"It's not every day that you have the opportunity to buy a 600-year-old cookbook. It's even rarer that the ancient handwritten recipes detail how to create the Philosopher's Stone - essential in transforming base metals into gold. So it's hardly a surprise that James R. Voelkel, rare-book curator at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut St., was intrigued to learn that Joost R. Ritman's Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, an Amsterdam library of philosophical arcana and "secrets," might bring a number of manuscripts to the market."
This is exciting news for the Chemical Heritage Foundation, but as a librarian and archivist, I'm extremely sorry to learn that the BPH is apparently going forward with plans to sell off its unique materials. Even if they go to other libraries, rather than into private hands, the dispersal of those items is a real loss to researchers.