members of the Ancient Coin Collector Guild are trying to barrage the State Department with faxes to stave off the possibility of the US aiding Italy in defending its archaeological heritage from being smuggled out of the country for sale abroad. They have set up a "fax wizard" to help members make their points of view known. They are keeping close tabs on how many of those faxes are opposed to the US fighting coin smuggling from Italy and periodically let the extent of self-centred coiney philistinism in the US be known. On Thursday at 8:00 PM the count was 1005 faxes. With 50 000 collectors of ancient coins in the US, there is a possibility that the picture could be much worse. How many people roused to fax the CPAC hare reacting to the 'mob' attitudes stimulated by alarmist misinformation being spread by coin dealers and how many actually took the trouble to find out what the fuss is about by actually reading the material produced by the supporterrs of the MOU? I thin the figures speak for themselves.

It is worth noting that at the bottom of the "fax wizard" page itself there is a copyright assignation to ", LLC.", and the 'help' link goes to... V-Coins. The source of the faxes being sent to the CPAC is the coin-selling firm V-Coins owned by Bill Puetz who also "just happens to be" the President of the ACCG. Now it is a thought provoking exercise to look at the number of ancient coin dealers ("142 Ancient Dealers 8 Coming Soon) who are using this portal to sell ancient coins. At the time of writing the home page shows 102,734 ancient coins on there, most of them totally unprovenanced, of a total value of $20,541,487. Twenty million dollars. Let us also remember that the CPRI estimate that the total holding of ancient coins currently in private collections in the US is just under seven times that. It is very difficult to say how many of those 102 000 coins are fresh imports from Italy, with no provenances given for the vast majority of coins being sold by V-coins it is difficult to judge. What would be the effect of import controls on freshly imported coins from Italy on this business? Obviously enough for this company to be concerned enough to openly host the anti-smuggling "fax wizard".
Vignette: from the thought-provoking article: 7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls. (It is St Wolfgang from the altar of Michael Pacher in Abersee, Austria)

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