Sunday, June 20, 2010

You call this "Archaeology," do you?

Yet another one... This time I direct you towards this and Trocadero affiliated dealer, simply called "Archaeology." Seriously. Operating out of Bendigo, Victoria, since 1996 (online since 2002), Mr. and Mrs. Munday claim to have, over their 12 years of operation, "formed fabulous relationships with dealers," primarily working with Licenced Antiquities Dealers in the Holyland (Israel). They boast that they have also received materials, of unstated provenance and collection history, from the former Museum of Biblical History in Columbus, Ohio (what, exactly, happened to it?). Indeed, through their "expertise" (primarily, it seems, in Classical World coins) they "hope to be able to help you with your collection, gift, or coffee table talking point" (italics mine). Coffee table talking point?!

There's nothing new about how they advertise their wares. Prices are usually offered, sometimes with discounts, sometimes noting what's been sold. No provenance, no collecting history, no mention of how these European and Middle Eastern coins made it to "a small country town" in Australia. However, what I want to highlight is the following statement: "We not only love our business, but also love ancient history and the fantastic feeling of connection with the past that antiquities and ancient coins provide the bearer. We hope to be able to share our passion and enthusiasm with you as we display our fantastic range of ancient history and art." If unsatisfied, items can be returned for a full refund, but if they come back damaged, don't worry...purchaser and supplier can just "talk about what went wrong." Really?!

The existence of stores like this represents, to me, the very fringes of the "no questions asked" antiquities trade. It is unfortunate to find them apparently alive and well in Australia, and using the same tired rhetoric used by dealerships/galleries big and small.

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