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Re: Fossil Ownership

FOSSILNUT@aol.com wrote:

> 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?

My suggestion was that the buyer pay the cleaning costs, which would only
defray the overhead costs of the museum (and should probably be
tax-deductible for the buyer as supporting research -- a little incentive
from our friend Uncle Sam!). I see your concerns here, but wouldn't this
help the collector rather than hurt?  Now, if you buy a fossil, you pay a
price which includes whatever the seller thinks it's worth, fossil,
cleaning and all.  They don't break up the cost, do they? (I've never
bought a fossil, so don't know.)  But an itemized price gives the
consumer a better assessment of the discrete values of the fossil.  In
what I assume is a relatively small market, knowledge of cleaning costs
would prevent the institutions from inflating valuation of their costs.

By the way, those of you with access to the New York Times may want to
check today's paper for a full-length article on dinosaur fossil sales.
The photograph shows a Triceratops skull being sold to some Texan.