Wayne vs. Goliath
by Wayne Sayles
An editorial by David Harper in yesterday's World Coin News hit the nail precisely on the head in describing the cultural property battle that coin collectors are forced to endure. Harper is Editor of the venerable Numismatic News and Executive Editor of World Coin News. After eloquently outlining the issues, which can be found at the link above, Harper characterized the situation as a David and Goliath fight with the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild having a stiff uphill climb.
He closed with an astute observation: "The ultimate question is whether all American coin collectors, and not just American collectors of ancient coins, consider this to be their fight. I think it is." That was certainly factual and well said. The ACCG is pitted against the massive resources of bureaucracy and the tenacity of academic ideologues. That the guild is now in its eighth year of advocacy for ancient coin collectors is somewhat remarkable and that it is internationally recognized for that advocacy is astounding.
Mr. Harper's point, however, is obvious. For the future of ancient coin collecting to be assured, it will take more than a volunteer advocacy group. The battle that is presently being waged by ACCG will need to become a concern to far more than the small group of collectors playing the role of David. If all coin collectors were to join in the opposition to bureaucratic tyranny, the combined weight might be enough to generate serious support in Washington for a rational solution to the problems that collectors and the trade are facing.
Wayne Sayles has such superb writing skills that the smooth readability of his remarks conveys them so persuasively that readers sometimes may not spend enough time in thought while reading them. In this case (knowing the background for this post), I find much to think about.
I've been part of the ACCG since its foundation in 2004 and I've seen Wayne carry that organization since the day of its inception. He has acquired some very helpful assistance since then, but is still the mainspring that drives the ACCG. Under his inspiring leadership, it has grown from a handful of concerned volunteers to become an effective opponent to the "massive resources of bureaucracy and the tenacity of academic ideologues."
Wayne is a true warrior, as those who have been through these battles know. I am awed by what he has achieved, and proud to have been able to make a minor contribution to some of these achievements. This is a just cause, and that innate justice honors and ennobles all who strive for it.
The "cultural property war" is in a very real sense actually Wayne vs. Goliath. The missiles he has launched have hit their target often enough, and forcefully enough, to stun Goliath at times. The battle however is still undecided. I have faith that justice will prevail and one day the ACCG will get its day in court.
When the truth finally comes out regarding behind-the-scenes collusion and anticollecting bias at the Cultural Heritage Center, Wayne will (figuratively) hold up in triumph not the severed head of Goliath, but that of Medusa.