$ value of herbarium specimens

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Thu Jan 30 13:42:11 CST 1997

At 02:01 PM 01-30-97 EST, John Nelson wrote:
>TH 30 Jan 155p
>    I've just had a request for information from my Heritage Program
>buddies here in town, who are trying to figure out the dollar-
>sign worth of fully prepared, legitimate, accessionable herbarium
>specimens (that is, presumably of a phanerogam on a piece of
>herbarium paper) that would voucher some inventory work they are
>proposing. Way back when (the 80's), I remember the figure
>of $7 a specimen...is there a generally recognized value these days?
>Perhaps a citation is involved?

I would think this would vary tremendously, depending upon how much effort
was exerted in obtaining the specimen.  In terms of what it would cost to
mount an expedition (air fare, local transportation, per diem, supplies,
shipping, etc.) from (for example) Chicago to Madagascar or Nepal, specimens
from those areas might logically cost US$100 each or more; conversely, ones
from the forest preserve near my home might be vastly overvalued at US$7 per
(unless, of course, you are travelling there from Madagasacar or Nepal to
collect them!).

The way to calculate it is to figure what the expedition cost and divide by
the total number of sheets obtained, then add in man-hour wages at local
rates and cost of supplies to label and mount the specimens.  Even then,
you'll only have an estimate good to one order of magnitude.

In short, when asked, "How much does it cost?" the best answer is "Yes."

Thomas G. Lammers
Department of Botany                     Classification, Nomenclature,
Field Museum of Natural History          Phylogeny and Biogeography
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive       of the Campanulaceae
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at fmppr.fmnh.org
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317
fax:        312-427-2530

"... what could possibly be easier or more beautiful than 'Campanula'?  What
affectation more gratuitous and silly than 'bell-flower'?"  -- R. Farrer

More information about the Taxacom mailing list