I've been interested in the question of the "value" of insect collections for a while in order to better estimate the value of a collection manager (and convince an institution of their value). Here is my cascade of thought:


1. A mounted labeled specimen has some value (a). (Apparently $4!)


2. A specimen, identified to species by the collection manager has value (a + b).


3. A specimen, identified to species by an expert has value (a + c), where c is more than b.


4. A specimen described as a new species that becomes a holotype or paratype has value (a + d), where d is more than c.


A collection manager will do lots of 1, less but still plenty of 2, a little of 3 and 4, but will FACILITATE a lot of 3 and 4.


I know "value" is a very fuzzy term (but so is everything in economics) but some simple math can show how important a collection manager can be.


Simply mounting and labeling 5000 specimens per year at $4 each is $20,000 worth of "value".


If ID of a species by an expert is a value of $20 per species (I've seen consultants ask for $100 for each identified species) and increases the value of each specimen by $4, then ID of 100 specimens of 10 species would increase the "value" of the collection by $600.  Do that five times with five experts a year = $3000.


We haven't talked about databasing (I saw an estimate that every specimen in a database represented $1 of value), or value associated with a specimen that has been used in a publication.


Even still, I think we can very quickly see that any collection manager that is facilitating specimen identification and description (= sending loans) may be contributing a lot (maybe even more than their salary!) to the "value" of the collection. So a good collection manager doesn't just represent a "cost of maintenance" to a museum, but is an investment that can increase the value of the museum.


If we had "real" numbers for the values above (a–d) we would be better off justifying the "expense" of collection managers.


I REALLY DON'T LIKE having to think in these terms, but that is the system that we're stuck with.




On Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 1:09 PM, Chris Fall <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Doug,


No worries about the pricing.  Our web site is back up.


We have over 12,000 insect/arthropod cataloged items on the website that can be referenced for tax purposes if that helps anyone.






Christopher J. Fall

V.P. – General Manager

BioQuip Products, Inc.


From: Doug Yanega [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 10:06 AM
To: Chris Fall; [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: valuation of insect collections


On 2/28/17 9:50 AM, Chris Fall wrote:

Hello to All,


Just a note for clarification, BioQuipBugs does not list any of our insect specimens for less than $4.00.  This may have some bearing on your calculations for tax purposes.


Ahh, apologies, I tried to get on the website, and it was down, so I was going on memory.


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

Michael L. Ferro
Collection Manager, Clemson University Arthropod Collection (CUAC)
Dept. of Plant and Environmental Sciences
MAIL: 277 Poole Agricultural Center
OFFICE: 307 Long Hall
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0310
Subject Editor: The Coleopterists Bulletin; Insecta Mundi