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Membership of the BNTA

Chard Coins, incorporating R.& L. Coins were a member of the BNTA from its inception in 1973 until 2008 inclusive.

About the BNTA
The British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA) was founded in 1973 after a number of meetings among senior members of the coin trade following the introduction of V.A.T. (Value Added Tax). The special arrangements pressed for by members of the antiques trade generally were successfully introduced. Dealers then needed more effective methods of stock control - a discipline which in turn made the availability of coins more easily publicised.

Since those days the BNTA has grown from a small group, dominated by the major London dealers, into a body of over 70 firms throughout the British Isles.

The BNTA has a distinctive logo which members are encouraged to use on their business stationery and in their advertisements. Regular readers of the numismatic press can therefore spot the advertisements of BNTA members more easily.

The BNTA has been an effective voice in the fight against forgery, another topic of major concern particularly in the early 1970's, and in establishing standards in the domestic coin trade. Members receive early warning notices of counterfeit coins and stolen property.

The BNTA is governed by a Council of nine elected by the membership. Three members of Council retire each year, but are eligible for re-election. The Officers of the Association are elected by the Council each year.
Day-to-day administration is handled by the General Secretary to whom all correspondence, enquiries or complaints should be sent.

Membership of the BNTA is restricted to dealers in numismatic goods who are based in the UK and the British Isles and registered for VAT. Applicants need to be sponsored by two existing members and have to agree to abide by a Code of Ethics. All members are subject to annual review to ensure that standards are maintained for the benefit of dealers and collectors alike. Membership application forms are available from the General Secretary and interested dealers should apply using their business letterhead.

Membership is nor currently extended to dealers based outside the British Isles or to part time dealers or collectors.

Coin Fairs
The BNTA organises the only major International Coin Fair held in Britain, Coinex, which takes place each October at the London Marriott Hotel. About 50 BNTA dealers together with many leading dealers from overseas take part each year. Coinex is open all day Friday and Saturday. There are a number of special features each year making this a fair which dealers and collectors alike should not miss.

1982 saw the introduction of Coinex North as a three day event in Manchester during April, and this has become an annual feature. In 1990 it was held in York, and from 1991 to 1995 in Harrogate. In 1996 Coinex North became Coinex Wales held in Cardiff. Although smaller than the London Coinex, this show provides collectors with an opportunity to meet dealers they might otherwise only know through correspondence.

Members of the BNTA Council meet with representatives of Customs & Excise to discuss aspects of VAT including import and export procedures. A further group maintains contact with the Department of National Heritage and the British Museum for discussions on export licensing requirements and treasure trove laws. Another sub-committee meets with senior representatives of the Royal Mint, and keeps in touch with proposals for new issues.

The Council thoroughly investigates all complaints about a member whether from a collector or another dealer, and members must agree to be bound by the Council's decision. Anyone who is in dispute with a BNTA member is invited to write with details to the General Secretary of the BNTA.

The Membership Directory lists all BNTA members in both County and alphabetical order. It also indicates those members who have retail premises, and which are postal only. Brief details are provided of Members' specialities to assist collectors in locating those dealers who are most likely to be able to help them. Collectors should remember that the field of numismatics is vast and few dealers can offer a total range of expertise but within the Association there should be at least one member who can help a collector on any topic.

The BNTA, as an association, cannot identify coins or give opinions as to their authenticity or value; neither can it give advice on what a collector should collect. Collectors should seek the assistance of individual members on these matters.

Early Warning Reports
The BNTA operates an early warning system to alert dealers, both in the U.K. and overseas, of stolen property and counterfeits.
As soon as a theft has occurred, please telephone the General Secretary in the first instance. Then prepare a detailed list of the stolen items, preferably typed, and send it to the General Secretary by post, fax or e-mail. The name and telephone number of the police station handling the case must also be included.
This is a free service although if the lists are extensive a contribution towards costs may be sought.

Chard & the BNTA
As stated at the start of this page, Chard were members of the BNTA for 36 years from 1973 to 2008. During this time, we met or exceeded the BNTA's ethical standards, and still do so. It would be hard to imagine a dealer meetings these standards for 36 years without being ethical, and we have not changed our policies recently.
In 2009, the BNTA Council, for reasons best, or only known to themselves, decided not to invite us to renew our membership in 2009. Apparently the BNTA Articles of Association allow them to do so, and do so without giving any reason. We believe this is a shortcoming of its Articles, which should be reconsidered and revised. As they stand, even if they are legally watertight, we believe they give power and responsibility to the Council which may or may not be matched by its wisdom and judgement. Perhaps a sensible arrangement would be for the Council to obtain ratification of its decisions by a democratic vote by its members. In this event, it could allow the member in question to submit a defence to the ordinary members.

