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Valuing Your Collection: A practical guide for museums, libraries and archives


This book addresses the issue of valuing objects in cultural collections, ranging from high-value to low or no-value and featuring a range of collections including fine art, archives, science and photography. Practical advice is given on how to assign values and best practice examples are drawn from museums, libraries and archives.
The subject of valuation has always been challenging for museums and public collections and is becoming more urgent as monetary values of many items continue to break records. There is an increase in lending, with more loans requiring a value for insurance. Cultural collections and exhibitions are expanding to all corners of the world, while, at the same time, lenders are becoming more risk-averse. Valuing Your Collection will address the issues and offer some solutions.
Content covered includes:

  • questions of valuing public and private cultural collections
  • assigning values to individual objects or an entire collection
  • legal and ethical considerations
  • discussion of authentication and attribution
  • the insurance business and valuation
  • guides to valuing different types of collections
  • a range of case studies showing valuation across multiple sectors
  • sample templates with criteria for valuing different objects.

This book will be useful for curators of cultural collections, professionals in museums, libraries and archives, cultural heritage students, private collectors, those involved with art insurance, art business and anyone requiring practical guidance on valuation.

1. Introduction 2. The difficulty of valuation 3. Law and ethics 4. Insurance 5. Alternatives to insurance 6. Valuing your collection 7. Valuing an entire collection 8. Assigning a value Case studies: valuing different types of objects Templates Appendix 1: UK Government valuation of cultural items Appendix 2: European Report, Valuation of Works of Art for Lending and Borrowing Purposes Appendix 3: Glossary

Freda Matassa FRSA MA (Hons) DipAL DipEd is a well-known UK expert on collections management who advises, teaches and lectures internationally. Currently Director of Matassa Toffolo, a museum-standard art consultancy, former Head of Collections Management at Tate Galleries and co-founder of the European Registrars Conference, she is expert adviser on several European projects for museum standards and to the Minister of Culture on Immunity from Seizure. She was named one of the Top 50 Women to Watch in the arts and is the author of Museum Collections Management (Facet, 2011) and Organizing Exhibitions (Facet, 2014).

It is an eminently readable book and highly recommended for all professionals working in museums, libraries and archives as well as collectors and anyone involved in art business.

Information Professional

'I recommend this book to any curator, archivist, and rare books librarian who must address not only the cultural value of collections but the ethical and realistic issues regarding the monetary value of our cultural materials.'
- Anastasia S. Varnalis-Weigle, Asst. Professor, University of Maine/August

Maine Archives & Museum Newsletter

'Freda Matassa's book breaks down what can be a complicated and anxiety producing task for custodians into manageable stages... I would very much recommend this book to all custodians of a heritage collection. The examples are contemporary and very relevant, as are the case studies and templates, making this an incredibly helpful guide for those who are considering valuations, loans and insurance. '- Claire Marsland, Catholic Archives

Catholic Archives

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