Sunday 22 April 2012

The Return of the Lost Numismatist

Poor Mr Sayles, he really does not understand ('A Foul Wind').
Eight years ago, when I founded the ACCG as an altruistic defense of private collectors rights under law, I had not an enemy in the world that I knew of [since then], the attacks against private collecting have escalated significantly and the vilification of private collecting advocates has become overbearing.  
And there is, of course (for Mr Sayles) absolutely no connection between the two ["altruistic"?]. I think the old man's memory is fading claiming he had "not an enemy in the world" when he started. Just look at the belligerent expression he adopts towards the archaeological profession and their preservationist moves BEFORE setting up the ACCG. He clearly had by this time identified who his "enemies" were and were going to be. Here's just a few of note:
July 01, 2004: 'A Call to Action' (a phrase he seems to like),
December 01, 2003: 'A Clear and Present Danger'
September 01, 2003 : 'Collecting = Looting?'
August 01, 2004; 'Hijacked by Zealots' and so on.
Who here is behaving like the archtypical troll? Note also the vehemence of his denial that no-questions-asked collectors and dealers have anything to answer for. The problems all stem - he says - from the position of the 'Other'.

My own attention was first drawn to Wayne Sayles and what he stands for through reading one particular, admittedly later, article but certainly not exactly suggesting that he was in any way or form ready for any kind of "productive dialogue" with our milieu:
January 01, 2005: 'Archaeology: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?' ["While hiding behind a mask of altruistic innocence, the archaeological community threatens to devour a venerable hobby and pillage the rights of private collectors with impunity."] 
It is worth noting that I came across this text being used by British metal detectorists as anti-archaeological propaganda, but where? The answer to that is notable, it was on the PAS forum. Sayles' text was being used there by those opposed to collaboration between archaeologists (in the form of the PAS) and "metal detectorists". I answered the text there. That is when I first started taking note of Sayles and his ACCG. Soon after that came the wholly negative, dismissive and unwelcoming tone of his first reply to one of my perfectly civil and innocuous comments on one of their forums which probably can still be seen in the list's archives. Sayles was not reacting to what was said, merely that it had been said by an archaeologist, and therefore "the Enemy".

Now, frankly, it beats me how anyone who churns out comparatively large quantities of this sort of stuff year-in, year-out from 2003/4 onwards can complain that archaeologists don't really want to talk to him as an equal, and complains when some of them answer back. Sayles sees it entirely as the archaeologists' fault that:
It has become clear that engaging the archaeological community in any productive dialogue is not an option and any attempt at a logical debate is futile.
I think to put that remark into context one only has to look at the website of the ACCG. One will seek in vain among its objectives for any mention of establishing good connections with the archaeological community and drawing them into dialogue, let alone logical debate. Certainly none of the ACCG activities over the years has had anything like this character. When Wayne Sayles went to a British conference on metal detecting with archaeologists present it was to assert "internationalist" collectors' "rights" - a message which must have been lost on many of the participants. In setting up his organization, Sayles established right from the beginning that he was fighting against archaeological preservationists, not wanting to engage them in discussion, and that is the way that he has been running the ACCG since it was set up in July 2004. It is not surprising that with him and his camp-followers bad-mouthing archaeology and archaeologists at every possible opportunity, the latter are not exactly falling over themselves in haste to invite them to sit down at any table with them for any kind of discussion. Instead the AIA sits down and discusses things with other collectors, ones who are willing to help. But then we see time and time again how coin collectors like to play the victim, any problems are always "somebody else's fault", never a consequence of their own activities.

As Sayles says:
There has been a foul wind blowing in cultural property circles for several years now 
Fortunately he proposes a remedy: 
Consequently, I will not be posting anything further on this blog about cultural property issues or the ACCG.
I am sure there are many people who will find it less confusing to come to a blog called "Ancient Coin Collecting" and find it actually discussing collecting ancient coins rather than trolls and warlocks or some other such rambling non-nomismatic nonsense. Now at last the readers of his blog will be able to see his professionalism as a numismatist rather than judging his abilities by the ineptness of his arguments as an activist.

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