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In a message dated 96-12-14 17:50:59 EST, dunn1@mail.idt.net (Lawrence Dunn)

> An excellent point.  Would it work better if the eligible institution 
> held the fossil in trust for a set time, cleaning and examining it, and 
> then have thr right of first refusal, but if it passed on the option, the 
> fossil would be returned to the landowner for sale, any museum cleaning 
> costs being passed on to the purchaser (would would have had to pay this 
> cost anyway, I assume, unless fossils are generally sold uncleaned)?  
> This way, the fossil gets eyeballed and cleaned by the institution, and 
> then on to a colletor if not "important", or stays with the eligible 
> institution if valuable.  As an added bonus, the institution's cleaning 
> costs would be defrayed by the commerce in fossils.

In concept the idea of having museums get an opportunity to see and study
fossils is certainly one that would enhance general access to important
fossils, however I can see a lot of potential for abuse if the fossil "owner"
is forced to use any particular "cleaning service". For instance would he be
charged a fully loaded cost (unsually conatining a rather arbitrary overhead
charge) for the preparation? I could envision some high quality cleaning
services arising out of the "private sector" if such a market were