Friday 28 May 2010

US Coin Dealer "Justifies" his Slander and gets the ACCG into Hot Water

Some coin dealers obviously have a few problems with accepting critisism:
Self styled "Archaeologist" Paul Barford is a liar. Not merely an occasional or accidental liar, but a chronic, habitual liar whose delusions and lack of respect for truth distinguish him as among the most prevaricating, untruthful, and unscrupulous individuals I have ever encountered. [...] That's a significant indictment which no fair minded person should accept without evidence to back it up. Here is that evidence:
1) Barford has consistently and continually accused collectors of antiquities, and the trade that supplies them, of trafficking in "illicit" artifacts.
There is no point number two. That's it. The evidence for saying I am a "chronic, habitual liar" is that I accuse some people of selling illicit antiquities. Hmmm (I suppose he'd have us believe they sell themselves). There are several hundred posts here (hundreds more scattered all across the internet forums too) stating exactly what I do say about collectors, dealers and illicit antiquities, and I think much of it is very much more nuanced than the way Welsh summarises it, but actually that is not his point. For below this "evidence" are enumerated four reasons why what I call illicit artefacts are not really illicit artefacts at all (by US law). THAT is why allegedly I am a liar.

I find what Welsh says really strange. Really strange. For two reasons. Firstly I am British (English actually) and writing in what clearly is UK English. I am writing this from the middle (literally) of Europe. So I am not writing solely about antiquities in the Americas, [even though the excesses of the US "collectors' rights" lobbyists have attracted a lot of my attention recently]. There is therefore a problem in that the word "illicit" means one thing in UK English and another thing in the US English which Mr Welsh clearly, but falsely, assumes I am writing. The second reason why this is strange is that I have already pointed this out (note the present perfect) to Mr Welsh and that is archived on his own Unidroit-L discussion list (January 3rd 2007). So the problem here is Welsh's own capacity to understand and retain information, rather than any "chronic, habitual" deceit and "lack of respect for truth" of mine which is the question.

What is fascinating about this is the intellectual puzzle it creates. Is Welsh so blinded by his hatred that (although I see he claims to be a chess player) he does not see the consequences of his actions (below)? Or is there (conspiracy theory helmet on now) something deeper behind this apparent rash challenge? I suppose it hinges on how good a lawyer "Classical Coins" has. Any writer writing something like that would be prudent to show it to a lawyer, that much is clear. So why did Welsh's legal advisors not sound the alarm? I'm not so much talking about damages for slander. I'm talking about if I took him to court over this, in order to settle the case, a US court would be deliberating about what the term "illicit antiquities" means which would then enter common law. If I lost the case, then I'd be no worse off (already branded a "liar", but look who is making the accusation). If I won the putative case however, for example on the basis of the court taking into account what I have indeed written here, the US antiquities (including coin) trade would be placed in a very awkward position of future courts having a precise legal definition of the word "illicit" antiquity. One in fact along the lines of that used here. Now that would be a jolly useful outcome of this scandalous behaviour.

I wonder whether Welsh agreed his post with the ACCG since the effects could be far reaching, if nothing else this behaviour of one of its officers is a serious detractment from the reputation of the ACCG as a "serious" organization representing a group of people who would prefer to be taken seriously.

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