Monday, July 13, 2009

Silence...

I posted a comment to a post Wayne Sayles made on the coinlink.com website on July 4th. When I didn't get a reply within a few days, I posted the same comment to the same post on Mr. Sayles' personal blog on July 7th. It's now July 13th and I have yet to see a reply to either comment. Why is that? If what they are doing is such a good thing and I'm just misunderstanding their intentions, why can't they even be bothered to attempt to persuade me, as a collector, why this is for my benefit?

To see Mr Sayles' post, see here


Here is my comment in its entirety:


Mr. Sayles,
As long as we are talking about truths here, I see nothing mentioned in your article about what the requirements are to legally import those coins in question. All that is required for the Cypriot coins is a valid export license or proof that they left their country of origin before July 16,2007. For the Chinese coins the date is Jan 16,2009. Neither of those dates is that long ago. If those coins were legally acquired, those documents should be easy to obtain. The ACCG is well aware of this, but repeatedly leaves this information out of all posts, blogs, etc. that are written by its members. Why? As an American taxpayer and private antiquity collector I find it outrageous that my tax dollars are being wasted on this farce. And how dare you claim to speak for antiquity collectors! You speak for unethical collectors who want to be able to purchase whatever they want regardless of where it came from or how it was obtained. I have no problem with the FOIA suit, that is how the system was designed, but the upcoming suit dealing with the deliberate attempt to import coins without the proper documentation is disgraceful. You don’t deliberately break the law because you don’t agree with it. You work through the proper legal channels to change it. I hope when all is said and done, the parties to this “lawsuit” are ordered to pay all costs incurred by the government in this rediculous scheme. The ACCG isn’t even following its own code of ethics by attempting to import these coins in violation of its own country’s laws. Shameful! The ACCG should put a stop to this now by obtaining and supplying the required paperwork and stop wasting the taxpayers’ money."

It should be noted that when I posted the comment in the beginning of July, there was still time to get the required paperwork. Now the 90 day deadline has passed, and it's too late. It should also be noted that Mr. Sayles did post other comments to other posts, but only those that agreed with him.

I read a lot of blogs about collecting, including those of Mr. Sayles, Peter Tompa, Paul Barford, David Gill, and Nathan Elkins. I notice that Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles are quick to attack Mr. Barford, Mr. Gill and Mr. Elkins repeatedly because they are open about the fact that they disagree with the tactics that the ACCG has used to further their own agenda. Their argument is that since Mr. Barford and Mr. Elkins are archaeologists, they want to stamp out private collecting.

To be clear, Mr. Barford, Mr. Elkins, and Mr. Gill are not anti-collecting. They are anti-LOOTING, none is opposed to collecting that is done responsibly and legally.

It was also said that since Mr. Barford and Mr. Gill are not American, (here, and here) they must not know how the system works here. But when I, as a collector (who they are supposedly representing) and American citizen express my outrage at what they are doing and ask why they are deliberately leaving pertinent information out of all posts and blogs by their members, no one can seem to come up with a reply. What argument will they use to explain why I disagree with what they are doing? I'm not an archaeologist, I'm a private collector, so there's one argument shot. I'm an American, and I DO know how things work here, so there's another one down. I know.. I must have been brainwashed by reading the other blogs! Sorry, no.

I consider myself to be an intelligent person, able to form my own ideas and opinions, and I have been following this story since Dave Welsh posted it to the yahoo group Ancientartifacts. What I have seen is Mr. Sayles and Mr. Tompa accusing Mr. Barford and Mr. Elkins of spreading false and mis-information, when in fact it is Mr. Sayles and Mr. Tompa doing exactly that. Spreading mis-information, innuendo, and accusation, attacking anyone who doesn't agree with them. What business is it of theirs how David Gill pays for his Newswire publications? Anyone who disagrees with them MUST be working undercover for a foreign government?(here) I wonder who I work for then, they owe me a check!

Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles continually complain about how unfair the import restrictions are for Chinese and Cypriot coins, but constantly leave out the fact that all that is required is a valid export permit OR proof that the Chinese coins were out of the country prior to Jan 16 2009 ( yep, that's 7 months ago!) and the Cypriot coins were out of the country before July 16, 2007 (only 2 years). Contrary to what Mr. Sayles says in the post Getting it Right, the Cypriot government doesn't have to "sprinkle holy water on it" for it to enter the US, you just have to show proof that the coin left Cyprus prior to July 16,2007 OR an export permit from the government. Again, mis-information. If these coins were legally acquired, that paperwork should be easily obtained.

Another thing I noticed is that the ACCG claims to be working on behalf of all collectors, yet the original Cyprus MOU has been in effect since July 19,2002. Only when it was renewed and coins added did they object. If they are truly working on behalf of all collectors, why didn't they object in 2002? Why haven't they objected to any other MOU?

In the post A Rose is a Rose Mr. Sayles says "All that really matters is that the ACCG remains true to its charter and defends the free and independent collecting of ancient coins." It would really be nice if they remained true to their own code of ethics and comply with all cultural property laws of their own country.

What I see is a lot of twisting words, false arguments, and wasted money by the members of the ACCG that can't even come up with an honest, persuasive argument to justify what they are doing.

If the best Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles can do is personal attacks on those who disagree, and half truths is their posts, why should anyone listen to their side of the argument?

26 comments:

Cultural Property Observer said...

Dear "Ethical Collector:"

Without getting bogged down too much in detail, as to the ACCG coin importation, all the coins were properly declared to US Customs. It was made clear to Customs that ACCG wishes to test their regulations in Court, as is ACCG's right. (Other advocacy groups have used similar test cases in all sorts of other types of matters, but I see no such criticism of them.) In any event, the ball is now in US Customs' court.

I suggest you review the requirements of the CPIA rather than relying on Barford et al. for legal analysis. To import items on the designated list, they must be accompanied either by an export certificate or proof the item was out of the country as of the date of the restrictions. Cyprus does not offer export certificates for coins of Cypriot type. China does for some ancient Chinese coins. The underlying issue here, however (and in much of the overall debate) relates to unprovenanced coins, which probably represent well over 90% in the marketplace. All the coins that were imported are unprovenaced. ACCG has no idea where or when they may have been found.

I am glad you do not have a problem with the accompanying FOIA case, but you may be interested in the briefing in that matter which is available on the ACCG website. Reading that material should make you cognizant of concerns that have arisen about how the State Department processes requests for import restrictions. Frankly, if State had produced documents that supported the view that State followed the law in imposing the restrictions, there would likely be no test case. Instead, we are left with former Chairman Kislak’s declaration suggesting that State ignored his Advisory Committee’s recommendations and then mislead Congress about it.

In any event, I am curious why your blog is anonymous. Please identify yourself and any relationships you may have with members of the archaeological community. There is some speculation that you are merely Mr. Barford or some other member of the archaeological community posing as an "ethical collector," presumably as a point of contrast to the supposedly "unethical collectors" that support the ACCG. Hopefully, not.

In closing, I would note that "unethical dealers" and "unethical collectors" would not worry about contesting the State Department's actions through lawsuits and the like. Rather, they would just smuggle these highly concealable items and not worry about the niceties of legal import. As such, I find your posts about this test case as well as those of Barford, Gill and Elkins to be highly insulting if not defamatory.

Sincerely,


Peter K. Tompa

Wayne G. Sayles said...

Do you really a think response is justified? Who do you think you are? Hiding behind a pseudonym does nothing to disguise your egomania and hateful disposition. Play your silly game with someone else.

Robyn said...

Mr. Sayles,

I considered not posting your comment, but decided to do it anyway since I think it shows your true nature and how you attack those that don't agree with you.

Given your history of personal attacks on others, I suppose I really shouldn't have expected anything different.

Robyn said...

