Sunday 14 July 2013

"10 000 K and over" Antiquities

Just following up that suggestion about an antiquities tax for items over 10000k pounds, I was curious just what proportion of the antiquities trade that actually represents. While a goodly proportion of the auction results of recent Sotheby's and Christies' antiquity sales fall into that price bracket, these are only a few hundred items yearly. Many dealers (the ones that give a price up front - many do not) deal in hundreds rather than thousands of items (Phoenix website 282 objects today). When we look at websites bulking the offers of a number of dealers we get a fuller picture of the market. We may take V-Coins as an example. From its home page, we see that there are 90409 objects (total value of US$ 22,970,753) currently on sale in the "ancient coins" section. To address a problem often made about providing documentation with purchases (that its not cost effective for the dealer for coins "priced five to ten dollars"), we find 2670 of the latter (leaving 88000 or so priced more than that).

As for antiquities worth more than 10000 dollars, it is actually just 126 coins (104 at 10-20 k, 16 at 20-30k and four at 30-50k)  - so 0.14% of this sector of the antiquities market. A 1% tax on that lot (as reportedly suggested by Julian Radcliffe) would raise somewhere about $22000. Obviously that is nowhere near a big enough sum to support anything more than a very superficial project. It is also too small a part of the market shouldering the burden to provide the air of legitimacy and responsibility from which all collectors will be benefiting. Lowering the threshold to bring two thirds of collectors into the scheme would mean making all purchases over 170$ taxable, that would make tax payable on 59,328 of the objects currently on V-coins, which obviously is a lot fairer.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Are you suggesting that antiquities collecting can and should be legitimized by such a proposal? Now, that would be news.

Paul Barford said...

I am afraid that your comment suggests that you really do not see ANY difference between "legitimacy" and "gives the air of legitimacy". But I'll put that down to the sort of people you seem to choose to mix with.

This blog shows what I consider to constitute a legitimate antiquities market, a snotty-nosed collector condescendingly paying a derisory 1% fob-off tax is not one of them.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.