Following our story about metal detecting hero Wayne who forced a small museum to run a public appeal rather than renounce his legal right to a £225 reward, unwilling-to-join-in-with-the-most-metal-detecting-is-harmless-mantra archaeologist Paul Barford made a tongue in cheek suggestion that the detectorists’ main customers, US collectors, should pay Wayne’s ransom as well as that of any other Waynes.
Well, they’ve taken the bait (they don’t do irony over there). The trade body for dealers has set up a fund intended to pay small British museums up to £500 to hand to heroes who won’t let go, thus obviating the need for public appeals for funds. Why up to £500? Presumably because they recognise that petty amounts are the ones that reflect so outrageously on those who insist upon being paid – in colloquial terms, they are targeting the cases that stink most.
Unfortunately for them, they betray a complete misunderstanding of the British system and may well be making offers that museums can’t take up – as explained neatly and hilariously by Paul here
And here’s the rub. If this wasn’t merely a publicity stunt and a non-starter, and it really happened, what would they be doing? Well, ensuring a few coins stayed in Britain (hooray!) by ensuring Wayne got his dosh (boo!) while at the same time, every month, paying hundreds of Waynes (maybe even this Wayne) lots and lots of dosh to ensure lots and lots of coins DON’T stay in Britain! So this new breed, the All-American Dealer-Hero is about as heroic in net terms as our home-grown Detectorist Heroes.
One good thing comes out of this though. At least the US Dealers have effectively acknowledged that they realise Waynism DOES stink and reflects disastrously upon metal detectorists (and indirectly upon themselves). Would that most metal detectorists were equally smart and able to see it. It seems they can’t – see the comments from some of them that follow our original article Dreadful by any measure, even by that of US coin dealers.