Mr. Tompa,

My name is Robyn, as clearly stated on my blog. The rest of my name will not be forthcoming, because the purpose of this blog is to draw attention to issues I feel are important, not to draw attention to myself. I have no relationship with the archaeological community other than the fact that I read some blogs written by archaeologists. The fact that I read those blogs doesn't affiliate me with them any more than the fact that I read yours gives me any relationship with the legal community. I am simply a regular person who happens to collect antiquities and cares about the damage done by looting both in terms of the knowledge lost, and physical destruction of antiquities that are deemed unsaleable by the looters.

As to whether I am actually an alter-ego of Paul Barford's, no. If you read any of the other posts on my blog, you would know that was not the case. The fact that you or anyone else would suggest that shows me how far some people are willing to reach to discredit someone who doesn't agree with what you are doing. Isn't it possible that someone BESIDES Mr. Barford, Mr. Elkins, and Mr. Gill doesn't agree with you?

I have read the links on the ACCG website. As I said in my post I have been following this story since Dave Welsh posted it, and have read both sides of the argument in depth. I still think it is the wrong thing to do, and a waste of taxpayers' money. There have been other test cases by other advocacy groups, as there have been other MOU's, but I don't see you challenging them on behalf of collectors either.

The Cypriot government doesn't HAVE to issue a permit for that coin as long as you can prove it left there more than 2 years ago. As a business person I keep all bills of sale for items I buy, don't coin dealers? (and before
you ask, what business I am in is also none of your concern, as it's not pertinent to this blog or the issue we are discussing.) All that would be needed is a bill of sale from outside of Cyprus prior to July 2007.

You say I should rely on someone other than Mr.Barford for my legal analysis. Would you care to point out where he has been wrong? He gives links to the act itself so his statements can be verified.

Unethical collectors/dealers aren't just the ones who are smuggling the items in themselves, they are also the ones who don't care where or how their object was obtained or the destruction possibly caused in retrieving it just so they can own something they desire or sell something to make a buck, as you admit to doing in this case when you say: "ACCG has no idea where or when they may have been found."

My post is no more insulting to you than the ones you have posted regarding Mr. Barford, Mr. Elkins, and Mr. Gill should be to them. I also see nothing defamatory in pointing out information that has been left out of posts by you and Mr. Sayles or in pointing out personal attacks on the other 3 men. I have provided links to everything I have said, so anyone
who reads the post can see what was written in your own words.

Bill Donovan said...

I agree with Peter Tompa and Wayne Sayles, you seem biased and irrational. I am also an American collector (Afghanistan War Veteran).

Cultural Property Observer said...

Your blog is indeed curious. It attacks those you see as "unethical collectors," but not only do you fail to identify yourself, you also don't identify what you collect, why you collect it, what "ethical" dealers you personally deal with and what makes you or them more ethical than the rest. Most coin dealers do write invoices out for material, but that does not mean they can devine where each and every Cypriot coin has been in the past two plus years. I'm sorry, but without providing far more information, its hard to take you at all seriously.

Robyn said...

Mr. Donovan,

First let me say thank you for your service.

Second, this is not unbiased journalism, it is my personal blog where I write my thoughts on a subject I am passionate about. I happen to agree with the views of Mr. Barford, Mr. Elkins, and Mr. Gill on this matter. Don't you think the blogs of Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles are equally biased in support of what they believe in? I see nothing wrong with the US
government saying they will help another country enforce its cultural property laws by not allowing something illegally obtained in that country to enter the US.

I see nothing irrational about drawing attention to factual information left out of posts by Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles. They
make it seem like those items are impossible to import into the US under any circumstances, when in fact that is not the case. It's also not irrational to shed light on the fact that Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles are accusing others of spreading mis-information when that is exactly what they are doing by leaving pertinant information out of their posts.

What is irrational, in my opinion, is demanding that someone who doesn't agree with them identify themselves when there is no such demand from those that DO agree. It's also irrational to conclude that someone must be working clandistinely for a foreign government because they refuse to say how they pay for publication.

