Wednesday 30 November 2016

The Amazing Cheek of the Treasure Hunter (Alton Hoard)

Nicely timed by 'Ancient Coin News' to coincide with the annual Treasure report hoo-haa in the UK 'Metal Detectorist Challenges Alton Hoard Value'.Everett Millman  of Gainesville Coins (that's not Gainsville as in Old Man Sayles, but the one where Eric Procopi onetime dealer in Mongolian dino bits was based) writes:
In 1996, a Briton who was interested in archaeology and metal detecting as a pastime discovered one of the most significant treasure hoards in the history of the U.K., the Alton Hoard. A full two decades later, the finder--a bricklayer named Peter Beasley--believes that expert appraisers downplayed the historical significance and value of this massive discovery in order to suppress how much money the museum had to pay for the artifacts. Now, Mr. Beasley is looking for answers. “It’s not about the money but the principle,” he emphasized.
He was interested in what? Let us call a spade a spade, this is nothing more nor less than artefact hunting. Mr Beazley says he is now 'not interested in the munny'. That's not what he was saying when this blog began (
Beasley found the ancient relics in a farm field with the help of his friend Peter Murphy. Beasley and Murphy came upon the coins while sifting through Celtic and Roman pottery at a site they had identified as potentially holding clues to Britain’s first-century history. 
Oh, pleeeease...  One can almost hear the plaintive violins. So, two artefact hunters rifling through a known site looking for something valuable. And how much of that 'sifted through' pottery from that site is documented on the PAS database? What have we learnt about the extent, nature and zoning of the site from the material meticulously collected and documented by these two folk seeking "clues" to Britain's first century history? Is there a publication? Citizen archaeology means what, precisely (British Museum)?
Ultimately, the two finders and the landowner split the £103,000 valuation that was offered by experts at the time. However, subsequent sales of comparable relics have far exceeded the Alton examples. According to the Alton Herald, another Caesar ring that was given to King Herod of Israel sold for over £11,000, while the Tincomarus ring netted just £2,900. Moreover, the gold torque garnered only £1,650 when a similar Roman-Egyptian bracelet from the same time period realized £60,000 at auction.
Not only have many of the experts who provided the hoard’s value been discredited, but Beasley’s complaint of the items being “grossly undervalued” holds weight when one considers the newest estimate for the items’ value: £256,000. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Beasley’s informal appeal will produce any results.
Yeah. like discrediting the whole milieu who quite obviously are lying when they say that the money is no account. This guy is still moaning about allegedly being short-changed  in 1996. Perhaps Beasley, Murphy and Millman might like for a minute to think about what would happen to the value of coins of  Commios, Tincomarus, Epillus, and Verica when 250 of them suddenly appear legally on the open market as another hoard is found. And Tincommius is a name which as the same cachet as Herod? Really?Mr Millman, you should know better, and as for the Treasure hunter Mr Beasley...

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