Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bible Numismatics 1: Jesus And The 30 Pieces Of Silver









Greetings,

Recently there has been a lively discussion going on at Moneta-L, a Yahoo Group for ancient coin collecting. It has been over the value of the 30 pieces of silver given for Jesus' life to Judas Iscariot by the 'Chief Priests' of the Jewish Temple. Here are the relevant passages:

Matthew 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. King James Version (KJV)

and

Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. 8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. 9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; 10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. King James Version (KJV)

The post started off here, you might have to be logged in as a member (free to join) to read the posts so I will copy the better posts here minus the author's names and with a few minor spelling and grammar changes:

1st Post

Thirty Pieces of Silver in Today's Terms

Dear List,

I was at my local coin store today when the owner, who knows I'm a pastor, asked me if I knew what the infamous thirty pieces of silver from Jesus' betrayal might possibly be worth in today's currency - not in numismatic value, but in real earnings. In other words, how much would thirty shekels be in 2008 dollars.

I didn't have a good answer for him so I said I'd ask.

I know this is a vague and difficult question to answer, but are there educated guesses out there?

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Re: [Moneta-L] Thirty Pieces of Silver in Today's Terms

I think we are all in agreement that a denarius/drachma was about a days pay for a skilled laborer, so 30 pieces of Silver is equal to about 120 days pay, but I believe this was based on a low standard of living - more like the 3rd world today.

A good point for value reference is in 1st century AD (outside Rome) it would have cost about 100 Denari (200 Denari in Rome) to buy a years supply of wheat, oil and wine (basics) for a family of 4.

Here are some actual rates in 1st century Rome (before Nero)

Secretary =15 Denari/month
Lecturer =12 Denari/month
Messenger = 9 Denari/month
Fortune Teller = 10 Denari/month
Legionary = 20 Denari/month
Praetorian = 60 Denari/month

Prices in Rome

A Modius (6.67 kg) of wheat cost 32 AS (Rome), in the provinces about 1/2 that and 1/4 in rural areas
Loaf of Bread = 2 AS
Sextarius (1/2 liter of table wine) = 1 - 5 AS
Sextarius of fine wine = up to 30 AS
Public Bath = 1/4 AS
1 cloth tunic = 15 Sestersi
1 donkey = 500 Sestersi
1 slave = 500 denari
1 morgan(?) of land 250 denari

Prices as posted in Pompey

1 modium rye = 3 Sestersi
1 litra (1/3 kg oil) = 1 Sestersi
1 loaf of bread (+/- 1 lb)= 1 AS
1/2 liter of table wine = 1 AS
1 pot = 1 AS
1 dish = 1 AS
1 Oil Lamp = 1 AS
1 tunic cloth = 15 Sestersi
1 bucket = 8 AS
Criminal Fine = 25 Sestersi

I believe when talking about a denarius or drachma a day we must consider that this is a society where you could buy a slave for 500 Denarius so labor wages had to be competitive with slave labor. In Rome if it cost 200 Denarius a year just for basic food - a Denarius a day would not have been a very high standard of living.

One Roman writer (I forget who it was) says he would need 2500 denarii a year to maintain a middle class life style in Rome.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Re:Thirty Pieces of Silver in Today's Terms

On Passover night, the Jews have a long elaborate meal combined with narrative about the exodus from Egypt. At the very end, there is a song, the refrain for which is "one kid (i.e. a small goat used for the Passover sacrifice) which my father bought for two zuzim". A zuz is ~ to a denarius (in the time of Bar Kochva, ~131-135 ce) the zuzim were overstruck on Roman denarii. It's denomination is 1/4 shekel. So a shekel would buy 2 goats with a maximum age of one year old. I never bought a goat, but a 55kg (121 pound) sheep/lamb cost me in Israel ~$250 US. I think that they are cheaper in the United States.

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Re:Thirty Pieces of Silver in Today's Terms

Afaik the legend tells us not what became of the proceeds, but 14oz of silver would provide Thanksgiving dinner for dozens of our destitute brethren, those said to be first in the heart of the hero betrayed.

Relating this tale of ancient coins to our own lives has been thought-provoking and fun.

