An odd distraction came up during the week, when somebody in England sent me a picture of a page of a manuscript that they had had in their possession for twenty years or so to ask me some questions about it. It was a liturgical sheet on paper with musical notation in the form of German hufnagelschrift. The odd thing was that it seemed to be an exact match in every way with a leaf I had acquired only a few months ago from the USA; not identical of course - it was a manuscript - but identical in script, notation and every decorative detail.
She emailed the dealer I had bought mine from, and he was equally sure that it was from the same manuscript as the one from which he had sold several leaves. There is nothing odd about the way manuscript leaves from the same book have fluttered around the world, having been split up and passed around at auction and through dealers. It does seem a large coincidence that they should be randomly reunited by email across the world.
The conversation we had, which involved references to various German websites displaying liturgical manuscripts, was reminiscent of several others I have had in which people somehow want their treasures to be older than they seem to be, and then claim that they have got the oldest whatever-it-is in captivity. Now I think paleographical dating may be a tad overrated, but I do think you go on some sort of Occam's razor principle. Or in modern parlance, if it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and swims like a duck it probably is not a highly advanced pterodactyl. Just mentioning it in case you think you have the earliest whatsit in the world in your little bottom drawer.