2008: A Difficult Year
2008 was a difficult year during which several adverse developments occurred.
The development affecting most people worldwide was a major economic crisis that began with the collapse of overinflated
Developments in 2008 affecting coin collecting involved continued progress of cultural nationalists and radical archaeologists toward their long term goal of eliminating private collecting of “cultural property.” Their most notable success came when the German government gave in to demands that importation of unprovenanced “cultural objects” (including coins) should be prohibited as part of
Classical Coins had a very difficult time during the last half of 2008, originating in the outbreak of an intense and dangerous wildfire in the mountains above
Despite all these difficulties, there was one significant favorable development: the market for collectibles, including ancient coins, prospered during 2008. When other investment alternatives are devalued, collectibles tend to do well. Ancient coins in particular have proven to be very stable and reliable long term investments, retaining their value despite all the vagaries of transient political and economic trends.
One ironic thought: In opposing the goals of anticollecting extremists, I am in reality working to limit the appreciation of my own very substantial investment in ancient coins. Should the trade in ancient coins ultimately be constrained as anticollecting extremists desire, an inventory of ancient coins acquired before that sad event happens will become much more valuable. The value of my inventory would probably double. Although those who relentlessly campaign against coin collecting strive to portray numismatic professionals as greedy exploiters, nothing could possibly be further from the actual truth.
Being a dealer in ancient coins is a labor of love - very few if any of those involved in it would fail to make significantly more money doing something else. I can make twice as much per hour as a consulting engineer. It is certainly relevant to consider how many archaeologists, museum curators, cultural ministry officials and other anticollecting activists could expect to do as well were their present occupations no longer available.