Thursday, 21 July 2011

Ancient Coin Collectors Guild Celebrates (sic) Seven Years of "Defending Ancient Numismatics"

I see the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (really a dealers' lobby) is spending some of its members on a self-gratulatory PRNewswire release "Ancient Coin Collectors Guild Celebrates Seven Years of Defending Ancient Numismatics". That's a laugh. Most organizations would use such a press release to highlight its successes, the ACCG just moans that it is misunderstood and fighting an uphill battle against the evil ones that want to protect the archaeological resource from erosive commercial exploitation. It's author places blame for the creation of the group on Peter Tompa who "In Paul Revere fashion,[...] raised early alarms". My feeling is a better analogy would be with the Battle of the Camel, trying desperately to maintain the status quo.

The ACCG fights the laws put in place - the ACCG argues - through the influence of those arch-blaggards, the archaeologists, and thus it is that the interests of (what they see as a valid and independent) discipline are "being subordinated to a group largely unfamiliar with the science and traditions of numismatic research and preservation". Surely then, instead of fighting the symptoms (the laws and restrictions), the ACCG should be seeking a remedy through dealing with what they identify as the source of the problem. Why, then, in those seven years have they not organized a single seminar, congress, conference or even publication to make them familiar with the science and aims of heap-of-coins-on-a-table numismatics? What about some ACCG educational outreach to scholars of other disciplines (like archaeology) on the lines of what the ANS was (is?) doing?

I have asked before and will ask again, where it the reading list of textbooks of the independent discipline of heap-of-coins-on-a-table numismatics, the body of theory on which it is based? We've heard much of the "history" and "traditions", but let us see the substance of this discipline, codified in a form in which it can be set aside others and its merits assessed.

Photo: "General Washington astride his favorite camel, "Omar," during the Battle of Tampa in 1778."

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