Wednesday 14 December 2011

More Freshly-Surfaced V-Coin Cunies for Sale

Edgar Owen also has on his V-coins store a group of ten middle eastern antiquities which he says have the same (latter part of their) collecting history. As "provenance" for all of them, he gives (only) the following information:
"From the collection of a New York City professional entertainer acquired in the 1980's".
No more, nothing about how they left the source country. There are currently on offer seven "Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, ca. 3rd millennium BC."

6689. clear cuneiform both sides. 1.9 x 2 inches.

6693. 1.5 x 1.8 inches. Clear cuneiform both sides. Intact.

6695. .9 x 3 inches. One side covered with cuneiform. corner chip [where it has been belted by a pickaxe in excavation].

6696. 1.8 x 2.8 inches. Considerable cuneiform both sides. Intact.

6701. 1.3 x 1.8 inches. Considerable clear cuneiform both sides. Reattached at middle.

6703. 1.9 x 2.5 inches. Roughly glued but with considerable clear cuneiform both sides.

6704. 1.8 x 2.5 inches. Several lines of cuneiform on the back which is intact, and covering the front which has chips with glue traces. [it also has a huge pickaxe scar across the front]

6707. tablet with cuneiform both sides. 2 x 2.6 inches. Repaired.

6708. tablet with cuneiform on one side. 2.25 x 2.25 inches. Repaired.

There are also two other objects:

9599. Syrian Bronze Calf Head, ca. 5th-3rd century BC. [...] pierced ears for earrings and attachment tenon at rear. 1.2 inches. Described as "rare".

9611. Ancient Holy Land Bronze Stamp Seal, ca. 1st millennium BC. [...] with a clear deep pattern, break to tip of handle. 1 inch in diameter. [described as "rare" and the suggestion made that the squiggles on the front "could be three letters in which case the seal might be traceable to a particular person". Or not of course].

The first thing that strikes the reader is the odd lack of any kind of translation of the cunies, many items on the market nowadays come with this, and this sometimes gives the name of the site they came from. The second is that several of the cunies are of similar appearance, colour, clay and the same crude glueing. Were these bought by the anonymous "New York City professional entertainer" as single items or a group? What other items were available on the New York market in the "1980s" and where did they come from? How and when did they leave "Mesopotamia" and why (if my suspicion about several of them being from the same discovery is correct) when they were bought by the collector, were these items still together?

Certainly tracing their presence on the collectors' market only as far back as the 1980s makes them "freshly surfaced". It does not take them back to before the institution of the heritage protection laws of Iraq (the probable source country), nor the 1970 AAMD "safe" date, so what documentation is there for where they were before then? Mr Owen neglects to say on his V-Coins portal. Why?

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