Sunday 27 May 2012

Sayles: "Tips for Buyers of Ancient Coins"

The latest post on Wayne Sayles' blog is a text on: 'Tips for Buyers of Ancient Coins' which begins
A basic precept of criminal law is that "the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind be also guilty." This principle is called mens rea. It simply means that an element of intent is necessary for guilt to be assigned. 
So you are OK from the legal point of view if you practice the 'ask-no-questions-get-told-no-lies' model of buying dugup antiquities. The acquisition of dugup antiquities in deliberate and carefree ignorance of the manner in which they arrived on the market may absolve the buyer of any legal responsibility, it does not of course in any way however absolve them of any ethical responsibility.

What however is most interesting is that the post is dated Sunday, August 07, 2011. It seems Sayles has made good his word earlier (A Foul Wind quoted in 'The Return of a lost Numismatist'): "I will not be posting anything further on this blog about cultural property issues or the ACCG". He has deleted several months' worth of posts - some of which were real crackers. This is good if you are a coin collector searching for blogs talking about ancient coins, less helpful for the preservationist cause as it is blogs like that of Mr Sayles' which really showed the holes in the pro-collecting lobby's various arguments. It is interesting that instead of just blogging henceforth on the stated topic, Sayles appears not to have had the courage of his convictions to leave online as a record the material he wrote previous to this 'turn'. Does it mean that in reality all that stuff he was writing before was politically motivated posing and not the writer's sincere beliefs? How many other pro-collecting webstuff could one say the same of? Several other examples of apparent opportunist insincerity to maintain a damaging status quo come to mind.

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