Today we count blessings that can't be equaled in silver.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

The coin in question is most likely the Shekel of Tyre, I have a very corroded one in my own collection which I recieved from a British dealer who mistook it for a tetradrachm of Elagabalus for a mere £5 GBPs ($10 USD at the time) :

Photobucket

Here is a better one from the lifetime of Christ (4/5 A.D.) :

http://imagedb.coinarchives.com/img/cng/060/enlarged/600941.jpg

Here is what 30 (mixed dates) would have looked like:

http://imagedb.coinarchives.com/img/cng/063/enlarged/630711.jpg
Full Lot Description here.

More profound than the coins themselves, the price seems related to the cost of living in real terms. It is folly to translate the value of something like 30 tetradrachms into 2008 dollars as if we could just crank it through a currency converter or tabulate the value of silver or gold then and now. But a skilled laborer, someone like today's Nurse or Tool and Die Maker, take what they make per day, times 4, times 30 and you begin to get a handle on it. I did some of my own calculations based upon when my wife was a nurse and it came out to about a 1/2 a years wages.

Would you kill a close, faithful friend or sell your soul for 6 months of what you earn?

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Monday, November 24, 2008

New eBay Policy - No Personal Checks








Greetings,

I have got this real love/hate thing with eBay. Some days I make OK money selling on it and other days it does these stupid things that make me want to scream! Today is one of those days. I updated a fixed price listing to accept 'Best Offers' and toward the end (when the item was listed) I was told I had an unacceptable form of payment listed. Huh?

Long ago I had cleaned up my auction listing terms of any references to Western Union, Bidpay, Greenzap and all the other forms of payment I used to take. I find it pretty remarkable that the U.S. government would allow eBay to bar the use of Cash (printed by the government and still legal tender last time I checked) or Money Orders (also printed by the government at the Post Office) and ONLY allowing Paypal and ProPay (essentially private banking companies).

I mean, isn't there a U.S. law about merchants having to accept cash if offered since it is legal tender? I'd like to hear from anybody who knows one way or the other in the comments.

And . . . if you think this new policy is inconvenient bullsh**, feel free to contact eBay and tell them it is.

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

2008 - A Year of Hoards








Greetings,

2008 was certainly a year of hoards.

1st there was the hoard found in January (or at least reported then) from Gainsborough, UK during the construction of the Gainsborough Hotel & Thermal Spa.

Then there was a hoard of Gaulish coins in February as well as some Roman Republican coins found in Bulgaria.

Then a Viking era hoard of mainly Middle-Eastern coins in Sweden in April.

And then in the fall we had Celtic and Germanic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht, about 6,000 copper alloy coins were found buried in two pots in Wales , a number of thin silver coins in Novgorod, Russia.

And of course there was the find uncovered by Odyssey of over 500,000 silver and several hundred gold coins. One of the largest finds ever.

I am sure I am missing some others but suffice it to say as the year draws to a close this has been an exciting year for coin finds.

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Friday, November 7, 2008

The Final Reply Paul Would Not Post








Greetings gentle readers,

As you may know, Paul often edits or simply does not print my replies to him. It's his blog and that is his right but he then goes on to say what I said was off topic and so on with the usual distortions . . . sigh, whatever. Here is my last reply he just wouldn't print:

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Greetings,

I think Shanks is right, no method currently employed stops looting, if anything the current laws encourage it. The looters are making money selling what they find. It would be better for those areas to be professionally dug and the artefacts professionally conserved and for archaeologists to make money and fund the needs archaeology has like site security, documentation, etc.

I know you are concerned about digging for digging's sake in order to produce items which collectors want. I hold that concern in common with you and that is why I would prefer it be done by professionals instead of reckless looters. Then it can be done professionally and be taxed & regulated by the government.

As for telling tens of thousands of ancient coin collectors to give up their hobby - you would have just as much luck changing human nature, making water dry or making fog transparent. It was once opined that there were (conservatively) 50,000 serious ancient coin collectors in North America (U.S. & Canada) alone and that was several years ago and did not really account for those who only buy lots of uncleaned coins because back at the time, those people were not considered 'serious collectors' by dealers.

