Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sofaer Collection

The ANS has published the Sofaer collection of coins of the Holy Land.  This publication will add to the scholarship in the area.   The coins were all purchased on the collector market in the United States, Europe and Isreael.  Yes, numismatists can derive significant meaning from studying coins independent of any archaeological context.  Abe Sofaer is a former federal judge and State Department legal adviser.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Arthur Houghton asked me to post this:

"Peter, I'm delighted you mentioned the Sofaer collection. But the collection is more than just an aggregation of coins, it is a unique window into the history of the Eastern Mediterranean in ancient times, with superb or otherwise unknown material assembled to illustrate the relationships between mints and coinages. It was put together over many years, openly, with not only the acquiescence of but help from members of the Israeli archaeological community who saw in the collection a rich treasure of information that they and others could benefit from Small and undistinguished people will no doubt carp at the presumed perfidies of Abe Sofaer's collecting, and at those Israelis and others (including myself) who encouraged the collection. Let them. The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on.

Abe Sofaer himself deserves a word. He is a fine and honorable man, mindful of the importance of collecting to the welfare of scholarship and the public. Forever interested in issues of justice, including justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians, he set his standards high and we are all the better for it.

Warm regards, and thank you for mentioning this wonderful publication.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Coincidentally, I just received Italo Vecchi's magnificent work on Etruscan coins in the post. I was happy to see that Lord Renfrew graciously allowed his coins to be published in this work though it is full of coins that appeared on the market after 1970. Both Abe Sofaer and Lord Renfrew are both collectors in the best sense of the word.

Alexander said...

Peter, you should know that one of archaeology's dark secrets is the number of those in the discipline who collect ancient artifacts. Renfrew is no exception -- thare are many who take joy in collecting and who, if revealed, would have their reputation damaged or, worse, lose their jobs. But they do it anyway.


Cultural Property Observer said...

Yes, even one Mr. B, who is so hard on collectors, collects Japanese wood block prints himself. Of course, these are not archaeological objects, but ones over 100 years old are considered cultural property under the UNESCO Convention. Mr. B has demanded that collectors verify that items they collect were exported legally from their country of origin before purchasing them. Though I asked on my blog and his if he had done that, I've never received a satisfactory response. I suspect Mr. B has no information one way or the other whether his prints were exported legally, which is fine by me, but not by the standards he seeks to apply to others.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Arthur Houghton asked me to publish this as well:

"Peter, give the guy a break. He's known broadly for what he is, a small person of little distinction who compensates with a blog that screams "Look at me! O please look at me! See how important I am!" Its all very humorous. He will never respond with a listing of the illicit cultural property he's bought, and you can expect him to try to nip at your heels. There are more important things afoot than to pay attention to undistinguished people in such great need of attention.

Warm regards. Please continue to post matters of importance. Your blog, at least, provides a service.


Anonymous said...

He is now bitching about your method of allowing comments, yet his bosom buddy at Heritage Actions recently posted this...

"[We believe metal detecting should be legally regulated to ensure best practice and maximum public benefit. The world's archaeologists agree. We are disinclined to provide a platform for those British detectorists who oppose that aim. Any artefact hunter wishing to comment please clarify you support comprehensive regulation else it won't be published. Thanks.]

Cultural Property Observer said...

Thank you. So, he is not only telling me what I can collect, but what I can publish. The fact is I know who Alexander is and I also know that "Kyri" is a real person. I grandfathered both of them in. The point of this was to preclude posts from completely unknown individuals. As you should note from Kyri's posts, though I respect his views, I don't necessarily agree with him. Best wishes, Peter Tompa