Archaeo-blogger Paul Barford has highlighted a CNBC article about investors and rare coins. Though there may be some unstated implication a recent run-up in coin prices caused by American investors will encourage looting of archaeological sites in source countries, CPO doubts it. First, CPO suspects most investors are focusing on high quality American coins and modern foreign issues. Ancient coins by comparison are far less accessible, far harder to grade, and have so many subjective factors associated with their value that by comparison they don't make for an "easy" way to "make a fast buck."
CPO does acknowledge that there has been a long-term increase in the value of high-quality ancient coins, but this trend probably relates more to a relative decline in the value of the dollar and a large increase in the numbers of wealthy collectors in "source countries" than anything else. So Mr. Barford and his friends in the archaeological blogosphere should have little to worry about if American investors take a shine to historical coins.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Investors Take a Shine to Rare Coins--So What?
Posted by Cultural Property Observer at 6:07 AM
Labels: ancient coins, coin collection
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Arthur Houghton asked me to post this:
'Peter, you may be right but it's my experience that very high quality coins of any type, ancients in particular, continue to appreciate in value. There has been an explosion in the prices of some -- and this is something that your special friend Mr. Barford should be aware of.
I would be happy to educate him further -- even in his natural habitat. Could i suggest a good coin dealer who sells ancient coins in Warsaw? I would go there if only to help you improve your collection and make it known to the ever-undistinguished friend of yours that even in his backyard ancient coins are being sold over the counter and that if he has had no effect there, he is having no effect anywhere.
There is a coin fair in Warsaw every September. Mr. Barford goes every year. Perhaps, he's secretly a collector! Shttp://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2012/05/monety-expo-warsaw-2012.htmlee
Perhaps you can meet him there in September 2015 and school him in how to buy ancient coins. Once he gets the bug, Portable Antiquities Collecting and Heritage Issues may become a much needed booster for collecting ancient coins in Poland. Why not, collecting ancient coins is part of our shared Western heritage.
For more about the coin expo in Warsaw, see
" Could i suggest a good coin dealer who sells ancient coins in Warsaw? "
I bet he can't.
Go on, recommend one and I'll pay him a visit.
Arthur Houghton requested I post this:
"Following Bs comment about I bet he can't.
Peter please inform Barford not to worry. There is a vibrant Polish numismatic society, full of people who like ancient stuff and I am sure that I can hook into them and find out pretty quickly who they deal with and who I should see. If they ask me to give a scholarly talk, shall I say yes? Or turn it over to the undistinguished one to respond? He could huff and puff but since he knows nothing about numismatics, perhaps he would need a little prepping. May be a lot. What about their national academy of sciences as a venue? I could ask Mr. B. to set it up. But I would wager that he could not. No matter. I can take care of it myself. Should I plan a nice September visit?
Mr Houghton, please do, I am sure you will have many listeners. Yes, we could do it at the Academy of Sciences, but why wait until September? Warsaw is wonderful in the spring. What should we give as the title?
From Arthur Houghton:
"Who Owns the Past: Morality, Law and the Public Interest"
Since it would be my intention, as always, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, I expect that what I have to say will not please you. And it must be a condition that all questions will be submitted in written form, translated, and that you get one only for yourself.
Before I agree, I would like to know who sponsors such a talk -- or better, who will be issuing a formal invitation and who would introduce. I would also want to know everything I need to know about the Academy of Sciences, including those archaeologists and museum members to whom I would be speaking. I assume that I do not need to learn Polish beforehand, and that members attending will not object to my speaking in English. I wish no honorarium of course.
I regret that only a late September date is possible. If it is possible.
The Great Undistinguished One (GUO) writes on his archaeo-blog...
"Arthur Houghton has [...]offered to come to Warsaw in late September to give "a scholarly talk"...Whatever his intent, this guy just comes over here as an enormous gas-bag. The first slimy-snide Houghton response to Tompa..." et al, ad nauseum.
Ah yes, it's good to see the GUO maintaining his ill-mannered, loutish facade to which academia and the Great Unwashed have become so accustomed.
From Arthur Houghton,
"Peter, I am sure you've seen the gas bag's most recent screed. Maybe less a gas bag than a whoopee pillow. He asked, I offered, he's run off in the other direction, not only at the mouth. Poor fellow. Decided not to take it seriously. Too bad for the whoopee pillow. Has he ever done a useful thing? Not according to his resume. A whoopee pillow. Some day he may grow up, but don't hold your breath.
Thank you for keeping up the thread and letting him expose himself for what he is in fact. And is not.
Maybe Mr Howland would like to accompany Mr Houghton, seeing as they share so many cultural property interests? I am sure his take on "Morality, Law and the Public Interest" would be equally interesting. I'll sort out the details of his visit with Mr Houghton later.
CPO thinks Poland would be a good place for a debate about cultural property issues, but for now CPO will close comments on this post except for ones that directly pertain to the original subject, i.e., investors and coins.
The sponsor would be the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), but we would probably invite members of several PAN committees, and scholars from the universities. I'd like also to get someone from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage to come along and maybe say a few words in response.
I think it would be difficult to get questions to a talk that has not yet been delivered submitted in writing (unless of course you submit the whole text beforehand, but then is there any point actually delivering it as a live talk?). That's not the way discussions normally go here in the Academy. If you like, we could however organize a "questions to Arthur Houghton" session first and then your talk could address the issues that come up in the questions, but I think you'll still have to allow the assembled to ask for clarification. I think there will be a "few things" that need clarifying.
For a formal invitation to be issued, you'd first have to let us know who we are inviting, would you be talking as yourself, as a representative of the CPRI, or a former CPAC member, or what? Send it please as a comment to my blog, I'll print it out and take it to the Director as soon as I get it, and he'll take it from there.
Talking in English is perfectly acceptable.
I am sure late September will be OK, though it is before the real beginning of the academic year and some colleagues may still be in the field.
Well, I guess I'll reconsider closing down this post given the last post from Mr. Barford.
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