Monday 17 May 2010

"Credo in..." a Collector Addresses the Coiney Inquisition

Speaking in defence of the ACCG and its extremist obstructionist approach to efforts to instill an ethical market in antiquities, John Pennock demanded a confession of faith of a collector who had - as one of few - stood up and expressed doubt about whether this was indeed a good way forward. Præmittendam esse confessionem fidei and Goldsborough is once again forced to defend his rational ideas against the naysayers.

Goldsborough is one of the two collectors* in that whole discussion which has been going on for weeks that shows any sign of actually having thought deeply about the arguments of the "other side" rather than dismissing them with much name calling as heretical and evil ("...non esse sibi colluctationem adversus carnem et sanguimem, sed adversus spirituales neguitias in cœlestibus...").

He is thus singled out for persecution and interrogation. John Pennock ACCG, ANS, PAN has set himself up as the Grand Inquisitor (Californian dealer Richard Pearlman recently launching a particularly distasteful attack too). However, as one of the few collectors that have expressed in an articulate form anything that steps outside the box, it is worth dwelling on Goldsborough's measured replies to the baiting of Pennock and the rest.

Goldsborough begins his reply to the interrogation by pointing out that the arguments used by the pro-collecting lollards about cultural property in general canot be applied to the destruction of archaelogical evidence to fuel the no-questions-asked collectors' market.
The work of archeologists should be protected against looting, which makes their work more difficult and interferes with the creation of new knowledge. Numismatists should have access to to contextual knowledge about findspots and hoards now lost as a result of smuggling. Dealers of coins and antiquities should be able to make markets in some percentage of newly unearthed items.
He adds that he has been thinking about what he regarded as
omissions and distortions we were engaged in, on our side, to try to further our political aims. It's my belief that these actions don't further our aims. I know that others believe that just as the opposition is fighting this way so should we, and if we don't we'll lose. One person here repeated argues that we should hide truth so as not to give the opposition more ammunition. My attitude is Two wrongs don't make a right, and being right here is the way to go, that truth will ultimately win out.
"... fundamentum firmum et unicum, contra quod portæ inferi nunquam prævalebunt..."

Reid Goldsborough admits that some might see that as "naive":
But right now, as I see things, we're losing the battle, and according to my fuzzy crystal ball it's inevitable that more and more source countries will try to force collector countries to enact import restrictions on new finds and will largely succeed. Without any disrespect at all for the truly accomplished people making the argument on our side, I don't believe we're making the right argument. Despite the distortions and omissions of the other side, it's making a better argument for the common good.
In replying to Grand Inquisitor Pennock, Goldsborough says that he agrees with "almost all of the positions of ACCG, including but not limited to those you just mentioned".
What I don't agree with, most of all, is ignoring or downplaying or distorting the reality of smuggling, which has been central to the distribution of new coin and artifact finds in Mediterranean countries for a very long time.
I don't agree that this can be logically ignored in a discussion of how newly unearthed coins and artifacts should be dealt with.
I believe import and export restrictions, looting, and smuggling should all be addressed more or less equally because they're all related.
I believe we should make the case to source countries, as an integral part of what we do, about how it's in their interest to open up markets. This shouldn't be a
peripheral issue with us as it is now and has been.
We can't just argue, or appear to be arguing, for the retention of a very flawed status quo because collecting is a time-honored tradition and collectors have rights and private property should be respected and all the rest.
And those making this argument can't be dealers contending they're collectors. This won't win.
Mr Goldsborough is headed I fear for excommunication from the Holy Internationalist Coiney ACCGlesia for saying what he believes.

I wonder, do US bus ticket collectors, or phone card collectors get the same once-over on their forums as we see here with self-appointed inquisitioners baiting and grilling fellow members in such an opiniated and aggressive manner as we see on the coiney (and artefact collecting) forums?

* the other is "Chris W.".

Vignette: "Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition" on a moderated coin collecting forum. "Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Executive Director"...

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