David Knell ('Blogwarts: the fantasy world of blogging in California', Ancient heritage Thursday, 2 July 2015) takes a welcome cold hard look at the recent pomposity of the Classical Coins blog, run by Dave Welsh, "an engineer who lives in California and deals in coins - the same ACCG member who in all seriousness refuses to accept that the looting of antiquities is primarily driven by those who pay for them".
He, backed by a coin-collecting lawyer and a metal detectorist, insists that anyone who presumes to oppose his views about ancient artefacts must be able to prove they are nothing less than a qualified archaeologist with a plethora of diplomas before they are even allowed to speak. [...] Welsh regards his blog not as a mere digital platform for his opinions but as some kind of august institution where he reigns as provost [...]After a personal attack on the credentials of Paul Barford (déjà vu?), he graciously granted him permission to enter the institution briefly and reply as a "guest". Welsh posted a special notice - grandly entitled "Comments Policy Exception" - in what to mere mortals like you or me would be just a blog comment. Under the title, in characteristically sententious and laboured prose reminiscent of a 19th-century schoolmarm, he solemnly announced to the gathered assembly: "I have decided to permit Mr. Barford's comments to be published here even though I consider them to contravene the policy of this blog that comments must shed more light, not more heat, upon the subject of the discussion [...] This is a one-time exception and it is not likely that I will extend it to other subjects Mr. Barford may be interested in commenting upon".Knell goes on to say: "Ah, and there was innocent 21st-century me, naively thinking a blog was just a blog. I feel truly humbled". He stresses:
I am avidly in favour of an intelligent and thoughtful approach to collecting antiquities and thus protect its future. Do these people really think that posing as some pompous institution and fatuously inviting ridicule is the best way to promote its image?I imagine my readers can guess pretty easily my own answer to that. People like Welsh, Tompa and Sayles are irresponsibly destroying collecting by their activities, and Mr Knell is right to criticise them for it.