You can't change human nature, you need to create laws that work with human nature. I know when I took anthropology one of my key disagreements with the discipline was that it viewed human nature as either plastic or a soup of heredity & environment. I don't discount hereditary or environmental factors in how a person turns out but I feel there are certain things that are fixed about us and not subject to change and I think the desire to acquire is one of them.

I had an International Relations professor at my university who was Polish and was involved in Solidarity in the 1980s. He was neither left or right politically but one thing he was convinced of was how the Soviet system was entirely at war with human nature. The idea of rejecting the family in favor of the state, private property for collective property and so on.

You cannot get rid of collectors and not all items are of equal significance. It would be better to have a fully licit market which allows for private ownership of items of minor significance with incentives for following the law and disincentives for breaking it.

You don't like my solution and I don't like yours and this is the crux of the problem. I think my proposal is a very good middle ground (obviously it is someplace in the middle as some dealers rejected it as too complicated and/or labor intensive) because it allows collecting minor items (coins) to continue but also empowers archaeologists to have a hand in regulation and implementation.

I am no apologist for the uber-rich collector of priceless national treasures. I am not the defender of people who break heads off of statues, steal icons out of Churches or cuts reliefs off monuments. That said however, I do not think it serves anyone to refuse to study or publish items that do not have a provenance. As Hershel Shanks noted, the Dead Sea Scrolls were taken from their context and look what we have learnt from those.

Jim

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Since Paul is in the habit of quoting me out of context, editing my replies and putting words in my mouth I have gotten into the habit of copying and pasting my replies to him into txt documents because otherwise he plays these games.

I've had much more civil exchanges with Nathan Elkins and David Gill. I don't think all archaeologists who are concerned with cultural property issues are obnoxious or closeminded like Barford, nor as ideological. I am sure they look at some of my colleagues and have similar thoughts.

Nuff said for now,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Collectors - Few and Anachronous? - A Possible Cultural Divide?








One last critique of what Paul Barford said in his latest posting about collecting antiquities (including ancient coins):

(Quoting me--->) “Humans are acquisitive by nature, many people collect something”.
”Many” maybe, but in fact the majority do not. In addition, the majority of people who take an interest in the past read books or indulge their interest in other ways, they do not buy looted artefacts. Portable antiquity collectors are an anachronous and erosive minority, taking for their own personal entertainment and profit that which modern archaeology says should form the basis of knowledge available to all. It is as simple as that, it is a matter of conservation of a finite resource and not any “property laws” .

The majority do not collect? How does that square with 'many'? Doesn't 'many' imply more than a few? There is also this problem of 'looted artefacts'. It is as if to say all artefacts are looted. This is the archaeological 'Party Line' of course but it is not the truth.

I went on eBay and did an open search under 'Collectibles' and came up with 2,123,906 hits - just for U.S. listings. Then I did it again for 'Coins and Paper Money' and came up with 286,069 items - once again this is only for the U.S. eBay website. Next I did 'Stamps' and came up with 206,562 hits. I did 'Antiquarian & Collectible Books' and came up with 103,342 hits - once again for U.S. listings only.

Another reality check, both the U.S. and U.K. have highly rated T.V. shows with large followings on antique (or antiquity by UNIDROIT legal norms) collecting such as the Antiques Road Show in the U.S. and Cash In The Attic which is broadcast in both the U.K. and the U.S.

Mr. Barford can assert what he wants to about collectors but it does not make it true, it certainly does not mesh well with the hard evidence.

I mean, I know you want to try to marginalize us (collectors) with every verbal weapon you can Paul, but frankly when you try to pull off this kind of nonsense you look and sound pretty damn foolish. OR - maybe we are both half-right - maybe since you have been living in a former communist country for some time you don't see collections and collectors regularly like I do here in the U.S. and don't realize the volume of people who actually collect and the volume of those collections. Maybe you and I have a culturally created gap in our human experience.

I know there is a wide gulf between some Europeans and America in regards to intellectual property. Years ago when Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software was new, a friend of mine and some colleagues of his were going to take the full German edition of Luther's Works and scan it and then translate it and publish both the English and German together electronically. Here in America after a certain amount of time, any book, film or song goes into the 'public domain'. My friend and his colleagues were prevented from doing their work because of German copyright law even though the books themselves were well over 100 years old and the publisher was out of business.

