Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why I Love eBay

My ambition to visit the Cloisters, the medieval annex of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, has finally been achieved this month. I'll have more to post about that, but before I do, this was a nice prelude. A week or two before departure, I came across this item on eBay... a facsimile of a famous illuminated book owned by the Cloisters.

It was priced at $9.95, plus postage. In my experience, $25.00 is a floor for illuminated manuscript facsimiles on the used market. That is to say, they don't appear to be priced at less than t
hat in a used bookstore that has a clue. And at that price, I would typically buy one that I didn't have on the spot, just on general principles.

On eBay, however, the rules are different. The seller must surely have supposed he would get more bids than this, and I'm not sure why they didn't... but I expect it is related to the fact that the seller didn't use the words "illuminated" or "manuscript" or "medieval". The words "Cloisters" and "facsimile" do appear, but only the latter would have drawn much attention from anyone but me at that moment (my search was on "Cloisters", of
course). The word "Apocalypse" was misspelled in the offer. At any rate, I was the only bidder, and here we are. An auspicious find.