Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WildWinds Coin Identification Website Hacked After Founder's Death

Nathan Elkins' blog has a story about the WildWinds coin identification web database being hacked soon after the untimely death of its owner. See: http://coinarchaeology.blogspot.com/2009/03/wildwinds-hacked.html and http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/

I agree with him. This is very sad. This was obviously a labor of love that benefited not only dealers and collectors, but scholars too. It also provided some provenance information for the coins that were listed.

Luckily, there are still other dedicated individuals out there who have compiled very fine web databases of coins. For example, here is an excellent database about the coins of Magna Graecia and Sicily that has been around for over a decade. See: http://www.magnagraecia.nl/coins/homeFrameless.html

Coins make particularly good subjects for web databases. Today, most databases list coins from commercial sources such as auctions as the images are already available. Still, as the technology becomes more accessible, I hope there will be more databases of coins found at specific archaeological sites as well as ones housed in museums. The ANS has such a database, but images are only slowly being added. See: http://numismatics.org/collection/accnum/list More can and should be done academically, but, of course, that takes time and money. Perhaps, this could be one area where collectors, dealers, museum professionals and archaeologists could cooperate for purposes of preserving and spreading knowledge of ancient coinage.

1 comment:

Max Fubar said...

Here's the thing here is, there have come forward a few people who have copies of the data base originally used as thank you gifts by the originator of the site. This is fortunate, however, there will still be holes in the data since they are not as up to date as the site itself. Hopefully this tremendous resource and those who now operate it manage to keep this site as a memorial to an individual who was totally selfless in academic and numismatic and educate coinage of various periods. Few collectors today would argue, that Wild Winds made a difference with their decision to collect ancient coins. Academic benefit by being able to access material that might never have been brought to light without this site, and this is what collecting is all about. We are care takers for future generations of our shared history. This site is proof that individuals, not governments are best at holding on to history without distortion. As we know, the victor writes their history to show them in the heroic light, but physical objects tell the truth since they are a manisfestation of events as they happened, not as they are told.