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Selling of a private museum collection

  1. May 11, 2015 #1


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    Gold Member

    Anyone here into either
    • museum-curating
    • educational curriculum enrichment or
    • ebay for specialized items?
    I have a teacher friend who has a large private museum collection (tens of thousands of pieces, mostly geology and paleontology) who is retiring the museum and wishes to sell.

    She has thought of a number of ways to pass on this legacy, including inviting other collectors for viewings, selling it off in pieces on eBay, etc. So far insufficient interest has been generated. It seems this new electronic virtual age has little use for hands-on experiences with our natural world.

    I'd like to pick your brains for ideas we haven't thought of yet.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Your friend could simply donate it to the Smithsonian or Natl Museum of Natural History and then it might become as the Mrs X collection.

    Perhaps it could be given to a college and/or passed on as a legacy to her surviving relatives.

    EDIT: Perhaps donating isn't what you're looking for perhaps approaching them to see if they are interested in appraising it and buying it whole or in pieces.

    One other sticking point Is your firend sure that none of the pieces have come from federal lands?

    There was the documentary recently about the near perfect T-Rex that was discovered. The discoverers were accused of entering Indian lands to find it and then later the landowner whom they paid a few thousand to, laid claim to it and won in court. It got sold for quite an amount of money and the discoverers got peanuts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_(dinosaur [Broken])
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  4. May 11, 2015 #3


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    That ... is an interesting notion. I'd not thought of that. (She might, but I had not.) It would actually fulfill her primary desire, which is to see the collection go to a good home. There is most definitely a very large emotional component here.

    I believe my friend is, indeed, aware of that case, and its implications
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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