After attending an estate sale to find kitchen equipment, a Maine 24-year old man bought a 700-yearold Christian Medieval document for just $75.
The man, Will Sideri, went to an estate sale in Waterville this month looking for a cake mixer but ended up purchasing a page from a Christian liturgy book that historians believe originated in Beauvais, France during the 13th century.
Sideri bought the leaf. It was marked at the auction as an “anonymous” “illuminated manuscript on vellum”According to Maine Monitor who first reported this story, it was 1285. Sideri paid $10,000 for the document, but it is worth more.
He says that he is not planning on selling the document and will keep it at his parent’s home for now. “This is something at the end of the day that I know is cool,”He stated. “I didn’t buy this expecting to sell it.”
He also looks forward to having something “vintage”To hang on his wall. “I have something very vintage. Like 1285 vintage,”Sideri added.
Sideri stated that he felt the document was valid and reached Megan Cook, his Colby College Professor. “I have a question for you. I think this might be real,’”He sent her a text message with a photograph of the manuscript.
“I said, ‘wow, that looks familiar,’” Cook said she told her former student. After contacting his former professor, Sideri left the sale to get a check to purchase the historic page.
Cook said on Twitter that she compared Sideri’s leaf with one held by Colby College, noting that the white vellum from Sideri’s leaf had been remarkably preserved in part because it had been framed since the 1940s.
Cook reached out to Lisa Fagin at Simmons University, Boston, about finding Latin text on the page. Fagin also serves as the executive director of The Medieval Academy of America.
According to her, the page came from a missal (a Christian liturgy and hymn book) that was once owned by William Randolph Hearst of New York, who also ran a huge newspaper empire. Hearst had sold the missal. Individual pages were removed and then sold to artifact buyers, who disseminated the manuscripts across the country.
Davis created an online site to help digitally rebuild the liturgy books. She works with others to collect images from pages found around the nation. The Maine Monitor reports that Davis found 114 pages of manuscripts from the original 309 pages.
“This stuff just shows up at the craziest places,’’ Davis said, referring to her efforts to locate the contents of the original book.
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