Monday 20 February 2012

Sowing the Dragons' Teeth: Keeping the Market Alive


With reference to the notion that coin collecting might be losing its popularity among young Americans (a worrying prospect for all those wishing to profit from the sale of ancient dugups) Mark Lehman of "Ancient Coins for Education" (sic) soothes:

If, however, you're interested in finding out whether or not the introduction of coins into the curriculum is "raising a new crop" of numismatists, I could put you in touch with more than a few teachers whose students have gone on, beyond the teaching "unit" in which their classes worked with and studied coins, to become avid young collectors. For that matter, many teachers administering ACE programs have also become avid collectors in their own right [...], there most definitely are young people (interested in coin collecting) out there. We who work with ACE find that they crop up in nearly every class, once exposed to the concept. [...] wherever teachers and community members make an effort to engage students through this natural, hands-on approach to history and many other subjects, new collectors crop-up like dandelions from a single seed-head blown into the wind.
And the looting goes on to supply the demand. Remember ACE avoids discussions of the ethics of the manner of supply of the US antiquities trade both inside and outside the classroom "like the very plague". What kind of "education" is that? See Nathan Elkins' "Treasure Hunting 101 in American Classrooms" in a good library near you. Let's see it on the Internet for concerned parents to see.

(Responsible) teachers, and parents, take a good look at the ACE website, look for example at the answer to this question:

"Q: "Where did these coins come from?" A: The vast majority of uncleaned material on the market at the present time comes from Eastern Europe - the "countries formerly known as Yugoslavia" and Bulgaria in particular"
(you know, countries where digging this sort of stuff out of the ground and keeping it is illegal. This stuff comes from criminal activities and is going straight into US classrooms - "support a Balkan criminal today, join the ACE"? ). Who supports the ACE? Why all those jolly old ACCG and other dealers in dugup ancient coins who stand to make a profit by the expansion of their market, just as long as they can get their hands on enough of that stuff, no-questions-asked from gangs of looters and smugglers in "the 'countries formerly known as Yugoslavia' and Bulgaria in particular" - and now the strife-torn Near East and North Africa (maybe if enough questions were being asked about who supplies them how and why, "Blood antiquities" perhaps included among them).

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