The fact that the BNTA Council have chosen to hide behind the "without giving a reason" clause makes it slightly more difficult to defend ourselves. In time, we intend to publish a more complete account of events, decisions, and our opinions In the meantime, we have a thriving business to run. For the time being, we will place on record our opinion that the BNTA Council have shown poor judgement in coming to its decision about our continued membership. As stated above, we believe we actually exceed the ethical standards stated in their code in a number of ways.

Public Information
Our websites contain not only a sales catalogue of our current and past stocks, but also much information and advice. We also take the brave step of naming and shaming a number of dealers and other individuals for a variety of less than perfect practices. We believe this information is strongly in the public's interest, yet we observe very few examples of the BNTA or its current or other past members campaigning against these practices and their perpetrators. While we appreciate that individual members have no specific obligation to campaign for higher standards in numismatics (they all have businesses to run), we think the BNTA could take some initiative and publish advice pages which may or may not include naming and shaming where relevant.
We undertake our "name and shame" policy at a slight but important financial risk to ourselves. Whenever we criticise a fellow dealer, individual, company or website, we have to take great care to ensure that the information we present is true, and that we present and report facts fairly. Where we criticise a large and wealthy corporation, such as eBay for example, we place ourselves at some risk. Even though we try to ensure that all facts reported are accurate, and all opinions stated are fair and reasonable, any large, well-funded organisation could use its financial muscle unfairly and unjustly. If eBay decided to harass us, they could easily afford to spend say a million dollars or pounds in expensive lawyers, and we would be more or less forced to do the same or fold. It's rather like playing a high stake poker game, the player with the best cards may not always win, and statistically, assuming all other things being equal, the player who starts with the most money is most likely to win.

Since becoming an ex-BNTA member, the BNTA quite rightly asked us to remove any claim on our part to be BNTA members, this we have done, although not necessarily as quickly as we could, or perhaps should, have done. We did think they may have reconsidered their decision.
They have further asked us to remove all the pages on our numerous websites which include references to the BNTA. We believe this is an excessive and onerous request. Firstly, many of the pages which include BNTA references are beneficial to the BNTA, giving it free advertising, and secondly, we maintain a policy of retaining all our web pages, but editing them as appropriate with the passage of time, and with changing events.
One of the BNTA Council's requests is for us to remove our BNTA Ethics page, claiming breach of copyright. We are inclined to resist this for a number of reasons including, inter alia, public interest, fair usage, and our belief that we exceed them, and to claim this without stating them would be rather nonsensical.
Our name and shame pages also include a number of BNTA members, and they seek to have these removed, arguing that we are trying to discredit the BNTA. We believe the members so named have themselves brought discredit on the BNTA, and believe they or the BNTA should rectify the situation. We further believe that our information published is accurate, fairly reported, and in the public interest.
At the same time that the BNTA were demanding we remove all references to them from our websites, we noticed that at least one of their pages still listed us as a member. The cropped screenshot shown on the right was taken on 13th November 2009. We presume it remained there even later, probably until they re-launched their website sometime later.

Gag Without Humour
One of the other requests from the BNTA is that we remove our beautiful photograph, as used as the top right of this page, of a 2006 selectively gold plated silver proof Britannia coin, claiming that it may mislead some readers to mistake and confuse it for the BNTA logo which is itself copied from the image of Britannia on various coins, and that it may mislead some members of the public to believe that we are still members. This is despite the fact that we clearly stated in its caption and also its "Alt tag" that it is "Not the BNTA Logo", and that we make quite clear that we are not current members. They acknowledge these facts but claim that some people may still be mislead. While there will will always be a small minority of people who believe the improbable, such as the earth being flat, being only 6,000 years old, or that the 1969 lunar landings were fictitious and filmed in a studio, we think that only a very small minority of people would be stupid enough to be mislead by any content of our web pages.
It appears that the BNTA Council do not have enough sense of humour to appreciate our small gag. Perhaps they are taking themselves a little too seriously. In the past, we have defended the BNTA against comments by at least one well known non-BNTA member dealer who described who describes them as having their heads in an anatomically impossible "dark place".

Silver Proof Britannia Coin versus BNTA Logo - Spot the Difference

Further Information
If you would like to order the next edition of the BNTA Membership directory, please contact the General Secretary enclosing a first class stamp.

BNTA British Numismatic Trade Association
Mrs R Cooke
Rye, East Sussex, PO Box 2, Rye East Sussex TN31 7SB
Tel: 01797 229988
Fax: 01797 229988

Not the BNTA Logo
Not the BNTA Logo

Screenshot of BNTA Website Page Captured 13th November 2009
Screenshot of BNTA Website Page Captured 13th November 2009


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