If this gulf is insurmountable then the problem will remain where it is right now ad infinitum like a car with it's tires stuck in the mud - wheels spinning vigorously but going nowhere.

TTFN,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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A Reply To Paul








Gee, as usual Paul you said so much I hardly know where to begin but let me take a stab.

OK - for one thing, you just simply don't want a legal outlet for antiquity sales, you said,

"Furthermore, Shanks describes the editorial policies of some journals not to enhance the value of looted items in the market by allowing their publication in those journals as "even stupider" and labels it an "the avert-the-eyes strategy". He seems not to regognise that it is a policy which has its eyes firmly on the legitimising effects of scholarly interest in a looted item. So what is Shanks' idea of how to deal with the pronblem? Well, somewhat incongruously, it is not only legitimising the market, but taking part in it.

Compete with the looters. Professional archaeologists should professionally excavate areas subject to looting—and fund their excavations by selling the “loot.” "

So it is safe to say you do not want a legitimate, legal market. You want to maintain the status quo which only feeds looting. I have proposed a solution to the problem of looting and your colleague Nathan Elkins liked my idea as contained in these 2 posts:

http://awcoingeek.blogspot.com/2008/07/coins-and-cultural-property-solution.html

http://awcoingeek.blogspot.com/2008/07/coins-and-cultural-property-solution_30.html

While Shanks did not outline his position in detail, he is aiming in the same direction as I am which is to have a rational, legal & regulated antiquities market which includes professional archaeological training. I can think of numerous reasons why I'd prefer to get ancient coins from an archaeologist or a trained amateur as opposed to a mere looter:

1) Following the law - self explanatory, I already do that but not everyone does.

2) Care taken with the object[s]

I once got some copper coins from India that were cleaned in gasoline. It ruined the surfaces of many of the coins. I'd rather have a person with good conservation skills handling coins (and other objects).

3) Provenance - coins with provenance will command a better price.

I'm going to ignore all the false words you put into my mouth and all the ideas you say I subscribe to. You are talking out of your ideology as usual. I'm just not going to respond to all that claptrap.

About Shanks opinion, good opinions (articles) are worth sharing and repeating. I expanded on what Shanks said that appealed to me and left the rest to stand as is because I did not think I had to add to it. Well stated ideas stand on their own.

I think one thing you really fail to address is the status quo of existing prohibitive, statist laws and how they just don't seem to work. This is where people who hold to your point of view on this topic really have blinders on, haveyour head in the sand and remind me of the 3 monkeys see-no-evil, hear-no-evil & speak-no-evil.

http://unity2008.org/911/CTW_html_ea7da88.jpg

Finally, when Shanks said,

"I call this the avert-the-eyes strategy. Don’t look at it. Needless to say, this strategy has had absolutely no effect on looting, although it makes a major contribution to the self-righteous feeling of those who adopt it."

I think there he hit the nail on the head. The current status quo of archaeology DOES NOTHING but give a warm, fuzzy feeling of righteousness and self-satisfaction to it's subscribers.

TTFN,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Shanks Is Still Right . . . And Barford Is Wrong








Paul Barford recently said this,

I wrote what is below as a reply.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Shanks is right.

The current practice of many archaeologists does not work where the rubber hits the road. It makes many archaeologists feel good if not righteous but it does not solve the problem of looting. It fails the basic test of where the rubber hits the road.

The UK has a rational approach, not perfect but still rational as it acknowledges basic human nature. While the world does have it's occasional Mother Theresa it has for more Donald Trumps (to use a grotesque example). Humans are acquisitive by nature, many people collect something. There is a reason we have private property laws in free countries but not in totalitarian ones. In totalitarian societies, the powerful control the government and rob the people (some like to call it redistribution of wealth) as a matter of law. In free countries the people have their private property protected as a matter of law - but I digress.

