Thursday 1 December 2011

A Lot of Sovereigns on EBay today

There seems to be quite a lot of sovereigns on EBay at the moment, you know, Victoria, Edward VII, is it not a tad suspicious that they just "surface" on the market like that within a few days of the end of the weekend? I suppose we could treat this as an analogy for other kinds of "surfacing" of artefacts without any explanation where they come from. Except there we infer a new hoard has been found and illegally dispersed when one or more dealers suddenly offers a group of related coins in suspiciously similar condition. Here we know a hoard has been found and illegally dispersed and we (and the police) can be on the lookout for coins which might be from it.

I should explain for those who have not cottoned on yet, although these coins are not "300 years old", they still count as "Treasure" in the terms of that (not) "wonderful" Treasure Act, as it has a category
(1)Treasure is—[...]
(c)any object which would have been treasure trove if found before the commencement of section 4;
which is what the items found on an Essex farmer's property at "Skunky Paul's rally" at Twinstead are. In other words, the objects were buried with the purpose of the original owner coming back for it. If the heirs of whoever buried it there can be found, then they get the coins... So how many of those coins now being sold on EBay by members in the UK and placed there in the last few days are from this find? Some, most or all? Are the PAS still "policing" eBay for illicit Treasure finds? if so, maybe they can tell us the answer - or do they feel this is not a statistic that the public should know about "metal detectorists"? Where is the statement ("outreach") on their website reminding finders of such objects of their obligation in the light of recent events? Not only does the front page of the website not contain a hint of this, it gives an incomplete and misleading definition of Treasure.

No surprise in that though, they've always been a bit diffident about giving their "partners" with metal detectors too much information to think about.

So, how many of the sovereigns of Victoria and Edward VII being offered now (or in the future) have been half-inched from the farmer by a guest on his land? How many people will be adding an illicit coin to their collection through not being careful about who they buy from and how they got it? I expect though if you are a coin collector the answer is a shrug of the shoulders and that ACCH mantra: "what duz it matter, eh? Coins was made to circulate weren't they? That's what they was made fer".

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