Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Duplicitous" Coin Collectors; No Comment?

I was going to comment on Nathan Elkins' archaeo-blog on the Egyptian MOU to take issue with some of his statements, but for some reason he's disabled that feature for his post accusing coin collectors and dealers of "duplicity" in their opposition to a MOU with Egypt's military dictatorship that will only do further harm to their hobby and small businesses.  I'm glad then that Wayne Sayles has taken the time to respond in depth to Elkins and to publish an open letter from numismatist Alan Walker to Jane DeRose Evans, an archaeologist whose own letter to CPAC has some unexplained parallels to misstatements on Elkins' blog.

But let's get to the key issue for coin collectors.  Elkins claims to see "duplicity" in statements found in public comments that argue that restrictions cannot lawfully be placed on coins made in Egypt because one cannot properly assume they were found there.  In so doing so though, Elkins relies on some sleight of hand himself.  First, he states, with some authority, that Egypt had a "closed monetary system" during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. But then, he conveniently ignores the fact that Ptolemaic "Egypt" included Cyprus, and at least parts of today's  Libya, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.  And then there is the hoard evidence.  As set forth in Alan Walker's "open letter" to Jane Evans, Elkins and Evans ignore that too.  And while Elkins and Evans are more on point when it comes to Roman Egypt, even there recent data from the Portable Antiquities Scheme suggests that Roman Egyptian Tetradrachms (which had the silver content of one silver denarius) circulated at least to some extent in far off England.  So really, who is being duplicitous?

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