When I took philosophy our prof put the old saw of a question to us, "If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there, does it make any sound?" I said of course it does, there is just nobody nearby to hear it. A friend of mine who had bought into Frege, Kant, Wittgenstein, et al (skeptical philosophers) said the tree did not make any sound because there was no one there to hear it. This is precisely what archaeologists who support the status quo are doing. They are taking a see-no-evil (don't acknowledge), speak-no-evil (don't publish), hear-no-evil (don't read about) approach to unprovenanced antiquities. Now I don't know if to be an archaeologist these days you must be a practitioner of 'The Secret' but I must say the archaeological community is certainly exercising what my old anthropology profs used to call 'magical thinking' - don't acknowledge it and it will go away.

I think legalizing and regulating antiquity sales would be far more preferable . . . but it might not give the archaeologists that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

TTFN,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hershel Says The Obvious








Greetings,

1st things 1st, full disclosure - I have been a longtime fan of Hershel Shanks and a subscriber of his flagship publication BAR Magazine since the mid-1980s.

Hershel Shanks has long taken heat for at least indirectly advocating the private ownership of antiquities (the magazine sometimes carries ads from antiquity dealers) but now he just says it plainly:

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

First Person: A Radical Proposal
Why don’t the archaeologists join the looters?
By Hershel Shanks

Picture

“Profits are phenomenal, and looters are running riot,” says Giorgio Gligoris, head of Greece’s police squad set up to combat antiquities trafficking. He’s right! That’s one thing on which all agree, whether it’s the Mayan jungle, Etruscan tombs, Iraq’s cuneiform tablets, Mediterranean coastal waters or sites in the West Bank.

But that’s about as far as agreement goes: Antiquities looting is rampant!

The archaeological establishment’s principal suggestion that will supposedly stop the looting is—well, not to put too fine a point on it—stupid. “Don’t buy looted antiquities” is the strategy. Admittedly, if there were no market for looted antiquities, looting would stop. If the looters could not sell their loot, they would discontinue looting.

But the only effect of this policy is to send the looted objects to buyers who will put the loot in their living rooms instead of in museums—so we, the public, will never see it.

The second strategy adopted by the archaeological establishment is even stupider: Forbid study by scholars of looted objects. This policy is not enunciated directly, but is carried out by scholarly organizations that will not allow articles about looted objects in their publications and will not allow papers on looted objects to be presented at their scholarly conferences. This is the policy, for example, of the Archaeological Institute of America, the major American organization of archaeologists. It is also true of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the major American organization of Near Eastern archaeologists. This policy was recently adopted by the Israel Exploration Journal but was promptly abandoned when a paper on an exciting new looted inscription was submitted to it.1

I call this the avert-the-eyes strategy. Don’t look at it. Needless to say, this strategy has had absolutely no effect on looting, although it makes a major contribution to the self-righteous feeling of those who adopt it. It also has the additional effect of depriving the public (including scholars) of the valuable information that even looted objects can impart. As I like to say, looted objects may be worth less because they were ripped from their context, but they are not worthless. Indeed some of them, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, have actually transformed our understanding of aspects of history.

So here is my radical proposal. It may not solve the problem completely, but at least it makes economic sense.

Compete with the looters. Professional archaeologists should professionally excavate areas subject to looting—and fund their excavations by selling the “loot.” After all, we are assured by Giorgio Gligoris, “profits are phenomenal.” The “loot” from these professional excavations must, of course, be available for study and publication. And we will always know where they are in an open market—just as we know about the location of a Renoir painting.

Moreover, much of this professionally excavated loot will end up in museums. Indeed, museums will be some of the prime purchasers—with money provided by their benefactors. Other pieces will later be donated to museums by private purchasers. Such gifts provide the donor with a tax deduction in many countries—a nice inducement.

I recall a conversation I had with the current president of the Archaeological Institute of America, Brian Rose (before he became president). He had just given a paper decrying the looting of a rich tumulus in Turkey. There were several other tumuli at the site, so I suggested to Brian that professional archaeologists should excavate these other tumuli before the looters got hold of them; finance the dig through the sale of the artifacts to museums, where they would be available for study and publication. I’m sorry to say the suggestion had no appeal.

