[Taxacom] holotype for sale

Yves Samyn yves.samyn at naturalsciences.be
Tue Sep 11 22:30:14 CDT 2007

Dear colleagues,

With some amazement, I read the thread of messages related to a  
holotype (or even several) that has been offered for sale.

Obviously thanks for your insights, but have we collectively  
forgotten that selling type (and non type alike) series used to be /  
still is common practice? Several naturalists made their living like  
that; think alone of AR Wallace and C. Semper...

In short, two points:
- even though the present case does not warrant our support; only the  
medium (through eBay) seems to have changed.
- codes of nomenclature do not mind on where exactly types are  
deposited; as long as they are accessible to the (scientific) public  
for further study.


Yves Samyn
Belgian GTI NFP

On 12 Sep 2007, at 05:07, Ken Kinman wrote:

> Hi Neal,
>     Well, those are two really huge "IFS".  But just for the sake  
> of argument, whatever Buckley did with the money is probably not  
> quite as important as the fact there is no telling whether someone  
> rich enough to buy it at $100,000 would squirrel it away as a  
> private "show-and-tell piece" (not available to further scientific  
> study) or donate it to a museum.
>     Anyway, I can't imagine that any reputable journal would ever  
> again publish anything connected with Buckley again, especially if  
> new taxa were involved.  I really would be interested to know if  
> the Botanical Code has anything to say about such an outrageous  
> sale of not one, but three holotypes.  Would these three species  
> and genera still be valid if the only specimens weren't available  
> for further scientific study?
>   ----Ken
> ********************************
>> From: Neal Evenhuis <neale at bishopmuseum.org>
>> To: "Ken Kinman" <kinman at hotmail.com>
>> CC: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] holotype for sale
>> Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 16:27:22 -1000
>> At 2:20 AM +0000 9/12/07, Ken Kinman wrote:
>>>      This is even more outrageous that I first thought.  All  
>>> three specimens
>>> in this fossil are apparently not only new species, but new  
>>> genera.  You
>>> would get three holotypes in one.  I'd be tempted pay $100 myself  
>>> just to
>>> get such a specimen to a public institution, but I get the  
>>> impression EBAY
>>> expects a minimum bid of $100,000.  Besides, I don't understand  
>>> why Buckley
>>> would advertize the specimen under the name of the hyperparasite  
>>> (spelled
>>> correctly or not) rather than the mushroom anyway.
>>>      I truly find it hard to believe that Poinar had any part in  
>>> this
>>> attempted sale.  The whole thing sort of reminds me of the  
>>> Keystone cops.
>>> It would actually be funny if it weren't so ridiculous.
>> So, the chances seem extremely remote that someone will bid  
>> $100,000 for a mushroom and two other tiny organisms, thus the  
>> fossil remains with Buckley. However (and not necessarily  
>> condoning this, but call me curious) ...
>> ... if someone is willing to actually bid the $100,000 (or more)  
>> and Buckley gives that $$ to further taxonomy somewhere (although  
>> from the tone of this discussion I think most of us are assuming  
>> he'd keep the money to further his nursing profession, buy some  
>> really cool photographic equipment, or buy more amber), would we  
>> quibble??
>> -Neal
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