WATERVILLE, Maine — It is a bargain hunter’s dream.
A 24-year-old man looking for a cake mixer at an estate sale in Maine on Sept. 3 found something worth a lot of dough -- a framed page of parchment more than 700 years old. Academics confirmed the item as a page from The Beauvais Missal, used in the Beauvais Cathedral in France and dating to the late 13th century, The Maine Monitor reported.
An expert on manuscripts said the document, bought for $75, could be worth as much as $10,000, according to The Associated Press.
Will Sideri was walking through a home in Waterville when he saw a framed item on the dining room wall, according to the Monitor. The page had elaborate Latin script, musical notations in gold, blue and red script, and looked like something he had seen while taking manuscript classes at nearby Colby College.
The sticker said “1285 AD.”
Sideri texted his former professor, Megan Cook, with a photo.
“I have a question for you. I think this might be real,’’ he told the Monitor about his text to Cook.
“I said, ‘Wow, that looks familiar,’” Cook told the newspaper.
Sideri went home and returned with a check. Cook sent the photo to fellow academic Lisa Fagin Davis, who was attending a University of Michigan football game and initially could not open the photograph because phone users at the 107,000-seat stadium were eating up bandwidth.
But within a few hours, Davis, the executive director of the Medieval Academy of America and a professor of manuscript studies at Simmons University in Boston confirmed that the parchment was the real deal, the AP reported.
“Seventy-five dollars is a RIDICULOUS price, really unheard of in recent memory,’’ Davis wrote in a Facebook message to the Monitor. “The dream!”
Davis told the newspaper that the intact missal was once owned by former newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, who sold it in 1942. She said she has been piecing together the scattered leaves of the missal for several years and has written about her quest and the detective work of others.
Davis said more than 114 pages of the 309-page missal have been located at other estate sales, old barns, museums and basements.
“This stuff just shows up at the craziest places,’’ Davis told the Monitor.
Sideri, who works at the Colby College admissions office, said he has no plans to sell his rare find.
“I have something very vintage,” he told the newspaper. “Like 1285 vintage.”
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