Even if my suggestion would not substantially reduce looting, it would be good for human knowledge. We would have more wonderful artifacts to study and to interest the public in the past. Isn’t that what we’re about?

But I am under no illusions. My suggestion here will no doubt fall on deaf ears.

1) A paper by Yuval Goren on the recently surfaced inscription variously called “Gabriel’s Vision” and “Gabriel’s Revelation.” See Ada Yardeni, “A New Dead Sea Scroll in Stone,” BAR 34:01, and Israel Knohl, “The Messiah Son of Joseph,” BAR 34:05.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

No doubt about it Hershel.

TTFN,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The 1st US Bailout - Courtesy Early American Auctions







OK, a bit off-topic but - just an interesting little piece of Americana to show we have been down this road before!




I guess one man's 'worthless paper' is another's collectible !

TTFN,

PS: I got a few Pontius Pilate coins ending soon.

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

ANA Establishes Government Affairs Committee









Government Affairs Committee Established

http://assets.listpilot.net/images/money/Capitolrevised.jpg

ANA President Barry Stuppler has instituted a Governmental Affairs Committee. The committee was created to promote Association and coin collector interests in Washington, and keep members abreast of federal legislation that affects the hobby. Updates will be featured in The Numismatist and on www.money.org. The ANA thanks Mark Olanoff and Diane Piret for co-chairing this new committee.

ANA Legislative Update as of August 2, 2008

With the support of the Board of Governors, President Barry Stuppler created the ANA Government Affairs Committee and appointed Mark Olanoff and Diane Piret as co-chairs. Mark Olanoff has 10 years of lobbying experience at the federal and state level. Diane Piret has been an Industry expert for over 20 years and currently is employed by the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA).

COMMENTARY:
------------------

First off, I want to congratulate President Barry Stuppler on seeing a need and filling it by forming this committee. Some of us collectors have felt we are in a nearly adversarial relationship with the US government over the last decade. I also know the ANA and ANS used to play a more active role in our government and it is nice to see that role being restored. Coin and banknote collectors often have more collective wisdom about money than many of our politicians do and you can take that to the bank! I also want to congratulate Mark Olanoff and Diane Piret on their appointments and hope they are successful in their positions and wish them every success.

But I must express this one concern. The page is full of bills that mainly address possible new coin designs. What I would also like to see dealt with is the current struggle with the US State Dept and cultural property issues addressed too. As numismatists we need to stay united on these issues. Not all of us collect US money, plenty of us collect Ancient and Foreign / World coinage too. I hope that just because the ACCG is doing so much on that front that the ANA won't neglect the concerns of other coin collectors.

As cultural property laws continue to spread outside of the United States, Foreign / World coin and banknote collectors will begin to feel the squeeze just as ancient coin collectors already have. That a hobby as innocent as coin collecting even needs to defend itself from government action is an atrocious attack on personal freedom and an abuse of government power - and both US political parties can take a share of the blame.

So while I am pleased to see the ANA taking a more active role in the hobby as it relates to government, I hope this new department won't only act as a committee for suggesting new collectible proof sets so that the government can 'cash in' on US coin collectors. Proof sets and other collectible issues do serve an important purpose in commemorating US History and Americana in general but that shouldn't be sole focus of our hobby.

We are in another 'golden age' of coin collecting right now because of the perfect storm of forces at work in history right now:

  • New circulating coin programs such as the 50 State Quarter program
  • The widespread use of the internet and venues such as eBay
  • A much more reliable global postal system
  • The emergence of the Euro leading to an abundance of inexpensive foreign coins
  • The growth of new finds in ancients coming from Europe and the Middle East
But all this can come to a grinding halt if we give in to international pressure from foreign governments who push the failed policies of Cultural Property Nationalism, Protectionism and Statism. If we do not resist these forces, only the rich will be able to collect ancient coins and the only foreign coins that will remain collectible will be current 'pocket change' issues and annual proof sets, often minted right here in the USA and made to appeal to less than genuine historic or culturally important themes.

