Tuesday 10 April 2012

"Ancient Coin Market" Sides with Jerusalem Dealer?

I joined the "Ancient Coin Market" (ACM) discussion list not so much to have my mornings spoilt by yet another nonchalant advert of dugup artefacts of unstated origin on sale by grabby dealers appear in my inbox. The reason was more prosaic, it was one of the places where a California dealer was posting material related to what I was writing on this blog and I wanted to follow any subsequent discussion.

The ACM-L (Ancient Coin Market) is one of the oldest Yahoo groups (founded in1999) where sellers and collectors of ancient coins can post their sales and want lists. The list moderators are Thom Bray and Kevin Barry.
One of the frequent advertisers on that list is ZZ Antiquities - about whom I had already made a number of comments on collectors' forums. In a series of rather oddly-phrased adverts he periodically offers collectors and dealers bulk lots of antiquities - invariably referring to these bulk lots as "hoards" which they quite clearly are not. I and several others (the others being from the 'other side of the fence' on antiquity issues) have tried to pin him down (mainly on the Yahoo "Ancient Artifacts" discussion list) about just what it is he is selling (he tends to stress that he is "exporting" the artefacts). The only result was evasive answers.

A while back he advertised a whole bunch of scarabs for sale. Collectors were initially enthusiastic. I looked at the photos and it seemed to me that there were some items among them the authenticity of which looked very  doubtful to my archaeological eye. The style and state of preservation both looked contrived. I wrote a post on the discussion list pointing out in detail what aroused my suspicions and the dealer was indignant. What was more notable was the vehemence one of the other dealers on the list (who is apparently on first name terms with Mr Leon) was defending these scarabs with the "authority" he claimed from his "experience as a dealer". This was Kevin Barry of Barry and Darling.

I am reminded of this in the aftermath of the discussion yesterday of an advert of pots and coins posted by ZZ Antiquities to this forum. As a result of my discussing these objects and their origins, I see that I am now blocked from accessing ACM, though not for violating any terms of use stated on that forum, but referring to a discussion that takes place there. Presumably the intention of the list owners is that the goings on of the dugup antiquities market should be kept private, out of the sight of the stakeholders, the people whose plundered ancient heritage these people are peddling bits of over there.

It is interesting to note a coincidence. One of the two list owners/moderators is Kevin Barry the same Kevin Barry of Barry and Darling.These same two also figure in the rubric of list owners of the Moneta-L forum (from which I am also banned so I cannot see what is happening there and comment on it). It seems quite a coincidence, and I would not mind betting that Mr Barry of Barry and Darling was behind my blocking from ACM.What links Mr Barry with Mr Leon? Is some of the stock Barry and Darling are offering supplied by the Jerusalem dealer? 

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