Friday 24 January 2014

"First Found" Fiasco Continues

The ACCG's dispute with the rest of the world about the "First Found" of the CCPIA limps along. I said the coineys are wrong and why, Rick St Hilaire says they are wrong. Peter Tompa does not accept that, and wrote a post criticising St Hilaire, spitefully dismissing the lawyer as an "archaeo-blogger" ('Context Matters', CPO Friday, January 24, 2014). 

He alleges that St Hilaire "quotes selectively" from the Fourth Circuit's opinion in the case precipitated by the ACCG Baltimore illegal coin import stunt "on whether State and Customs must make a principled determination of whether coin types are "first discovered" in a specific county before restricting them". I expect that would be enough to satisfy his more slack-jawed attention-span deficient readers that Tompa is "right" and St Hilaire is "wrong". Any attempt however to wade through argument and counter-argument to get to the bottom of this suggests to me that it is Mr Tompa who is over-interpreting.

On looking at the Fourth Circuit's document, we see that the excuse that the court dismissed the ACCG's test case allegedly on so-called "foreign policy grounds" does not in fact refer to the specific bit of the opinion (section 1B on pp 4-7) which covers the references in the CCPIA to creation of the designated List, and which directly concerns the relationship between the "first found" objects and those in the designated list. Furthermore, the creation of the Designated list is clearly stated there to be a process taking place within federal government in the US after other procedures have been completed, and whatever Mr Tompa may think about those processes, this part of the procedure is not a matter of "negotiations between the Department of State and foreign countries".

This passage of the Fourth Circuit's opinion, the one which directly affects the First Found argument raised by the ACCG, is a factual statement about how the Designated list and the "... property of the state party" interact. And there in black and white, is a clear refutation of the ACCG's costly interpretation of the First Found principle. Mr Tompa may delight in arguing round and round in circles, but the repetitiveness and predictability of this is beginning to lose its charm.

We wait impatiently to see emerging from the US coin collecting community some sensible discussion which aims to resolve the impasse over the no-questions-asked market to replace this posturing, the sole aim of which is obviously to stave off such a discussion. Responsible collectors need to take responsibility for their hobby and ditch the ranters. 

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