Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coins of Cyprus from the Collection of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation

The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation (BOCCF) has published its collection in an extremely well done book. It is available here: http://www.cyprusculture.com/default.aspx?ct=cat&cId=6

I have previously blogged about the collection and the hypocrisy of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CARRI) and the BOCCF in arguing for a clamp down on Americans collecting unprovenanced coins when the BOCCF collection is filled with coins with no published ownership history. See: http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2008/08/cyprus-caari-and-boccf-there-is-as.html

The new book only underscores that point. The forward notes, "Beginning in the 1960's, the Bank of Cyprus has been purchasing ancient and medieval Cypriot coins from European auction houses" i.e., from the exact same sources many American collectors and dealers rely upon.

No provenance information for the coins is provided with the otherwise detailed descriptions of individual pieces in the collection. Moreover, as most of the coins have accession dates after 1970, one suspects that many likely have no provenance information stretching back to the "1970 cut-off" date demanded by archaeologists like David Gill.

Yet, I am not aware of Gill, or, for that matter, his echos, Elkins and Barford, the two other SAFE-associated bloggers that criticise American ancient coin collectors and dealers almost daily for purchasing unprovenanced coins, similarly criticising the BOCCF, or, for that matter, other private or public museums in source countries, like Greece, that purchase and display similar unprovenanced coins.

The BOCCF hopes that its book "will become the definitive source of information for scholars, for students and for all who wish to study the history of Cypriot coinage." I would add this book should also be of much value to American collectors and dealers, who only want to be able to continue to enjoy preserving and displaying historic Cypriot coinage, like the BOCCF and fellow collectors residing in Cyprus.

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