Monday 17 February 2020

Tom and Gabriel Get It Wrong... What Two Dealers "Knew".

Ancient Resources (Gabriel Vandervort) claims he knows what he's selling because his identifications are "backed by years of research". Like these "demotic papyri" from "the Holy Land" that were previously in the stock of dead dealer Tom Cederlind. They are being sold for about 300$ apiece. Mr Cederlind is not with us to explain where he got these papyri from, and why they are in such small pieces... Neither is he here with us to explain why small fragments of what seem to be South East Asian palm-leaf manuscripts in at least two different alphabets have been given a provenance right at the opposite corner of the continent. But no fear, there are at least three suckers who've been taken in by the seller's assurances and bought these little bits. If they'd looked on eBay (and actually knew something about what they were buying), they'd have found they can buy a whole intact manuscript for about the same (or less). But they did not, because they had not the foggiest idea what a papyrus fragment or demotic look like and because they were misled by this by someone who claims he does:
Ancient papyrus scroll fragment. Holy Land, c. 2nd-3rd century AD. Written in Demotic script. Ex-Tom Cederlind Estate, Portland, OR.
Now, actually almost every word of this is wrong:

Ancient - not really,
papyrus - not at all,
scroll - nope, they were read flat,
fragment - yes!
Holy Land - kidding? Israeli Buddhists?
c. 2nd-3rd century AD - Hmmm?
Written - yes!
in Demotic script - No!
Ex-Tom Cederlind Estate, Portland, OR. - who knows?

So what we are left with, what the dealer(s) actually knows is "written fragments" and that probably the late Tom Cederlind bought them somewhere, sometime and did not manage to flog them (as "ancient papyrus bits"?) before he died in December 2015.  The totally false "provenance" is thought-provoking.

Here's a whole one (240$)

Mr Vandervort needs immediately to update his website with the true information about what these fragments are to avoid accusations of cheating his customers through misrepresentation (both of the objects and his own 'expertise'). He does not need to thank me for pointing out his mistake. [This was published on 17th February 2020]

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