David Gill said...

Robyn
Thank you for this helpful posting. You are right to reminder readers that I am anti-looting - and the reason for this is the loss of our cosmopolitan heritage. Anti-looting is not the same as anti-collecting.
Best wishes
David

Robyn said...

Mr. Tompa,

You say my blog is curious, but you've obviously not read much of it, as most of your questions have been answered in previous posts. I have stated that I collect Ancient Egyptian items, I collect because I love history, and I have given links to some dealers that I consider ethical that are offering provenanced items.

"Most coin dealers do write invoices out for material, but that does not mean they can devine(sic) where each and every Cypriot coin has been in the past two plus years." How would a museum be viewed if it couldn't document where an item it obtained was a mere 2 years ago? Why should the standard be any different for coins? (Or any other antiquity for that matter)

I am different than many because I care about history, and I care about the knowledge that is being lost due to looting. I am doing everything I can to help curb it, and encouraging others to do the same.

Whether or not you take me seriously is entirely up to you, and really not a major concern of mine.

Robyn said...

Mr. Gill,

Thanks for your comment. Indeed there is a huge difference between being anti-collecting and being anti-looting.

The loss of cultural heritage and knowledge caused by looting is surely a loss for all.

Take care,
Robyn

Bill Donovan said...

Hi R,

Let me address the point I made earlier about the irrational nature of your writing.

"I am different than many because I care about history..."

This implies that people outside of your egoic group don't care about history, for instance coin collectors, and I will gently point out that history is coin collectors' primary concern. Phrasing your arguments in this way is unconsciously dogmatic, it assumes you have the answer and does not invite discussion, and in addition it is a manic form of arguing your point, because it implies you have the answers to "car(ing) about history" and it does so in a way that excludes other arguments.

"Whether or not you take me seriously is entirely up to you, and really not a major concern of mine."

The premise of this post is that you felt ignored, and want Wayne Sayles and Peter Tompa to pay attention to you. Because this statement contradicts the premise for the original post this is a very clear example of irrationality. You care very much about being acknowledged, and you care what people think about you - which is normal.

Nathan T. Elkins said...

Dear Robyn,

I would echo what David said and thank you also for your post.

I have a great respect for collecting and have stated - and published - the fact that I first came to the sciences of numismatics and archaeology through collecting. That, however, is not an excuse for not being sensitive to how much of this material comes to the market. Being cognizant of the deleterious effects is no more "anti-collector" than those who are sensitive to the illicit trade in exotic animals are "anti-pet owner."

Unfortunately, some individuals and interests do not wish to engage in an honest and equitable dialogue about the deleterious effects of the looting and the role the market plays in it and resort instead to unsavory methods to distract from it and use personal attacks to intimidate those whose opinions and research they feel threaten them.

As I have said before, there is common ground between collectors, archaeologists, and those concerned about looting. All players in the game, however, must ask what can be done about it. Hopefully more collectors like you will ask what can be done instead of buying into some of the distortions that have been put out there by those who would like to see the detrimental status quo continue unquestioned.

Best of luck with your work!

Nathan

Robyn said...

Hi Mr. Donovan,

You say "history is coin collectors' primary concern". That may be true for many coin collectors, but it's certainly not true for all of them any more than it's true for all collectors of other types of antiquities. In this case however, I will point out that it seems that history was NOT their primary concern. Mr. Tompa freely admits that the ACCG has no idea where or when they were dug up. That says to me that they also have no idea what potential knowledge was lost in getting them out of the ground, so you are wrong, history was not their primary concern.

I have never claimed to have all the answers to the problem of looting, and am open to any other ideas that would help to curb it. What I am doing is, in my opinion, better than the alternative of doing nothing and letting things continue as they have been.

How very strange it is for you,who knows nothing about me, to presume to know what I was thinking when I wrote my post, or what I care about. I didn't write it because I was ignored, I wrote it to point out to collectors that may be on the fence as to whether the ACCG's stunt is a good idea the tactics being used by members of the ACCG to discredit those who disagree, and point out factual, relevant information that is repeatedly left out of their posts.

