Monday, January 09, 2006

Civil War History on eBay at what price?

I love finding things on eBay as much as any one, however there is one thing that does concern me about seeing Civil War items up for bid. I have seen a lot of related civil war items broken up and sold on an individual basis. Case in point over the past week there have been a handful of items related to the 16th Maine up for bid as individual items. One of the items is a list of equipment the regiment lost at Gettysburg. Knowing the history of the 16th Maine at Gettysburg this document has some significance. My concern is that breaking up theses collections could scatter these links to the past all over the place. The danger is they could be lost forever. In a perfect world I would love to see every related collection of CW letters or related manuscript material kept together and sold as a group or at least before it is sold have the manuscript material photocopied and deposited with a historical institution.

I once was able to get a seller to make me photocopy of some letters related to my research once I explained to him my interest and before he broke up the collection. I don’t want to deny anyone the right to make a living or get a return on an investment I just get worried about how much history we can lose when profit is the only real concern.

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