It is often assumed that there is a necessary relationship between historical value and irreplaceability, and that this is an essential feature of historical value’s distinctive character. Contrary to this assumption, I argue that it is a merely contingent fact that some historically valuable things are irreplaceable, and that irreplaceability is not a distinctive feature of historical value at all. Rather, historically significant objects, from heirlooms to artifacts, offer us an otherwise impossible connection with the past, a value that persists even in the face of suitable replacements.
Matthes, Erich Hatala. "History, Value, and Irreplaceability," Ethics, Vol. 124, No. 1 (October 2013), University of Chicago Press, p. 35-64. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/671389