There have been some posts in the PAPY-L list alluding to the fact that back in November the Bodmer Foundation in Geneva sold two of its priceless papyrus codexes in order to raise funds. The two were mss. 14 and 15, which together are numbered p75 date from the early 3rd century, and contain the gospels of Luke and John. They were sold to a ‘private collector’; a term that brings sweat to the brow of anyone who followed the Gospel of Judas saga. Fortunately the Vatican Library stepped in and bought them in March with the assistance of some folks in Alabama. Some details here.
This sort of thing makes everyone nervous. I infer from it that the Bodmer foundation is not financially stable, and therefore that this will happen again. I would myself feel much less nervous if these manuscripts had been digitally photographed and were freely accessible online. While they are not, this sort of thing is bad news.
This week also the National Library of Scotland suffered an accident with its sprinkler system, soaking various parts of the collection, although apparently without permanent loss. I don’t know the NLS policy on digital photography, but again this highlights how vulnerable our great collections are.