Robyn said...

Hi Mr. Elkins,

Thanks for your comment, it is much appreciated.

Well said, I don't believe there is anything I need to add.

Take care,
Robyn

Bill Donovan said...

Hi R,

I only know what you have written about in this post. That is why I used direct quotes, and then used them as examples of my opinion.

In my defense, I don't have to "know you" to perceive an irrational position. Also, I don't know what you are thinking, I can only deduce your position from your writing. I would characterize your writing as emotional.

You may be coming at this argument with a completely heart felt set of beliefs. In which case it is not my place to tell you your beliefs are wrong.

I would ask for you to respect other people, and maybe try to find a common ground - like Dr. Elkins suggests. However, this might be uncomfortable for you, because you would have to compromise on something you feel very strongly about.

Also, maybe you could clarify something. On this blog, and several others, the ACCG seems to provoke an emotional, and abusive stream of criticism. What have they done to you, or your position about collecting with which you so closely identify, to provoke your anger?

Paul Barford said...

I'd like to echo the comments of David and Nathan and congratulate Robyn for standing up for what she believes to be right. That it has brought down on her head the wrath of the likes of messers Sayles and Tompa will surprise nobody who has been observing certain elements of the collecting community refusing to acknowledge that the nineteenth century ended quite a while ago.

Robyn said...

Hello again Mr. Donovan,

You said "I would ask for you to respect other people". I return the same level of respect I am given. Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles started right out being disrespectful, and were given the same in return. You also say "and
maybe try to find a common ground -like Dr. Elkins suggests.However, this might be uncomfortable for you, because you would have to compromise on something you feel very strongly about." You do realize that this would also apply to the ACCG don't you? So far their members seem to be unwilling to even listen to a position that differs from theirs, do you really think they'll consider a compromise?

Why do they evoke such anger and criticism? I can only speak for myself, but this is not the first time I have attempted discussion with a member of the ACCG or coin dealers. Every time I have attempted this I am either ignored or I'm given a holier than thou "I know everything and you know nothing so don't bother me" attitude. They have repeatedly shown themselves to be absolutely unwilling to listen with an open mind to anything anyone else has to say. They are determined to continue their don't ask-don't tell businesses without regard to where their items are coming from and the loss of knowledge when they are ripped out of their historical context. They continue to grasp at straws to find a way to justify what they are doing. When they show themselves to be willing to be open to reasoned debate instead of resorting to personal attacks, maybe they will not get such responses.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Robyn- Let me try one last time. I am unclear what makes you more ethical than anyone else. If you just buy antiquities with invoices from established dealers, that really does not distinguish you. Most collectors do.

Do you know the find spots of your Egyptian artifacts or when they were found? If not, I don't see how the artifacts you collect are really any different than the unprovenanced coins the ACCG imported other than the fact that the latter are subject to a possible test case. Please explain.

Peter Tompa

Robyn said...

Mr. Barford,

Thank you as well for your comment, I appreciate it. You are correct, collecting (like everything else is life) needs to evolve with the times. Collecting shouldn't continue to be done "the way it's always been done". We know too much now about the destruction looting causes to sit back and do nothing and let it continue.

Take care,
Robyn

Robyn said...

Mr. Tompa,

An ethical collector, in my opinion, is one who (among other things) recognizes the destruction caused by looting, and actively takes steps to make sure they are not contributing to it now or in the future. That is what I do.

I have openly discussed on my blog the fact that I wasn't always what I would now consider to be an ethical collector, but I have become one by educating myself on the laws surrounding the items I buy, the laws of the countries I buy from, and the destruction caused by looting. Now the items I buy don't just have an invoice from the dealer, they have a provenance, a history of who had them when.

