I was listening to the news on the radion on my way into work this morning, particularly the article about the new Roman period coin stash in Jersey, and a phrase caught my attention…
“a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University”
I thought that was a bit odd – how do you become a former expert? Is it like a position you apply for and then move onto another post? At first I thought it might be a mistake, with the BBC meaning that the expert was formerly at Oxford University, but has now moved on, or retired, or something. But no – I looked up the print article online a few minutes ago and it specifically says “Dr Philip de Jersey, a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University”. Now, not being in any way, shape or form a coin expert, or any kind of numismatist, I turned to the venerable Google to find out more about this gentleman.
Shire Publications: “Philip de Jersey was born and brought up in Guernsey, where he spent as much time as possible working on archaeological excavations. He graduated in Geography at Hertford College, Oxford, and remained there to complete his DPhil thesis on the late iron age period in north-west France. Since 1992 he has been employed at the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford to maintain and computerise the Celtic Coin Index, a detailed record of more than thirty thousand British Celtic coins.”
Hmm neither formerly interested in coins, nor formerly of Oxford. Unfortunately my Google fu is not strong today – too close to the end of term maybe? – but I can’t pick anything more up about him. Can’t see him on the Institute of Archaeology website, but that’s never definitive in my experience, and the CCI doesn’t seem to list those who work with it – just the history which doesn’t seem to go past 1992… Regardless of this, I still view the phrasing of the article as exceedingly odd, and not one that I would personally use, or indeed like being used about me. I can’t quite articulate why, just a feeling of almost dismissiveness about it. Then again, I am neither an expert nor an academic, no matter how much I wish I was! J