Value of a herbarium specimen

Harvey E. Ballard, Jr. hballard at STUDENTS.WISC.EDU
Thu Jan 30 16:06:29 CST 1997

I was talking with Sue Thompson, Collections Manager at Carnegie Museum,
when I was doing research there a few weeks ago, about how much a single
herbarium specimen cost to mount, accession, computerize and maintain it,
apart from any inherent value of the collection itself.  They calculated
approximately $13 apiece for the sheet with specimen(s), if I recall our
conversation correctly.  The value of the specimen itself would then be
added to the cost of the specimen, of course.  A modest-sized but certainly
respectable herbarium of 100,000 specimens, each of which might be assumed
to have an inherent scientific value of ca. $7 on average (hence a total
value of $15 per sheet) would be hypothetically worth around $1,500,000.
How should the department and higher-level administration treat and support
such an investment, Hmmmm?

Harvey Ballard


Harvey E. Ballard, Jr.
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Horticulture Department, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison WI 53706
Tel: (608) 262-0159; FAX: (608) 262-4743
Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin Herbarium, Botany Department
132 Birge, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Tel: (608) 262-2792
email: hballard at

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