Message to purchasers of papyri on eBay from "Writing and the Mind of Man" (mjgreyfarr) store

from Robert A. Kraft, University of Pennsylvania (15 June 2007)

<>Now that the largescale sale of papyri on eBay seems to be over, I'm preparing a report to be given at the International Congress of Papyrology's forthcoming meeting in Ann Arbor MI in August [see web address below]. I've made several purchases myself, monitored the sales, and collected the eBay images, since November 2005, and am attempting to reconnect images of pieces that were cut or torn apart prior to the sales. Nevertheless, I am missing information and images on most purchases made between January 2005 (when the papyri began to be offered) and October 2005, including some important cartonnage painting.

The point of this note is to determine
<> As far a I can determine, there was nothing illegal about the sales, although from the viewpoint of an academic papyrologist such as myself they were unfortunate, since they have distributed potentially valuable materials to literally hundreds of private collections that are not likely to be available for scholarly study. But preserving the images will be useful -- e.g. for possible inclusion in the Advanced Papyrological Information System [APIS; see web address below] -- and some purchasers will themselves make their pieces available for scholarly research.

For further information, see the Papyrology Congress circular, and the APIS homepage:

Thank you for your consideration.

<>Bob Kraft
Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies
University of Pennsylvania

kraft AT