I have already written that maths does not seem to be a precise science in the Green household. Now there is a new account that does not balance. I was informed via email by the curator of the Green papyri, Josephine Dru, that the collection counts about 1,000 papyrus fragments, mostly of documentary nature. But I read in the Brill webpage announcing the forthcoming edition series that
“The Green Collection contains over 50,000 items, and now holds nearly 15,000 papyri acquired from private collections in Europe, and continues to grow. The collection is approximately 70% Greek, 15% Coptic and 15% late Egyptian.”
This was written in August 2012, when Indiana Scott Carroll was still on board, and we know that Scott tended to exaggerate. At the moment there is an unbalance of 14,000: can we have the numbers straight?
That European private collections sold 15,000 papyri from 2009 to 2012 (i.e. from the year when the Green family started collecting to the publication of the Brill webpage) is also striking, but not for Brill, it appears. I have already asked for transparency on acquisition circumstances, but without much success so far.
Update, 8 July 2014: Josephine Dru, curator of the Green papyri, has kindly confirmed me via e-mail that 1,000 is the correct number of pieces in the collection. It remains striking to me that 1,000 pieces were sold on the antiquities market in just three years.