Valuing your Collection

Sep 2017 | 288pp

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Valuing your Collection
A practical guide for museums, libraries and archives

Freda Matassa

This book will address the issues around valuing objects in cultural collections, ranging from high-value to low or no-value, including practical advice on how to assign values and examples 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 and borrowing, meaning more loans which require a value for insurance, whilst recent government initiatives such as Lifetime Giving mean that donations to the nation need to have a monetary value for tax purposes.

At a time when loans and exhibitions are expanding to all corners of the world, while lenders are becoming more risk-averse, Valuing your Collection will address the issues and offer some solutions.

Content covered includes:

  • issues around the valuation of public collections
  • assigning values to individual objects and valuing an entire collection
  • valuation law and insurance
  • examples from real life collections
  • guides to valuing different types of items.

Readership: Museum staff, cultural heritage students, librarians, archivists, private collectors and anyone who needs practical guidance on valuation.


List of figures and tables




1. The difficulty of valuation

2. Law and ethics

3. Insurance

4. Alternatives to insurance

5. Valuing your collection

6. Valuing an entire collection

7. Assigning a value

Case studies: valuing different types of objects


Appendix 1: UK Government valuation of cultural items

Appendix 2: EU 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. Former Head of Collections Management at the Tate Gallery 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).

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