Tuesday 24 June 2014


From the Collectors' Campaign for a Clean Antiquities Market (CCCAM)
Everybody can see the toll taken by looters and we collectors are suffering the consequences. Unfortunately, attitudes in part of the trade these days seems not to encourage the development of levels of agreement and cooperation in reducing this problem. Instead, dealers and their lobbyists all to often engage in biceps flexing and chest pounding posturing in an unproductive attitude of self-righteousness. The Campaign for a Clean Antiquities Trade has extended a standing offer to engage in serious discussions with the dealers' associations with the aim of working together to establishing manageable parameters and transparency in the legitimate trade. The hoped for response has not been forthcoming. In fact, it seems that the dealers' anti-preservation rhetoric mounts daily. That is a sad fact, because the hope of some in the collecting world that private collecting can by responsible behaviour escape the opprobrium of being perceived as associated with those that clandestinely handle smuggled and looted items seems no less a pipe dream than it did two decades ago when our campaign began. The current rhetoric serves only to alienate collectors from society, to the degree that National Geographic, NBC and other media outlets have recently joined in with a flurry of activist op-eds and “articles” that merely inflame the situation. 

I don't give a link because - sad though it may seem - nobody among the responsible collectors that I firmly believe must be out there somewhere, has thought of setting up anything remotely looking like a proper collectors' campaign for a clean antiquities market, not "two decades ago', not now and I rather think anyone who thinks there will be one set up soon is in the same league as those who believe in coin fairies and coin elves. 

From their online behaviour, you'd be forgiven for believing that the average collector is the kind of guy who on looking at the picture above has at the back of his rather small mind a question why he had to pay slightly more, not less, for that unprovenanced Seleucid coin he bought last week from Messers Grebkesh and Runn the dealers, and who's getting all the good stuff? 

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