Sunday 16 May 2010

"Credo in.... unam sanctam cathólicam et apostólicam ACCGlésiam"

John Pennock ("ANS, ACCG, PAN") somewhat aggressively ups the pressure on Reid Goldsborough to define his position with respect to the ACCG creed:
Do you support the inclusion of ancient coins to the MOU with Italy (and China and Cyprus?)
Do you believe that import restrictions in the USA will reduce the smuggling, looting, and loss of numismatic information in source countries?
Do you agree that the British/PAS system is the best system to promote to source countries for reducing smuggling, looting, and loss of numismatic information?
I am sure that most Monetans would unthinkingly answer "I believe" to the ACCG position on all three of those points. I wonder how Goldsborough will answer in the face of the hostility any measured response is likely to arouse in a milieu that has grown to accept certain schematic mantras as articles of faith, as a badge of 'right thinking' from which there can be no dissent or heresy?

Obviously, if there is an MOU requiring archaeological artefacts to have export licences to enter the USA, then coins (which are archaeological artefacts) will be on it. To reduce the number of illegally exported artefacts that can be offloaded onto what is arguably still pretty high up on the global league table of largest markets for antiquities can only have a beneficial effect on the volume of such sales. As for whether the "British/PAS system" is the best "for reducing smuggling, looting, and loss of numismatic information", that really is a loaded question. The 'system" to which Pennock refers has of course absolutely NOTHING to do with smuggling, as that is covered by an entirely different legislative system, which in fact differs in no important way from that of other countries. The "British system" to which Pennock refers has in fact no direct effect on "looting", promoting artefact hunting and collecting as beneficial pasttimes has not meant that nighthawks have stopped going out at night (and despite whitewash reports about the scale of the activity I do not accept that the level will have dropped in response to the PAS as opposed other factors involved - as discussed more than a year ago on this blog).

John Pennock reckons that this "British system" should be being promoted "to source countries for reducing smuggling, looting, and loss of numismatic information". The ACCG is currently going about this by attempting to block attempts to curb illegal exports of cultural material. That is hardly going to win it an audience among the countries that see this as a threat to its cultural heritage. Also "protecting numismatic information" alone is not going to be a high priority if it is seen by these other nations as associated with losses of other types of information and cultural property. The "strategy" of the ACCG as a means of reaching this aim is to say the least, puzzling, and certainly does not represent any kind of "middle way" as Pennock asserts.

In any case, as far as I can see, ACCG has not made any efforts to contact any of the source countries themselves to present its point of view and persuade them to adopt the approach to the heritage which they so earnestly urge. When and how does it intend to do this? the ACCG has been in existence since 2004, perhaps it is due its members an explanation of what it has actually done in concrete terms to further these international aims to date, and how it intends to do this in the future?

Surely the most logical approach would be to take this direct to UNESCO and persuade that body to introduce this as an ammendment to the 1970 Convention. What direct contacts has the ACCG had with UNESCO over the past six years to achieve this aim? What actually is the long term strategy of the ACCG to further the interests of collectors?

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