Putting a Title on it
by Paul Barford
US Dealer so Anxious to Dodge the Issue, he Forgot to put a Title on it
As might be expected, in a text without a title, with reference to the post below, ACCG dealer Dave Welsh dodges the questions concerning his irrational turns and twists about whether he has worked out a method of implementing registration of collecting histories for the artefacts sold by ACCG (or any other) dealers in the US or not. He's so keen to throw out the insults, he's not even bothered to try and understand the import of his own words, shielding himself by saying he's quoted "out of context" (that seems to mean unlike him, I do not cut and paste the whole of his posts, merely giving a link to where the savvy reader can find them to judge the context for themselves).
Dave Welsh apparently does not get the point of the bit where I speak (actually using rhetorical questions as the more intelligent among my readers will have recognised) of the importance of bulk lots of metal artefacts in untangling the artefact looting industry. It seems Welsh is not prepared to accept the validity of the point made, the reader may very well wonder why.
I (rhetorically) ask about the relationship of a group of generic looted antiquities from the Balkans and a generic bulk lot sold on the international dugup antiquity market. Welsh unthinkingly reposts:
Obviously, neither I nor any other collector or dealer could possibly answer such a barrage of questions, as Barford well knows.But then, surely, it is precisely on the ability to answer precisely that question that any assertion of licitness of the market relies. How can one claim to be buying ethically (watch the lips) loose coins on today's market without having the answer to precisely those questions. Mr Welsh himself describes himself ("A Disastrous Legal Decision", Tuesday, August 09, 2011) as a "well informed participant in the US ancient coin market".
To turn one of Welsh's favourite arguments around, there is no scientific proof that a given bulk lot of dirt encrusted or cleaned coins does not come from the looting of sites in the Balkans or (say) Near East. In which case, one cannot say that they ARE licit in origin (or even that they may be presumed to be). That is not "scientific". Only coins with firmly established and documented licit origins can enjoy that status. No ethical dealer surely should be staking their reputation on anything else - leave selling the unpapered artefacts up to the many cowboys.
The rest of Welsh's post is the same old misinformed ad hominem rubbish with which those involved in the US with the wholesale import of masses of foreign dugup ancient coins and speaking for all US collectors of such items have recently begun to shield themselves.
It is not up to Paul Barford to provide "practical, constructive and economically sensible answers" to the licit coin industry's problems with its sources of supply. That surely is up to coin dealers and collectors themselves to get on and do it instead of whinging, whining and playing the victim. Nobody is going to present them with a ready-made answer on a plate. They have to do this themselves. Can they? or are they eternally going to try and stave off the problem by challenging the Department of State of their own government (and hang the rest of the world) and hurling insults?
When are they going to buckle down to cleaning up their industry, making it at last transparent and beyond reproach? Surely the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild owes it to their member collectors? How do they propose doing this, or are they going to continue to deny that it is possible to clean up the US coin market? What do truly responsible collectors say about that?
My, oh my. Let's take a careful look at the hysterical and misleading nonsense which Mr. Barford's ATA has here uttered:
"[Quoting me] Obviously, neither I nor any other collector or dealer could possibly answer such a barrage of questions, as Barford well knows.But then, surely, it is precisely on the ability to answer precisely that question that any assertion of licitness of the market relies. How can one claim to be buying ethically (watch the lips) loose coins on today's market without having the answer to precisely those questions. Mr Welsh himself describes himself ("A Disastrous Legal Decision", Tuesday, August 09, 2011) as a "well informed participant in the US ancient coin market".
To begin with, the entire thesis of Barfy's ATA utterance is that "licitness of the market" depends upon being able to provide documentary evidence of the "provenance" of antiquities (coins, for example) traded in that market.
This utterance is, provably and incontrovertibly, a lie. Worse, it is provably a lie brazenly and with the clear and deliberate intention of deception, uttered in full knowledge of the facts which legally define its falsehood.
"Licit" is a word which as a very simple and unambiguous meaning. That meaning is:
In accordance with the requirements of the law(s) in effect in the jurisdiction(s) concerned.
Now that IS the meaning, and the whole meaning, of the word "Licit." The law controls that meaning.
Neither Mr. Barford, his ATA nor any other organ, individual or organization have any right whatsoever to assert that there is any other meaning of the word "Licit."
"Licitness" is not something that any individual archaeologist, whether a contemptible failed pretender such as Barford, or a real and distinguished achiever in the field, determines. It is, instead, determined by the legislative institutions of society.
The deliberately deceptive misuse of such prejudicial terminology is one of the diagnostic hallmarks of unscrupulous revolutionary societies. Without taking this particular example too far, it may accurately be observed that both the 20th century Fascist and Communist parties employed such unscrupulous tactics.
Mr. Barford is, in the long and thoroughly considered opinion of this observer, a person with an instinctive adversion to traditional Anglo-Saxon concepts of the rule of law and the importance of personal liberty.
His decision to leave the democratic UK to relocate to Communist Poland in the 1980s reveals his essentially statist, authoritarian perspective.
Time has passed Mr. Barford by. No matter how frustrated or angry he becomes, there will never again be a regime in Poland, still less anywhere else in Europe, conforming to his views on antiquities collecting.