The Ottoman Empire was the last of the significant conquering empires of Europe. By the late 19th century, modernization and uprisings forced the Empire to consolidate around the area of modern-day Turkey and the Middle East. Even though the Empire was declining, that did not stop the government from trying to exert influence.
After Great Britain left Egypt in 1914, the Ottomans stepped in and demanded Egypt pay tribute in the form of gold coin to the Empire. After the fall of the Empire and the formation of modern-day Turkey, they continued to demand tribute. Egypt stopped paying the tribute on the establishment of the Republic in 1953.
The lawsuit claims that the Ottomans and Turkey illegally removed the coins from Egypt and demands their return.
In one report, the brief cites the provisions of the UNESCO convention as authority for demanding their return by declaring the coins as cultural property.
If allowed through their courts and if the suit is successful, it becomes precedent for Egypt to claim any item as cultural property and demand their return. Aside from coins, exhibits at museums around the world would have to prepare for similar requests. In the United States, the Brooklyn Museum has one of the most extensive Egyptology collection in North America. Their holding is second to the British Museum, who will also face the same questions.
Ancient Egypt did not have a monetary system as we know it today. Since they did not have silver mines and gold was scarce, they traded goods and services. Taxes were paid by people providing products or working for the government.
There are known bronze coins from early periods, but several references noted that they were used for a limited amount of trade.
The first known coins of Egypt came during the Ptolemaic Empire of ancient Greece. By that time, the Egyptian Empire moved up the Nile River from the area near modern Cairo to modern-day Alexandria. As a weakened Empire, Ptolemy I was able to conquer these areas of the Middle East following the death of Alexander the Great.
It was a time of great fortune that included education, the arts, and modernization of the old Egyptian Empire. Silver and gold were brought as the economy soared. Ptolemaic coins are considered Greek coins for many collectors of ancient coinage.
Those who enjoy collection ancient coins should carefully watch this case as it winds through the Egyptian courts. The wrong outcome will affect collectors and be another attack on the hobby.
And now the news…
My story of the week comes from England, where a father, separated from the boy’s mother, lives 100 miles away from his son. To maintain their bond, the father and son collect coins.
Aside from using coins as their bond, the video notes that when they are together, the pair looks for coins in Britain’s version of thrift stores. Some of the stores are run by charitable organizations whose inventory relies on donations.
Jacob, 7, and his dad John are not hunting high-end coins. They are looking for interesting pieces, filling holes from pocket change, and anything else they can find. It is father and son time over a shared interest that each can do on their own and talk about later.
Watch the video below. Maybe it will give you an idea as to how to use coins to bond with your children.
And now the news…
News opened for the new year with ancient coins returning to Mexico after previously been legal for trade.According to the story, Mexico requested the return of 3,500 pre-Hispanic copper coins after discovering its existence in 2013. The coins were obtained by Florida collector in the 1960s, long before the UNESCO convention that turned foreign governments into treasure hunters.
After the coins were taken to Spain for auction, the Mexican government contacted the FBI asking for their help. Allegedly, the collector voluntarily turned them over.
Even though the coins were obtained legally and subsequently legislated into chattel, foreign governments continue to attack United States collectors because they can.
Under the UNESCO convention, numismatic items are the most problematic. When so many examples exist, every coin should not be considered cultural property. Countries can be reasonable and hold back a few examples that would help tell their story, but what is wrong with sharing that story with the world? Does 3,500 coins, most that will never see the light of day again, have to be hidden from the public in Mexico? Would it be against Mexico’s interest to share about 85-percent of that hoard with the world?
Watchers of how countries selectively enforce the provisions UNESCO convention will note that the majority of claims on the alleged numismatic cultural property occurs in the United States or against Americans abroad. Why does the Italian government not claim property rights for all the Roman hoards found in the United Kingdom? Why has there not been claims made against hoards found along the path of the Silk Road during the last few decades?
The only time the UNESCO convention is invoked for numismatics is when someone tries to smuggle coins out their countries, which is reasonable, or in the United States. Why?
And now the news…
Coin World wants to join the sticker craze and add one to your NGC or PCGS slabbed coin. PCGS is offering a similar technology under the label.
Both services will use something called Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC is a technology based on low-frequency communications where a transmitter emits a signal when activated by a reader.
Although NFC is not a new technology, it had gained interest when Apple announced that the latest iPhones had programmable NFC hardware. The NFC capabilities built into prior versions of the iPhone were not accessible outside of Apple’s applications running on the phone.
You may have used NFC without your knowledge. All contactless payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and the tap-to-pay credit cards require NFC. Many department stores are using they call smart tags, which are tags with an NFC chip embedded in them. Aside from electronic payment, contactless keycards, sometimes called proximity cards, are used to access restricted areas are NFC-based technologies.Now Coin World and PCGS want to bring it to numismatics.
Like every technology, NFC is not perfect. Its most significant risks come from the use of NFC tags. These low-power devices have limitations that have allowed hackers to defeat whatever features they are supposed to protect.
The security concerns do not consider privacy issues. Do you trust PCGS or Coin World with the data they claim to be keeping? Do you trust that this data will not be for sale under any circumstances? Do you trust that there are sufficient protections in place to prevent others from hacking the NFC antenna that will allow you to be tracked?
In my past life in information security, I had the opportunity to test the security of these wireless communications. As part of the test, I was able to walk out into the parking lot and open car doors without access to the keys. Unfortunately, the principles I used in that demonstration are the same that others have used to hack NFC.
As we head into 2020, I plan to discuss the impact of NFC from the perspective of someone who used to look at this stuff for a living and had to explain it to non-technical people.
And now the news…
May the holidays find you happy, hopeful, and healthy.
Since I missed posting the news from Sunday: and now the news…
The coin, called “Coincryption,” was issued in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). The ASIO is equivalent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.
As part of the contest, the person who cracked the code was eligible to receive a one-of-a-kind coin designed to celebrate the anniversary of the ASIO.
To crack the code, you need to use the one-time pad as a key. A one-time pad (OTP) is randomly generated text that, when you apply a specific formula, will reveal each letter. OTPs can be very secure if used only once, and the equation to decode the message is frequently changed.
For this contest, the Royal Australian Mint published the OTP in the literature sold with the coin (for AU$10) or online. Since the contest is over, the Royal Australian Mint removed the OTP from their website.
UPDATE: I found the OTP on the Royal Mint’s website → here.
According to the press report, the decoded message says:
If you want an encryption challenge, you can try your skills at Kryptos, the copper sculpture that is outside of the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Kryptos contains four messages in the 865 characters carved into the sculpture. Since its installation in 1990, world-wide experts have solved three of the four messages. The last 97 characters, known as K4, remain unsolved.
Since Kryptos is on the CIA grounds, it is off-limits to the public. However, the CIA has made it available on their website. More information about Kryptos, including the messages hidden in the first three panels, is available in this article.
Kryptos might be a good idea for a commemorative coin. Create a clad coin with K4, attach it to a card with information about the sculpture that includes the cipher, and offer a special gold coin to whoever solved the puzzle. Add a $5 surcharge and donate the money to STEM education.
And now the news…