ANS News

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Carausius, Mar 16, 2022.

  1. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    When the appointment of a new Deputy Director at the ANS gets applauded by an infamous anti-collector blogger, you've gotta wonder: did they make the right pick?
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  3. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio

    my thoughts exactly
    Carausius likes this.
  4. nerosmyfavorite68

    nerosmyfavorite68 Well-Known Member

  5. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis

    That the ANS was going in this direction should have been obvious when Ute Wartenberg wrote a letter on ANS letterhead supporting MOU restrictions for US collectors and later became the president of the organization. Hopefully the appointment of Elkins, whose anti-collector feelings are well known, will at least be a wakeup call for some of their deep-pocketed donors.

    Don't get me wrong, the ANS has done and is doing some wonderful work, however the ANS has always worked closely with collectors and would not be what it is today without them and that's what's most bothering about this. I'm not bothered as much by another anti-collector voice being given more clout as I am by this once great institution for numismatic scholarship blatantly losing track of what made it great. Ancient numismatic scholarship has always been based on the combined efforts of traditional academics and private collectors, many of whom were in fact not academic archaeologists or classicists by training but who brought their outside experience from careers in banking, engineering, medicine, finance or other trades(not to mention their funding) and provided insights and new methods of investigation to the field of numismatics.
  6. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    I didn't know Elkin's stance on MOUs until Andrew's post on Twitter.
    Carthago likes this.
  7. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis

    Elkins has an anti collector stance that goes far deeper than just being pro-MOU as you can read about on his blog
  8. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    Oh wow--that is concerning. Thank you for sharing.
    Carausius likes this.
  9. Gallienus


    Looked briefly at the blog but was unable to find exactly which areas you're referring to. His blog covers many areas.
  10. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio

    I think this link on his web site is troubling -
    Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues: Recent Looting in Ukraine (
    A blog commenting on various aspects of the private collecting and trade in archaeological artefacts today and their effect on the archaeological record.
    Wednesday, 16 March 2022
    Recent Looting in Ukraine
    There has been a lot of what is euphemistically known as "Black Archaeology" been going on in Ukraine over the past decade or so.​
    The biggest problem I have is that some folks seem to think everything belongs in the ground until an archaeologist unearths it.
    Gallienus, Ryro, Carausius and 2 others like this.
  11. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    In 2012, Elkins published a detailed article on the North American coin trade. It can be accessed here. In his conclusion, Elkins outlines possibilities of archeologists working with collectors to address looting and smuggling. Here is a brief excerpt that especially mentions the potential role of the ANS in this:

    Bildschirmfoto 2022-03-17 um 12.47.51.png

    This hardly strikes me as an "anti-collector" position and, as a matter of fact, makes a number of arguments that I find completely sound.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
    PMah, David Atherton, Curtis and 4 others like this.
  12. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you?

    The ANS was started by a 16 year old coin collector and American Civil War veteran. From what I can tell, the bulk of the ANS' collection has been generously donated by collectors and the appeals to add items to the collection is directed squarely toward collectors even today. If you look at the ANS charity ball that is held each year, it is almost all dealers and collectors who show up and support the organization.

    The ANS is not supposed to be a political organization bringing together converging opinions on anything. It's a research and historical preservation society funded primarily by collectors and dealers.

    I will echo the sentiments that it appears to me that ANS is losing sight of who it serves and from whom it gets it's support.
  13. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    all of ANS funding comes from private coin collectors - a lot more in the background than is known about. and much of its published research is due work done by private coin collectors

    ultimately I see no risk as I said in the tweet Nick Molinari referred to.

    If the ANS turns against collectors, all the money and all the research efforts will simply move to other institutions, the RNS, the ANA etc.

    pecunia non olet
  14. Curtis

    Curtis Supporter! Supporter

    I've appreciated hearing your perspective on this and related topics, and feel I'm in agreement on anything substantial.

    To be fair, though, disturbing as they may be, those particular posts are 5-6 years old (and only a few between 2009 and 2016). As a rather early career academic at the time, his perspective could've "matured" a bit since then.

    What I find off-putting and discrediting is mainly that he was mixing it up with the ad hominem-frenemies-of-the-numismatic-cultural-property debate, Paul Barford (who I find offensive quite apart from being mistaken) and Peter Tompa (whose advocacy I feel sometimes veers into the kind of "intellectual dishonesty" you mentioned in another comment recently). I feel all of that stuff does harm to everyone; while don't want to see it at all, I definitely don't want to see someone in a non-advocacy position being involved. But it was years ago, and he's not exactly an old grayhair even now.

    When I've heard Elkins speaking more recently, it's clear he isn't inclined to support a pro-collector perspective. But, I didn't think he said anything specific (recently) that I thought was unreasonable or intellectually dishonest, which I agree (if understood you right earlier), is one of the biggest problems with the debate. (That, and interested parties seem to be either empirically uninformed or not to have even considered some of their opposition's central arguments -- on both sides, or on all three or four, depending how you count.)

    I agree with what you've said above about the history of collecting and our scholarly knowledge on the topic (as well as the very presence of many/ most coins in institutional collections). I think there are reasonable arguments to be made that antiquities (including coins) shouldn't be traded entirely laissez-faire, but I also think it's unreasonable to try to regulate away demand, and would be self-defeating for those wishing to study or protect coins.

    Personally, I (very modestly) financially support both the ANS and the ACCG, despite disagreeing with noticeable portions of what each says and does. But I do so because I think they each have a valuable role to play (even if I wish it were played a bit differently).
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
  15. Curtis

    Curtis Supporter! Supporter

    That's Paul Barford's blog. Even those who think looting is very concerning should consider Barford a serious discredit to their position. He's truly offensive, and honestly, I already regret saying his name, since I don't think he deserves the attention he gets.
  16. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    in a reply to my tweet, Ute Wartenberg set out a clear ANS policy position

    "Well, some truth in this statement but over 20 years of prophecies of the imminent demise of the ANSwe are doing ok. We are not as predictable as some think. Collectors and academics have to work together in numismatics, and all staff at the ANS support this view."

    note: "ALL STAFF" support that academics must work with collectors. That's sounds like policy.
  17. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    Precisely why I avoided mentioning his name in my OP!
    rrdenarius and Curtis like this.
  18. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    I say nothing, I hear nothing, I see everything!
  19. PMah

    PMah Member

    Non-constructive negation of the position of academics and cultural property concerns is a pathway to a dead hobby. The sky-is-falling arguments in various blogs have not changed the dynamic, because this relatively small hobby carries little weight against nationalism and the credibility of institutional academia, against which unrecorded coin harvesters have zero standing. Arguing that local crooks get away with the activity is ineffective, just like complaining that other people run stop signs and didn't get tickets. Ancient collectors have to support (and contribute to) academic work or start getting used to trading MS-63 Morgan dollars wrapped in polyrazzamatazz.
    Meander and svessien like this.
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