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Valuation – suggested procedure

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You should have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when carrying out valuations. This suggested procedure is useful starting point. It is given as text and also as a workflow diagram. However you do it, your own procedure should meet the minimum requirements of the Spectrum standard.


Obtain a valuation, following your policy.

There are several other Spectrum procedures that might prompt the need for a new or updated valuation. Monitor and update valuations as required within the appropriate procedure. For example, the valuation of a borrowed item may fluctuate over the course of a loan period. Sources of valuation include curators, professional valuers and lenders.

You will need to agree a set of principles for valuing different types of object, such as:

  • Current ‘market value’ of comparable objects.
  • Original valuation or purchase price, adjusted for inflation.
  • Cost of conservation.
  • Cost of acquiring another comparable object (potentially including transport and other costs).

Valuations for conservation and repair can be a problem, and can be different from ‘market value’ (eg a ceremonial chair of small intrinsic value may be irreplaceable because of local associations: if damaged it may cost several times its value to restore).

The purchase price may have no direct relation to a valuation (eg a vendor may intentionally sell an object to you at less than its market value).


If the object is not your property, agree the valuation in writing with the owner.

This will become important in the event of any future dispute.


Record information about the valuation process.

This might include the following information about specific occasions when valuations were obtained:

Object identification information

Object entry information

Valuation information


Record the results of a valuation.

For each object, or group of objects, record the following information:

Object identification information

Object entry information.

Object valuation information


Secure and control access to valuation information.

For example, if you record valuation information in a computerised collections management system, make sure the relevant fields can only be seen by authorised users.


Retain any original documents.

These might include documents signed by a valuer, or by the owner of a loan object to agree with a valuation. File these and note the Document location in the relevant object records so you and others can find them in future.


Update your insurance or indemnity cover in the light of new or changed valuations.

Go to Insurance and indemnity.

Date created: 2017

Publisher: Collections Trust