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Subject: Collection assessment

Collection assessment

From: Sally Sally Shelton <libsdnhm>
Date: Monday, March 7, 1994
With regard to the assessment of natural history collections in general
and entomology collections in particular, I have been part of several
surveys and have yet to see one in which the monetary value was assessed
by the surveying conservator. Part of that, of course, is ethical
concerns, and part of it is the absence of a value for these
collections. Most of the funding agencies I know of would be far more
interested in the scientific and historical value. My understanding is
that you don't give appraisals and whether or not your even give
referrals for appraisals is a hot topic. But I've never seen a situation
in which the financial value of a systematics collection was a funding
issue--and I work with collections that have high legitimate AND
black-market values.

I would say that, for an appraisal, you should contact someone who is
certified to do that for tax or insurance purposes. There aren't many of
those in natural history, though there are a lot of self-appointed
people out there. Try Allen & Associates in Los Angeles for insurance
referrals and either Richard Fullington at the Dallas Museum of Natural
History or Rick Casagrande in San Antonio, Texas, for referrals for tax
values. You shouldn't be asking one single person for both a collections
survey/assessment and an appraisal.

All you non-natural history people: this is a new issue in natural
science collections, which have traditionally avoided monetary
appraisals or have had no market value for their specimens. How do you
handle appraisal requests?

Sally Shelton Collections
Conservation Specialist
San Diego Natural History Museum

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:64
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 9, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-64-003
Received on Monday, 7 March, 1994

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