Names of birds / stars for sale

Thu Apr 4 13:02:24 CST 1996

Dear All,

   Thank you for the many responses I got on my query about
the purported auction of the name of a new vireo (bird).

  A few things can be noted:

   No correspondent has yet cited the name, author, publication
for the new vireo. So, has it been published or is this part of
urban mythology?

  The case of selling names of stars was raised:

  There was a note in a Sunday paper in Leiden last year
that a 'clever salesman' is selling stars for Dfl. 500 a piece
for which you may name a star whatever you please and get an
official certificate and entry in a Swiss 'Great Starbook'.
A Leiden astronomer was cited that such a book does not exist,
and that there is no instance in Switzerland that lists all
new star names.

  No reference was received to Paul Fryxell's paper on
Very personal names (nomina perpropria): a contribution to
whimsical botany. Sida 10 (1983) 95--102. Here a list is
given of generic names incorporating given name and surname
like Ivanjohnstonia. A collector's item for those interested
in nomenclatural oddities.

JeF Veldkamp
Rijksherbarium / Hortus Botanicus
POB 9514, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
tel. + 31 (0) 715 27 35 49  --- fax. + 31 (0) 715 27 35 11

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