You and I both know that relatively few items have a provenance going back to the find spot for a variety of reasons, but
this wouldn't continue to be the case if items were reported to the appropriate authorities in accordance with the law when they were found instead of being shipped out of the country to be sold to dealers/buyers willing to not ask questions.

Nothing can be done about looting in the past. The idea is to make sure we as collectors are not contributing to it now or in the future. You have no idea if the coins in your test case were dug up illegally a few weeks before they were bought for it.

The difference between you and and the people you represent and me is that I think that doing everything I can to help curb looting, and encouraging others to do the same, is the right thing to do. You seem to be determined to fight tooth and nail to be able to continue to buy and sell items with no regard to where they came from or how they were obtained, as you have admitted doing with the coins involved in your test case.

Paul Barford said...

So, to come back to the original post, has the belated reply from Mr Sayles or Mr Tompa persuaded you that the ACCG coin stunt and what will presumably follow is to your benefit as a collector?

That can be treated as a rhetorical question I think. We can all see the line the ACCG takes even here.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Robyn- Thank you for your response, but I am not sure your version of "ethical collecting" would satisfy the AIA (which demands a collector establish provenance back to 1970) or Professor Gill. I am less certain of what Messrs. Barford and Elkins would require, but I believe that they have belittled sellers’ statements that items come from "old collections” which presumably describes at least some of what you collect. I should also note that if you lived in Egypt, you would not be allowed to collect anything. My understanding is that Egypt recently required holders of old collections to turn them into the State for storage. Finally, in closing, I would note that the ACCG really just wants to preserve the rights of American collectors to import unprovenanced ancient coins JUST AS Cypriot and Chinese collectors can do. Thus, in closing, I continue to find your attack on the ACCG to be highly inappropriate.

Sincerely,

Peter Tompa

Robyn said...

Mr. Tompa,

My version of ethical collecting certainly comes a lot closer to satisfying the AIA would than yours, don't you think? Mr. Barford and Mr. Elkins are correct in what they say about sellers that state "from an old collection". There needs to be proof to back up "from an old collection" otherwise that statement is meaningless.

I am well aware of the laws on collecting in Egypt, as well as the proposed legislation (as I should, since that is what I collect). The latter has not actually been passed yet, although it is being considered.

What Egyptian collectors IN Egypt can or cannot do, and what Chinese coin collectors IN China can or cannot do is irrelevant. What we are talking about are US import controls that are in place for a purpose.

Given the scale of damage done by commercial diggers to ancient Native American burial, sacred, and other sites which are protected by law, would you also oppose an MOU between the US and another country that restricts the import of Anasazi pots (such as the ones in the Blanding case) into another country? Or would you welcome their help in enforcing our own cultural property laws? After all, it's not illegal to own Anasazi pots in Egypt. Would you support their "right to collect" them, even though they were illegally dug up here?

I would also point out that I made no "attack" on the ACCG. I posted a question and my thoughts on the ACCG's challenge. When I recieved no reply after 2 attempts, I posted it to my blog. My Sayles' reply however, WAS an attack. As was yours when you accused me of ( among other things) of actually being Mr. Barford.

What the ACCG is doing, from my perspective, is fighting to be able to continue to buy and sell what are quite possibly recently looted items without regard to whether or not they were legally obtained. (In addition to being a HUGE waste of taxpayers' money) I think this is just plain wrong and see nothing inappropriate in speaking out about that, or in pointing out the tactics some of its members have used to discredit those who disagree.

Bill Donovan said...

Hi R,

I have been keeping up with the series of comments on this post, and I noticed in your last reply that you didn't answer Mr. Tompa's question: Are you an ethical collector of Egyptian antiquities? Yes or No. Not just more ethical, and if you can't give a straight answer to that question your whole position is fragile.

