Report on Papyri B: July 1922

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A.E.R. Boak

September 1922

These papyri from the second and larger part of the whole collection, on the first part which I reported in June last. The total price asked for the whole collection was originally £3500, which Nahman has now reduced to £3250. This includes the £2325 asked for the first portion and £175 which Prof. Kelsey agreed to give for two waxed tablets (Nos. i and iv of Lot 10, below) if delivered in perfect condition and passed as genuine; thus the price for the second instalment, without the tablets, is £1000 on the original price, £750 on the revised one. As the second instalment is certainly the more valuable and indeed an unusually good collection, £750 is comparatively cheap, whereas £2325 for the first is quite exorbitant. Thus it will be better (apart from the waxed tablets, which have been the subject of special negotiations and are earmarked for Michigan) to ignore Nahman's prices altogether and fix separate prices for the single documents, having regard, on the one hand, to the total sum, and, on the other, to the intrinsic importance of each piece. As however the papyri of the first instalment are unusually well preserved and therefore probably cost Nahman much more than the others, so that his prices represent a higher actual monetary value, I have thought it well to price them higher proportionately than those of the second instalment. I have marked with a star papyri which seemed to me to be, or to be likely to prove, specially interesting; but the absence of a star is not necessarily to be taken as implying that a papyrus is of inferior value. The literary papyri have been examined and identified by Mr. H. J. M. Milne, the Coptic ones by Mr. Crum, the single Demotic one by Mr. A. H. Smith. Literary (including theological) papyri are marked with a large L in the margin. One or two documents I have copied and, if desired, should be glad to send transcripts for the use of the eventual editor. I may add in conclusion that even after the reduction by £250 and the pooling of the whole collection, the prices seem to me very high and it is only the great historical importance of the more outstanding pieces which justifies the purchase.

List and descriptions of the lots followed.

H. I. Bell.
British Museum

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