Friday, May 16, 2014

Thank you

to all those who responded to the ACCG's and CPO's request that coin collectors make their concerns known about the State Department bureaucracy's efforts, aided, abetted and encouraged by elements in the archaeological community, to suppress the private collecting, study and display of common ancient coins of the sort widely and legally collected world-wide.

The number of comments of coin collectors and others opposed to the MOU or its application to coins compared to the dearth of comments from anyone other than parties with a professional interest in keeping the State Department and Egyptian cultural bureaucracies happy should raise two questions.

Are MOUs little more than special interest programs for cultural bureaucrats and archaeologists?

And is the point of them really cultural heritage preservation or control?

1 comment:

Ed Snible said...

The voices in favor of the MOU seem sincere in their belief that signing it it will reduce unlicensed digging in Egypt. I wish I could share their optimism.

I wonder how it is going in countries with active MOUs? I sometimes read news reports of unfortunates caught with forbidden antiquities in the press. I wonder if there is enough data in those reports to see smugglers changing their behavior over time. If anyone reading is getting anecdotal reports from the antiquities trade of of diggers passing up MOU-restricted items in favor of excavating MOU-exempted items I would be very interested.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong today the sad task of burning 28 tons of seized ivory has started. I wish HK luck, for the sake of the elephants. It seems to me that the burning will only increase the value of unsiezed ivory, and thus provide a perverse incentive to poachers. Hopefully the crushing and burning of ivory does not inspire anyone to do the same with antiquities.