You must see the irony in you being a US collector of Egyptian Artifacts (your collection is specific to a small region, the Egyptian state has a strong claim to cultural patrimony regarding Egyptian Artifacts) and then holding an ideological position almost indistinguishable from a cultural patrimonist. It is so thick it you could cut it with a knife. The only person who would come to that position is an archaeologist, or an ideological convert to their position, because fundamental to their argument is that their finding artifacts in context and the state keeping the coins is more valuable than people independently studying and living with the coins all over the planet - regular citizens of Earth (on the smart and curious side - like yourself ;) ) sharing in a trans-national culture of great intellectual, artistic and spiritual wealth.

My personal stance is that I want to own coins. I learn about ancient art from them, I am a working artist. Picasso owned ancient artworks. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both owned ancient art, and they both used examples from mythology to illustrate their theories. Making art and theoretical writing haven't changed so much in the last 70 years for us to be cavalier enough to write off the significance owning ancient art had to these men; each used their collections in a way that synthesized their ideas with ideas from the ancients. I submit to you that these three men have contributed more to humanity than the sum of all archaeologists who have ever lived. That is why I support Mr. Tompa and Mr. Sayles 100%. I am proud of them. The coins in themselves have intrinsic value as artworks independent of where they were found, and I am glad I own some, because owning ancient coins ignited my interest in history. Collecting ancient coins led me to read: Heroditus, Ceasar's Commentaries, Thucydides, The Later Roman Empire by Ammianus Marcellinus, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Enchiridion by Epictetus, as well as several books about the Ptolemies. I regularly look through old auction catalogs, and pick up interesting pieces of information about long dead cultures. I have gained an interest in Latin. I have gained an appreciation for the aesthetics of the ancient celator. What the archaeologists advocate is purely from their one point of view, and to someone like me it is hostile and degrading, and no wonder there isn't a real dialogue.

Archaeology is a minor field of the humanities compared to the creative Arts, and we are letting them dominate a discussion about art. Not to be rude, but archaeologists dig to find out what artists were doing thousands of years ago, and then give rather crude educated guesses to what it all meant. I am a living artist, and I want the coins because they inspire me and enrich my creative mind, I understand the celator on a different level than an archaeologist, my way of looking and owning the coins is thoughtful and constructive, why is the world would I let anyone bully me?

I am a good steward of coins. I hope they stay in my family for a few generations.

Regards,

Bill Donovan

Robyn said...

Mr. Donovan,

To answer your question, yes. I think I am an ethical collector. When you say I'm a cultural patrimonist, I assume you mean that you think I believe all items from a particular culture should stay within their country of origin. I don't believe that. I don't necessarily agree with the cultural property laws of some countries, but I do respect those countries' right to have a say in what happens to antiquities found within their borders. But whether or not I agree with the laws that are currently in place is irrelevant. The laws are still the laws, and should be respected. There are many laws in my state that I don't like, but that doesn't mean I get to ignore them.

Like you, I support collecting by regular citizens of the Earth, I just think it should be done respecting the laws of the countries the items come from. If this means it will take a little more time and effort to find an object that I want to buy, so be it.

I also agree that some ancient items have artistic value, but its not the only value they have. I understand that you collect coins, so that is what you keep referring to, but not everything that is collected has artistic value. Some people collect arrowheads or flint tools, and I don't see anything particularly artistic about them. The study of the item itself is important, but not MORE important than the study of the item in its historical context. I believe they are equally important. When an item is dug up illegally, the knowledge that could have been gained by studying it in its context is lost forever.

I disagree though with your statement that archaeologists are dominating a discussion about art, because as I said before, artistic value isn't the only value that items have. They also have historical and educational value that comes from studying them in context. I think an item should be studied for all of its values.

This shouldn't be an "archaeologist vs. collector" issue, what we should be asking is what can we as people who are
interested in and respect history do to achieve a common goal, and that is to stop the trashing of sites so people around the world can "live with coins". Why can't people live with and be inspired by items that were not gotten by robbing more and more fresh sites?

I wish you the best of luck in your artistic endeavors,
Robyn

David Gill said...

Robyn
Why is the legal officer of the Cultural Policy Research Institute taking such an interest in your ethical stance?
Could the answer lie here?
Best wishes
David