Advice on Mineral Collection Disposal

Do you or a family member have a mineral collection that you wish to dispose of?

In days gone by the obvious first port of call might have been your local museum, or indeed a national institution if the collection was of sufficient importance, but this is unlikely to be the case nowadays.

There is a huge amount of emotional capital tied up in a collection of any sort and collections of mineral specimens are no different. Some collections will be an eclectic mix of things that simply pleased the owner, others will be more specialist and scientifically based. Standards of curation vary enormously and the perceived commercial value of any given specimen is affected not only by its quality and condition but also the curatorial information, labelling and other meta-data that may reside with it.

Where a specimen has particular importance, for example a first discovery for a locality or a particularly good example of a species, a museum may well be the destination of choice, but these days museums are struggling for resources, specialist staff are often in short supply and criteria for accession have become ever more stringent.

All too often when a collector has passed away and left no specific instruction to his family and heirs, collections are broken up, disposed of via a house clearance company with no specialist knowledge or worse still, simply dumped as hardcore.

I have been involved in a number of collection disposals for the spouses of collector friends over the past 20 to 30 years and will be happy to offer some impartial advice as to the likely best options for your particular circumstances. I have decided to add this page to the website partly as a service to the specimens themselves, because I do not like to see any worthwhile material simply thrown away, and partly because I recognise the pride and enjoyment that collectors derive from their collections. We owe it to the former owner to do the best we can to preserve their memory and to pass on as much relevant information with their specimens as we can.

In today’s digital connected world it is tempting to spend a few minutes surfing the internet and quickly to convince yourself that you must be sitting on a ‘goldmine’ but generally this will not be the case. Obtaining some informed advice before you decide on a course of action is the least you can do to respect the time and effort that has been lavished on a collection by its former owner.

If you feel in need of someone to talk to who can genuinely give you some impartial advice and a feel for what the sensible options are please feel free to get in touch via the contact page of this website,

Roy Starkey