Friday, 27 August 2010

Antiquities Lobbyists Use Crude Scare Tactics Again to Snare Gullible Collectors

Wayne Sayles wrote it, sidekick Dave publicised it on the forums, giving it a crude propaganda spin.

For years the ACCG and its hangers on (see here and here for example) have been trying to drum up support among other collectors by trying to persuade them that "archaeologists" even want to take little kiddies' stamp collections away from them under the international conventions on cultural property, "you must join us in our fight", they say. Fortunately stamp collectors are a cannier lot than the collectors of ancient coins obviously are and they can see through the transparent ploy. There is no Ancient Stamp Collectors Guild fighting the cultural property policies of the US. Nor will there ever be. Most people (dealers and collectors) abide by the existing US and other regulations without a murmur, to everybody's benefit, its only the US collectors of dugup ancient coins that are kicking up an unseemly fuss.

Memorable also was the infamous deceit when the same people convinced thousands of collectors of ancient coins that, although nobody had actually seen (and still has not seen) the request, Italy had allegedly requested that the US gubn'mint stop all imports of any coins struck and found anywhere in the Roman Empire as "Italian cultural property". The claim is not only foundationless but so ridiculous that of course nobody normal would believe it. But guess what? Thousands of US ancient coin collectors apparently swallowed this hook, line and sinker and actually bombed the US State Department with thousands of faxes expressing their outrage at such an idea! Can you believe that? The ACCG apparently thinks what matters is quantity and not quality, and hoped to obtain the former by shock tactics and deceit. It did not matter that the story was invented, what mattered was the size of the response it generated. I really do hope the State Departement has all those faxes archived so future generations can see what complete idiots were responsible for the destruction of the world's archaeological heritage still in the first decades of the twenty first century.

Well, when I discussed this on my blog, I used a vignette of a bull being led by the nose, and I am using it again. Now Greece has asked the US to stop illegally exported items of Greek cultural property from entering the country. As we all know the request concerns archaeological and ethnological material from Greece dating to the Neolithic Period through the mid-eighteenth century. So what is happening?

Wayne Sayles wrote it, sidekick Dave publicised it on the forums, giving it a crude propaganda spin. Mr Sayles (deliberately?) does not say what the request covers, but Mr Welsh adds his commentary:
Although no formal disclosure has yet been made of the exact contents of the Greek request, it is widely expected that this did include coins, and that the request for restrictions on coins may extend from antiquity down to the independence of modern Greece.
Now obviously Mr Welsh has knowledge of the history of Greece that we do not posess. Apparently the War of Greek Independence was actually fought nearly a hundred years earlier than it says in the books. Guess that's what you get for looking at Wikipedia. So anyone who collects nineteenth century Ottoman coinage should get onto the State Department and tell them what is what. No matter that the 1983 CCPIA only applies to antiquities older than 250 years.

It seems to me a pattern is emerging here, the ACCG seems intent on drumming up support for its militant obstructionism by producing pseudo-facts of shock-horror value to provoke a knee-jerk reaction ("how could they?") from those too lazy to check the facts before firing off a response. These are not honest tactics, they are not ethical tactics. And they show not only how much respect the dealers of the ACCG have for the facts and open dialogue and debate about dealing with dugup cultural property, but also their total lack of respect for their clients, the collectors who it seems they are intent of time and time again misleading.

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