Saturday 23 January 2021

Stop the Steal and US Coin Collector Cognition

The hapless numismatic journalist Richard Giedroyć (Numismatic News Jan 19, 2021) tells coin collectors in the US that " UNESCO is Not Your Friend". The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is the friend of educators, scientists and people of culture all over the world, so why should Giedroyć feels he has to warn coineys about them being "definiitely not on the side of the collector" when the current US President may well be (jolly well should be) seeking to overturn Trump's philistine betrayal of the ideals of that organisation?
The word ‘culture’ is the key for the purpose of this article. UNESCO has impacted a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and other countries regarding not only the ability to import antiquities, but to import coins from some places as well.
A bit later on, he lets slip that this concerns "undocumented coins" and that Peter Tompa "a Washington attorney who has defended (eh? How? PMB) the coin trade against import restrictions" is involved. And then he launches into the usual coiney standby ("the antiquities market is not worth as much as some say it is: According to a 2020 Rand Organization report, the illicit trade in cultural patrimony is “not likely to be larger than a few hundred million dollars each year”).

Mr Giedrojć shallowly confuses UNESCO with just one of its conventions (1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property ), he confuses that with the US Federal law (the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act) and he confuses the peddlers of undocumented antiquities and potentially looted, stolen and smuggled artefacts with licit activity. 

This is the kind of fuzzy thinking and denial of the truth that QAnon thrives on. Just STOP the steal of other people's cultural property by 'entitled' US collectors. The word "culture" is definitely key, something many US collectors, dealers and their lobbyists claim  to have, but their actions prove otherwise. One of the posters in the vignette reads "to steal is un-American", I'd say the US collectors' market for antiquities seems to me to present a totally different perspective on that. 

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