CHD Dismembered Manuscripts
Books of Hours sold as Single Leaves 2002-2006
Collecting fragments from eBay Sellers

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The trade with single leaves from dismembered medieval manuscripts has accelerated during the last years.
Many Books of Hours were sold as parts, whole gatherings of text, and single miniatures at various auction houses,
some were predominantly dispersed as single leaves on eBay.
Many of the dismembered manuscripts are rarely containing any information unknown to scholars, they are often poorly preserved, and their decoration is of an average artistic standard.
A few of the Books of Hours has, however, turned out to be of significant cultural and historical interest.
Discovery of such books with unrecorded contents would not have been possible, if some of the leaves not had passed a few skilled sellers who, in contrast to most other sellers in the past, regulary has supplied some fairly good pictures of the items.
Pictures have thus recorded and published documentation, that otherwise would have been lost forever. And thanks to jpegs of good quality has valuable information been brought to the attention of scholars.
Statistics from 2002-2005 has shown that prices obtained are direct proportional with the quality and resolution af the pictures displayed on the sellers web site.
For the student of manuscripts, online auctions have an interesting side-effect: anyone minded to do so can collect scores of the often high-quality photographs/scans that promote the sale of each leaf which, in theory, would allow the virtual reconstruction of the book and the creation of a complete digital facsimile.
Perhaps what are needed are individuals willing to take it upon themselves to collect and archive such images, or institutions willing to sponsor such work.
See: Cutting up manuscripts for ... profit.

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©2006-2007 Erik Drigsdahl & CHD Center for Håndskriftstudier i Danmark
Last update 18.02.2007
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