Friday 16 December 2011

"The fanatics at the AIA" translated

Peter Tompa in coiney speech mode:
The fanatics at the AIA and the obdurate bureaucrats at the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs might want to consider how their efforts to suppress ancient coin collecting will impact numismatic study in this country before its too late.
Translation into more objective language:
The people concerned about archaeological site preservation in the AIA and the bureaucrats at the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs might want to consider how their efforts to regulate the collecting of freshly-surfaced ancient artefacts without documentation of lawful export from certain the source countries will impact responsible and ethical numismatic study in this country.
What is the matter with these people that they cannot, honestly, admit what their problem is?

Nobody is "trying to suppress ancient coin collecting", what we all agree should be curbed is the no-questions-asked trade which allowed freshly surfaced looted material to pass onto the international, and US in particular, market unchallenged. All of us, that is, except a small minority, a few hundred individuals at the most, of people who unthinkingly leap at the bidding of a few dozen US and international dealers in dug-up ancient coins, unanimously requesting that the flow of freshly-surfaced coins into the US should not have to face the hurdle of documenting licit sources. Who are these people, why are they acting in this way, what do they and others stand to gain from this?


Cultural Property Observer said...

Come now, you know better. The restrictions at issue apply to all designated coins of Cypriot, Chinese, Italian and now Greek type NOT JUST "freshly-surfaced" material. Moreover, such "undocumented" material that is openly and legitimately for sale in major markets like the UK and Germany is subject to seizure based on the faulty assumption that any artifact on the designated list "must be stolen." Grossly overbroad restrictions suppress coin collecting because they limit access for US Collectors. Collectors and dealers are also the only ones who write the checks for numimatic research in the US. Do you think the U.S. Government provides any financial support? Meanwhile, collectors in Cyprus, China, Greece and Italy can freely import similar coins into their own country no problem.

And it can also be asked why collectors and small businesses are being put through this when the actual support for such restrictions is limited to at most a few hundred archaeologists with an axe to grind against collectors, and who in any case are entirely dependent upon the same source countries to conduct their own trade. Talk about self-interest!

Anonymous said...

You should also translate "bureaucrat", which is a loaded, rather right-wing word.

Maybe "civil servants" or " honest, punctilious legal specialists and civil servants" ?

Paul Barford said...

"Who are these people, why are they acting in this way, what do they and others stand to gain from this?"

@ Tompa
I really do not know if you set out deliberately to make yourself look thick, whether you genuinely do not understand, or whether you do this because you are paid to. I suspect the latter, which does not reflect at all well on you.

The restrictions refer to imported items (yes, not all those that in other countries come under the 1970 UNESCO Convention, but ONLY those on your country's selective "designated lists") which are not accompanied by the documentation which YOUR OWN LAW uses to define lawful export.

The CCPIA concentrates on US import controls, it does not deal with the sale of material once it has got through the barrier of bubbles that is US border control. Thus it is irrelevant what can be sold on the market within other countries. Neither does the CCPIA regulate what other countries do.

If you do not like CPIA, then get this broken and ineffective law back to Congress for rewriting to suit the market of the 2010s. Get some real public input into what - in order to take the moral leadership your nation so craves in the international community - a law to protect the world's cultural heritage from rapacious dodgy dealers and smugglers should look like. I am sure the AIA would welcome such a move too.

Paul Barford said...

Als to be noted, the total dodging of the issue of whether the aim is to "suppress [coin] collecting" which is the official ACCG line spouted by its officers Welsh and Tompa and in total disregard of the actual policies towards collecting set out by bodies such as the AIA.

Readers will note and draw conclusions from the fact that the grounds for the alternative view (necessarily a conspiracy theory) are never set out.

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