1.15.2015

Roberta Mazza on The new Sappho fragments acquisition history

Roberta is covering some of the same ground as my posts, but much more elegantly and both this and her earlier posts are highly recommended reading. Neither of us are making direct accusations, just raising the increasing catalogue of issues.

Galatians etc I've been on the trail of for years but Christians "saving" Christian fragments from 'nasty' "muslim countries" wasn't 'sexy' and Roberta is the one who made it so by linking those eBay fragments to the new Sappho ones by getting this info out of the Green collection:

The new Sappho fragments acquisition history: what we have learnt so far | Faces &Voices:
The new paper tells a different story. I understood that the version of events was going to be different, when David Trobisch, director of the Green collection, suddenly started to mention in conversations and emails that both the Coptic Galatians 2 and the Sappho fragments (all of them) had in their acquisition history files a Christie’s auction of 2011.
What interests me is that Eugenio Donadoni, a young "Specialist" at Christie's "was so kind to confirm via email that the source is that lot" - despite mistakenly also telling her (I assume he panicked and miss-wrote) that there were no images:
When I asked for images and documents relative to the 59 folders and
their content, he told me there aren’t any: the only record is the short
entry in the printed catalogue. Believe it or not, Christie’s has no
snapshot or any other form of catalogue file for the lot. When I raised
the point that this lack of documentation – which Mr Donadoni said is
not unusual – opens a breach in the acquisition history of ancient
artefacts, and is problematic for everybody from academics to
responsible collectors and dealers, Donadoni said they have budget
issues and too much work with too few personnel.
Hmm, odd as what I've been looking at make it difficult for me to work out how large fragments were hidden in the small fragments in the lots ... I guess I'm just being a dumb blonde again.

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