Monday, September 17, 2007

Church allows "one of the (financial) killings of the century"

The Times reports:

An historic collection of religious books whose sale for £36,000 was approved last year by a Church of England diocese has been sold on by a book dealer for more than £500,000.

The Diocese of Truro sanctioned a deal in September 2006 to sell hundreds of old Bibles and manuscripts from its library to John Thornton in a move to clear shelf space.

The decision to sell at such a low price has astounded antiquarian booksellers, who have described it as “one of the killings of the century”.

The fascinating bit of this story is this:

In 2004 the Truro diocesan board of finance approved plans by the trustees of the library to sell all the pre1800 volumes to a dealer. They failed to call in a recognised auction house to make a valuation. Instead, they invited a number of dealers to make offers.

..."failed to call in an auction house"...."invited dealers".....


How many times has one heard the story of the little old lady living alone who gets a call from a nice dealer in a lovely trilby hat and smart suit who takes a flattering interest in her antique bits and bobs and is most kind enough to offer her a very large sum of money in crisp £50 notes, there and then, for her wares?

This story is usually used to warn people not to let their precious antiques go to dealers but to do it through a recognised auction house.

Such a story is needed to warn unsuspecting members of the public.

One does not expect the Church of England to fall foul in such a situation. They are, after all, a professional organisation with full time staff paid to manage their assets.

....mutter...mutter...beggars belief...must have been born yesterday......

Legal action is being considered by the diocese involved, apparently.

Oh dear. I won't hold my breath. Caveat emptor works both ways.


  1. I’m not quite sure I understand you Paul. Why on earth would the Church be interested in making as much money as possible? Your kingdom is not of this world, right?

  2. It is right that we make full use of the gifts we have been given by God to spread his message as widely as possible. One of the strong messages of the gospels is that we are given the responsibility to ensure the prudent stewardship of God's gifts. Hence the references, for example, to Gordon Brown's childhood in the manse and the Presbytarian tradition of prudent financial management.

    Lovely to hear from you Laurence.

  3. Ahhh . . . I knew there would be a reason.

  4. Laurence you are so lovely - I want to have your babies!