Friday 8 April 2011

"Inept, lying propagandists devoid of anything remotely resembling ethics"

Who knows what is possible in an article reported by Paul Barford. Never have so many been [...] so grievously misrepresented and misquoted by so few – nor have their originally cogent remarks been so unethically twisted by such inept, lying propagandists devoid of anything remotely resembling ethics.
Says antiquities dealer Dave Welsh about the Huffington Post article I and a few others discussed earlier. He does not enlarge on that, merely copy-and-pasting a blog post of sidekick conspiracy theorist Peter Tompa to his monologous antiquitist microforum. Tompa seems not to have had an issue with the representation of the views of the people presented there, but merely observes that New York attorney William Pearlstein never articulated the view that Daniel Grant says he did.
"There are several levels of inquiry that a prudent dealer, museum curator or collector should undertake" [...] Among these, he claimed, is researching published material, such as academic journals, auction houses and museum catalogues, as well as the New York- and London-based Art Loss Register (where valuable reported stolen objects are listed). Prospective buyers should also see import and export licenses for objects -- were they legal to take out of the source country, were they legal to bring into the U.S. -- and obtain a history of the piece's ownership (known as the provenance) "as far back as you can in the chain of ownership." They might also contact the relevant cultural ministry in the country from which the object originally came "to find out if the piece is thought of as stolen by the source country."
yes, I think we can see where the lawyer of a numismatists' trade organization might have problems with a lawyer (formerly it now appears) representing a sister trade organization (the National Association of Dealers of Ancient and Oriental Art) saying such things. The same goes for a US coin dealer - one actively campaigning against US measures to cut illegal antiquity imports into the US and also a declared believer in his ability to do a two-minute due diligence (time appropriate for doing it through holding the coins and feeling their vibes rather than perusing the documentary evidence for their collecting and export history).

Dear, oh dear, the very idea that a prudent dealer, museum curator or collector might research the collecting history of the items they are interested in, try and find out if they have been reported stolen, and - horror of horrors - "see import and export licenses for objects -- were they legal to take out of the source country, were they legal to bring into the U.S." !!!!! You mean, other US collectors do THAT??

[You can almost imagine Tompa and Welsh sitting huddled in a dark corner fondling patinated figured discs of metal muttering and sobbing to themselves (to be read in an Andy Serkis voice),
"it's NOT true, its NOT True ! Nasty little hobbitses, with their lies, their nasty black lies. Collectors, they are our Friends, they don't behave like hobittses... No, it's not true, its a Mis-represent-ation!"].
Meanwhile, the ethical dealers in the US of Ancient and Oriental Art shake their head in bewilderment at the histrionic performance put on by the coin dealers and their fellow travellers attempting to establish the "rights" to deal in illegally exported material, trying as hard as they can to distance themselves from the unsavoury spectacle.

So, if Mr Pearlstein did not ever say what Mr Grant asserts, one wonders what the lawyer would have actually said "due diligence" consists of when buying antiquities and ancient artworks from foreign lands and whether it corresponds to the coineys' "two-minute" version?

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