Someone asked me, in passing, a question that I've never considered, but might be of importance to medievalists and those who love them this Xmas*: How reliable are the medieval antiques sold on e-Bay?
I think the person asking was more interested in the idea of authenticity -- in other words, if I buy a medieval spearhead, will it really be a medieval spearhead, or will it be something made in the garage to look medieval?
To his question, I add this: Are you likely to run into things being fenced? Are some of the leaves of medieval manuscripts sold there "liberated" from not-so-carefully-monitored MSS with the use of an exacto knife?
Obviously, on e-Bay it's going to depend on the seller, since the site itself exercises minimal oversight on the products sold there, but I wonder if folks out there have cautionary tales or simple tips for telling the good from the bad?
*I've decided to Xmas rather than Christmas on the Wordhoard this season. After all, medievalists should know that abbreviating "Christ" to X is a sign of reverence in medieval manuscripts -- so why not on medieval blogs too?