Its time to set the record straight on a couple of die-hards that insist on beating a long dead horse by putting down Brookstone Publishing with false and defamatory statements, ongoing off and on now for 11 years. In mid September of 2019, on the coincommunity website, moderator SPP-Ottawa stated that Brookstone Publishing “took advantage of material” made available on a website called CCRS (Canadian Coin Reference Site), without giving proper credit. The only “material” used, was having made short descriptions (called price guide listings) from some coins, such as a double 9 seen on a 150 year old coin. At the time, there was no indication that anyone viewed this as private information since it was posted on a public site. Many people (myself included) had posted similar information there and elsewhere, doing so for the benefit of the hobby. Yet SPP-Ottawa and a few others, decided after the fact that such information really was private, and that anyone who refers to it is obligated to let everyone know who made a posting about it. Apparently, having made the posting on that public forum (or elsewhere) was no longer good enough for these few people. There isn’t much skill or ability needed here. How many people actually believe that in all the time that a 150 year old coin has been in existence (along with all the others still present that were made from the same dies), that no one else was capable of having seen something like a double 9? Does it even make sense for a grown man to even think this was major accomplishment? Especially considering that even a young child can pick up a coin in one hand, hold a loupe in the other, and examine it. Yet for those few people, they see this as a mighty accomplishment worthy of ongoing praise year after year after year.
Making matters even more absurd, is that NO coin price guide (or list) to my knowledge, indicates who claimed to have ‘discovered’ a particular feature – not even for one non-standard coin listed (let alone for many of them). NONE. Yet SPP-Ottawa would have you believe that Brookstone Publishing alone should do this. The difficulty in being able to prove who was the first to find a specific feature may be a factor as to why no price guides list such information. But the most important reason this isn’t done, is that price guides (or price lists) are just that – they are there solely for pricing information – they are not intended as a historical record of who found what, where, when and how. Yet SPP-Ottawa and a few others haven’t grasped this very simple concept. Does it do anyone any good to know that 100 years ago so-and-so was the first one to claim to have ‘discovered’ a doubled 9 on a coin? And how about those who worked at the mint? Shouldn’t they be included? If a mint worker repunched a 9 on a die, would he not examine his punching with a loupe to ensure it was properly done? Would he have missed seeing any doubling? Yet SPP-Ottawa and a few others actually believe that no one else but a few CCRS members could examine a 150 year old coin with a loupe, and spot something like a double 9. They even see this as having great monetary value.
Also for the record, out of the over 15,000 coins and sets listed in the most recent Brookstone price guides, less than 50 of them (and this is a generous over estimate) came from (or were inspired by) the CCRS site. I say inspired because some ‘discoveries’ often required much more work to finalize a description, or there were errors in what was posted. Compare that to the over 500 submittals of coins given over the years by over a dozen collectors that are now listed in these guides, in which not one of these collectors asked to have his name mentioned. Why didn’t they ask? Because a normal mature person doesn’t need to be praised for ‘discovering’ information such as this. To these honest minded people, its about the coin and not about how ‘great’ one is to have ‘discovered’ something on a coin previously held and seen by many other collectors over the decades of time.
Prior to a few coins being listed (from the CCRS website) in the Brookstone price guides, the consensus voiced by users of that site was that all other listing sources are way too slow in adding anything new, and that this was a drag on the hobby. And once these and others finally got what they wanted, what did a few CCRS users do? They bashed it using the excuse that their name wasn’t included. But the complaint only applies to Brookstone books. No other books or lists are affected.
SPP-Ottawa, after claiming that Brookstone Publishing failed to give ‘proper credit’ to what no other price guide gives credit to, also said that Brookstone Publishing took advantage of the RCNA library without giving proper credit. Yet ALL the Brookstone books have always listed the Canadian Numismatic Association Library as an acknowledged source of information. Unless the word ‘Royal’ need to be added to the acknowledgement? Is RCNA different from CNA? So even when Brookstone Publishing gives credit, its not good enough for SPP-Ottawa.
