Scott Semans makes some comments about how ancient coin dealers in the US will "have to" get around US customs by misrepresenting the contents of packages with coins in them, I comment that they could instead just import the coins legally, and in reply Californian coin dealer Dave Welsh calls me out:
Well, Mr. Barford, it now seems appropriate to inquire a bit further into the question of who you are, to presume to instruct US coin collectors or dealers as to what we may or may not ethically do?I am not clear why you think it "appropriate", the word is "enquire", which introduces an indirect question (so no question mark), but I thought we'd been through all this "Barford's qualifications" stuff before.
First: Do you hold a baccalaureate (or higher) degree in archaeology from any accredited university?yes thank you.
Second: What have you accomplished in the field of archaeology qualifying you to pronounce upon matters regarding numismatic science?Coin dealing is not a science. Neither is shopping for coins a science any more than buying or selling fashion shoes, house plants, Agatha Christie books or old Beatles LPs. We are talking about "clean" commerce in the public interest.
Third: Apart from your brief archaeological career, what qualifications do you claim, to represent yourself as being an expert in numismatic science?None whatsoever, but we are talking about a commercial activity, not any kind of "science" [37 years is not really all that "brief", its longer than you've been a coin seller]
Fourth:but you said "three questions"!
If you do not (as I believe) have significant demonstrable qualifications in the field of numismatic science, why do you venture to assert that you have any right to criticize and instruct those who do have such significant demonstrable qualifications in the field of numismatic science, as to what they may or may not ethically do?Because we are not talking about a "science" of importing coins legally. There is no such discipline. I think we can all agree that the archaeological heritage is not something to be squandered for the entertainment and PROFIT of a few who get their hands on it. Like tropical hardwood trees, green spaces in our cities (not many left where you live), pandas, whales, rhinos and oil. I believe the protection of the cultural heritage is everybody's concern. We only have one archaeological record, when it is trashed by looters there'll be no more. So let's stop the looters looting, the smugglers smuggling and the no-questions-asked coin importers aiding them by passing off their packages as something else, as ACCG member and supporter Semans advocates. After all, the ACCG itself warns AGAINST such practices here and here as does Dave Welsh here.
I have as much right to disapprove of a form of commerce in archaeological artefacts which is leading to damage to sites and monuments as I do to express my disapproval of the form of commerce, exploitation and consumption that endangers whales, rhinos and our urban green spaces. In other words, every right since I live here on this planet and I belong to a generation which because of the increased pressure that is placed on resources is one of the last who will be able to do something about these things, and I think we all of us, even you, have a duty to look after its resources as best we can. And that we all have a duty to discuss how that can be achieved. Don't you?
Now shopkeeper, although I do not think it appropriate to pry, since you have done me that discourtesy, and since you not infrequently use the term "professional numismatist" to describe yourself, I think we have the right to enquire a bit further into the question of who you are, to presume to instruct others as to what ethical or conservation concerns they may express. I'm going to ask the same four questions of you, "not that I really believe there is any possibility you would respond with an honest factual reply".
First: Do you, David Welsh, hold a baccalaureate (or higher) degree in numismatic science from any accredited university in the US or abroad?
Second: What have you, David Welsh, accomplished in the field of numismatic science (publications in accredited peer-reviewed numismatic journals, book chapters, conference papers not cribbed from Wikipedia) qualifying you to claim the academic authority to pronounce upon matters regarding numismatic science?
Third: Apart from your brief career as a part time numismatic dealer, what qualifications do you claim, David Welsh, to enable you to represent yourself as being an expert in numismatic science?
Fourth: If you do not (as I believe) have significant demonstrable academic qualifications in the field of numismatic science, why do you, David Welsh, venture to assert that you have any right to criticize and instruct others as to what conservation concerns they may or may not raise about the no-questions-asked commerce in dugup ancient artefacts of any type?
I think there is a great difference between a professional numismatist working for a museum, such as the British Museum, or the Fitzwilliam, or Yale University and a string of peer reviewed and academic publications to their name, and somebody who merely sells dugup coins. That's like calling somebody who sells dead horses to the glue-maker an "equestrian".
[If you like, you can replace the words "numismatic science" in the questions above with the word "archaeology" or "the theory and practice of the conservation of the historic record". I suspect it would make no difference whichever you choose.]
But let's hear the answers please.
Or stop your nonsense.
I've got an idea, what about a blog called "Ancient Coins" discussing ancient coins and not "Paul Barford"? Give us a chance to see what you know about ancient coins by blogging about ancient coins on an ancient coins blog.