TTFN,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

My Ebay Store
http://stores.ebay.com/Polymath-Numismatics-and-Etcetera

My Myspace Page
http://www.myspace.com/numismatistguy

My eBay 'ME' Page
http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/polymath_numismatics

My Coin Blog
http://awcoingeek.blogspot.com/


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Possible Future Barack Obama Appointee Is A Cultural Property Advocate








I just found this out:

Patty Gerstenblith Named to Obama Arts Committee

More about Patty Gerstenblith:

DePaul University Faculty Page

ACCG Afghanistan - Looted Coins Found

Cyprus Renewal Letter PDF

Patty Gerstenblith Bio

Either collectors will have to make more inroads within the Democratic Party (as some of us have within the Republican Party) OR vote for McCain OR a little of each to preserve our freedom to collect here in the USA. The AIA has allies in both parties, collectors are not beholden to any one party - speak up people!

It would also be worthwhile for collectors who have already decided to support Barack Obama to CONTACT HIM and tell him how you feel about Cultural Property Nationalism (as opposed to Cultural Property Internationalism), Import Restrictions & Coin Collecting. Blog about it, no better time than now to let Obama know!

Mental Shorthand Time

Cultural Property Nationalism = Anti-Collecting

Cultural Property Internationalism = Pro-Collecting

TTFN,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

My Ebay Store
http://stores.ebay.com/Polymath-Numismatics-and-Etcetera

My Myspace Page
http://www.myspace.com/numismatistguy

My eBay 'ME' Page
http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/polymath_numismatics

My Coin Blog (New)
http://awcoingeek.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Scholarly Pedantics - More Extreme Archaeology









Greetings,

Recently a certain archaeologist said,

"Basically any archaeological material found in UK soil or UK territorial waters, more than 50 years old and regardless of monetary value, requires an individual export licence to leave the UK."

Source?

Yes, I know you are shocked.

When I read it, one word came to my mind, Pedantic.

At the risk of looking pedantic myself:

Pedant
Ped"ant (?), n. [F. p├ędant, It. pedante, fr. Gr. to instruct, from pai^s boy. See Pedagogue.]

1. A schoolmaster; a pedagogue. [Obs.] Dryden.

A pedant that keeps a school i'th' church. Shak.

2. One who puts on an air of learning; one who makes a vain display of learning; a pretender to superior knowledge. Addison.

A scholar, yet surely no pedant, was he. Goldsmith.

ped·ant·ry (pdn-tr)
n. pl. ped·ant·ries
1. Pedantic attention to detail or rules.
2. An instance of pedantic behavior.
3. The habit of mind or manner characteristic of a pedant.

pedantry
Noun
pl -ries the practice of being a pedant, esp. in the minute observance of petty rules or details.

Emphasis mine.

I think documenting any coin 50 years old or older, regardless of value qualifies as a demonstration of pedantry or pedantic behavior.

For example, according to Krause & Mishler's Standard Catalog of World Coins, the lowest mintage for a British Victorian Farthing is 713,000 for a 1875 Farthing which has a collector value of $9 USD in Fine-12. That is about £4.50 GBPs. Many that are found by metal detectorists in the UK are only found in AG-3 to VG-8 condition which I think would be about Poor to Fair by UK grading standards. Coins like this are routinely and legally sold in group lots on eBay often inexpensively at a cost less than £0.50 pence each.














A coin listed on eBay for £3.00

http://blogs.news-journalonline.com/fanboy/Indiana%20Jones%20Talking%20Indy.jpeg
Hey - that belongs in a museum!

http://www.predecimal.com/forsale/shilling1958s.jpg
1958 Elizabeth II Shilling - 50 Years Old:

1958 Mintage:14,392,000 Fine $0.25 VF $0.50 EF $3.00 UNC $22.50

http://blogs.news-journalonline.com/fanboy/Indiana%20Jones%20Talking%20Indy.jpeg
That belongs in a museum too!

Provenance, pedigree and/or export licenses for a coin like that shilling? Extreme.

TTFN,

Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics
ANA, ANS, ACCG

My Ebay Store
http://stores.ebay.com/Polymath-Numismatics-and-Etcetera

My Myspace Page
http://www.myspace.com/numismatistguy

My eBay 'ME' Page
http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/polymath_numismatics

My Coin Blog (New)
http://awcoingeek.blogspot.com/