Then SPP-Ottawa intimated that Brookstone Publishing “used photos that others had posted on the CCRS site”. But what does this mean? Is looking at an image using it? If he means copying it into a publication, then his claim of using photos from the CCRS site without the permission of its owner, is outright false. Not one image was ever used in that way from the CCRS site or any other site or source. As for any images supplied by others in the three illustrated reference guides published by Brookstone Publishing, they all have accreditation provided as requested by their respective owners. There is only one exception. Out of the over 1500 images in one publication, there are 3 or 4 images of counterfeit coins that were offered for sale on ebay. These counterfeit images were used without the permission of their owners. And so far there have been no complaints from the seller(s) of those counterfeits. As it is, the use of these images falls under copyright fair use, which allows limited use of copyright material if it benefits the public. These images would also be viewed as factual material as opposed to creative material, where copyright protection generally doesn’t apply.
But the real question that has never been answered is – why doesn’t SPP-Ottawa indicate which photo(s) he believes has been used? Why can’t SPP-Ottawa post an image of what he claims was copied – side by side with the image found in any one of these illustrated reference guides – so that he can prove his claim? How hard can this be? Instead of doing the right thing, SPP-Ottawa made a false and defamatory claim as this takes no effort. But he has done this sort of thing to others. As for images being posted from the CCRS site to other sites, many images have been posted on the coincommunity site that came from other sites (just as they were posted from other sites onto the CCRS site), yet SPP-Ottawa ignores that. If this sounds like a double standard, its because it is.
As for Brookstone’s books being published for ‘profit’, as far as I can tell, all other coin price guides, illustrated reference guides, coin magazines and so on are ALL published for profit. And some at much higher prices than the Brookstone books despite having far less useful information. SPP-Ottawa even lists and sells coins on ebay – all for profit. How come? Does this sound like another double standard – only a very prejudicial one?? And it can be added that what little information was obtained from the CCRS website from about 10 years ago, for the no more than 50 coins (mostly Victorian 1 cent coins), the monetary value of that information is probably near zero (despite SPP-Ottawa’s misconception that it has great financial value). In reality, the greatest interest collectors have in Canadian coins are with those dated from 1937 onwards, followed by NCLT coins.
As for SPP-Ottawa’s postings on CCRS, he left in anger after the webmaster deleted certain of his posts and others that were defamatory regarding a dealer that supported the CCRS website and the TOREX coin show and auction. But the webmaster only did that after many other similar such situations, as he finally had enough. These defamatory posts brazenly violated the posting rules of the site, that anyone wishing to post on the site agreed to when they signed up. But SPP-Ottawa and a few others persisted in disregarding those rules even in the face of repeated warnings from the webmaster to desist. This came to a head in mid 2011. Now over 8 years later, SPP-Ottawa continues to berate that webmaster for trying to enforce his very reasonable rules. Yet just a few years prior to 2011, this small group had praised the CCRS webmaster for his outstanding contributions to the hobby, even going so far as to give him a special award they had made for him. Now how does one flip from gushing adulation to vicious hatred so easily? Apparently, it would seem that all the praise given by this group to the CCRS webmaster, had little substance. And later, when this webmaster refused to do their bidding, they turned on him. I stopped posting there in mid 2008 due to the relentless negativity and dishonest bashing that I had to personally deal with, despite working hard to post helpful information for collectors. And posting that information was far more work than simply posting an image of a feature like a double 9. Despite the effort this took, not one from this group had anything good to say about those posts. Although a few others outside this group did. How come? Other CCRS users had a similarly negative experience. This is what one said in mid 2008:
“Many no longer post here and/or have quietly left for that and other reasons. I remember asking someone (no, I won't name him) an innocent question. He blasted me with both barrels, even going as far as to search all my past posts, basically informing me that they didn't meet his standards, whatever they were.”
Three years later, by mid 2011, the CCRS discussion forum had degenerated into a regular slam-fest. It seemed like some form of addictive entertainment to that small group that promoted it all. Unfortunately, the affect was harmful to the hobby. A few even posted saying how disgusted they were with it all, and that they were leaving the hobby. You can be sure many more did the same thing without having said anything about it. Yet that has never concerned SPP-Ottawa. And instead of accepting responsibility for what he and the others did or contributed to, then as now, he has made himself and the others out as the victim. But the real victims are the hobby and all those that got unduly slammed. There is much more that can be said about all this, but that may be for another day. I have come to realize that no amount of proof, facts, common-sense, reason, logic, truth or discussion will change how they think and act as they are not motivated by such. There is no cure for this kind of mentality. Unfortunately, some actually believe everything these ones say. Although far more people see them for what they are, and just avoid them. After SPP-Ottawa became a moderator on coincommunity, many stopped posting there. Even now the posting there is noticeably less than what it used to be.
Discuss about everything else here.
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