Wednesday, 11 January 2012

What do These Collectables from Munich Have in Common?

The coin dealers' paid lobbyist perhaps unwittingly draws attention to a bit too much when he tries on his blog to score political points from a V-Coins dealer's caution. He writes:
The practical impact of import restrictions should be made crystal clear with these words, "No Shipment to the USA." This German dealer will no longer ship this Syracusian Tetradrachm to the USA, presumably because of import restrictions on "coins of Italian type."
Is that the reason? Oddly enough if you search through the entire stock list of the dealer highlighted by Tompa D. F. Grotjohann, you will find a number of coins of types related to the Italian MOU (like for example here, here, here, here and here), but only in the case of five - mostly quite high value - coins is it indicated that they will not be shipped to the US. Interestingly they all come from Sicily. Like the two coins seized in New York the other day. One might legitimately ask whether the caution of the dealer noted on the website is related to the MOU or the seizure? For example, does the Munich dealer know something about the earlier collecting history of the two "Cabinet W" coins seized and the five he has on offer (including several of dates not far removed from the 409-403 date range of the two currently safely stored in the New York District Attorney's office)? Just a thought.

The one coin from among these five with a "provenance" (sic) is "Gorny & Mosch [Munich] Sale 200, #1235I". In other words, surfaced on the market before, or about Mon 10 October 2011. That is hardly what anybody with an ounce of intelligence would call a collecting history is it? (but it disproves Tompa's assertion that the reason why these coins cannot be imported to the USA is because they are "not figured in auction catalogues" because this one is, though rather too late to be any help getting it through US customs). The rest are being sold like potatoes with the only reference cited being other coins that look like the one being sold.

In answer to Peter Tompa, if there is something potentially dodgy, or the Munich dealer simply cannot account for where these coins come from, then the practical implications of the MOU are clear. It is doing what it is intended to do, to keep certain types of dodgy or potentially dodgy coins of unknown origin off the US market. Why would that concern a responsible US collector?

UPDATE 12.01.12: This keeping potentially dodgy material of unknown origins off the US market is what dealers over there call "destroying the market". Frankly, if that really is what the US market thrives on, it is surely better all round not being preserved in its current form. Maybe 2012 will see the beginnings of responsible US collectors and dealers working to clean up the US dugup antiquities market. Is that too much to ask? Really?

Illustration: [edited] Screenshot from V-Coins search page.

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