Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Carausius, Mar 16, 2022.
Log in or Sign up to hide this ad.
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.
Elkins has an anti collector stance that goes far deeper than just being pro-MOU as you can read about on his blog
Looked briefly at the blog but was unable to find exactly which areas you're referring to. His blog covers many areas.
I think this link on his web site is troubling -
Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues: Recent Looting in Ukraine (paul-barford.blogspot.com)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
"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.
Precisely why I avoided mentioning his name in my OP!
Separate names with a comma.