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mmauthner




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PostPosted: Mar 27, 2008 18:33    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Alfredo,
Your notes on the back of an old label, or on your new label...not a big deal in my eyes. Your initials on those notes, wherever they are...a most emphatic yes. Even in this day, your initials on a note carry more weight than a lot of dealer's that I know. That, my friend, is a measure of how I, and many others I am sure, see and value your knowledge. This is not just to inflate your ego..but a perfect example of the value of knowing where the info came from and its reliability.

Cheers,
Mark
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Mar 28, 2008 07:07    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Thank you all for your very kind words!
I do see now that the human element in mineralogy is much more important than I had realized. Moving on to craigslist to find a used filing cabinet...
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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 28, 2008 08:23    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Alfredo, this puts a smile on my face. I respect you so much also, and since I am a fairly new collector, it is nice to see that people can change their concepts of labels as you have.
I know so many dealers who have mailed me labels, as they find them, for pieces I own long after I have purchased them. Even dealers misplace or set aside labels and when they find them it is nice to know they have gone to the trouble of NOT throwing it away, but sending it on instead. Or they have gone to the trouble of having the original owner make a new label for me. ( Such as Frederico Pezzotta when we bought a piece from his personal collection. )
Anyhow, cheers to you for reconsidering!
Mark, you are my hero too!
Cheerio, Gail

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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 29, 2008 17:31    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Jim and I are here at home putting some of our Tucson minerals out in the display cabinets and we were thrilled to have had 6 pieces in the American Treasures cases on Tucson this year. One of the lovely benefits were the special labels that you were given when the minerals were returned to you. Wendell Wilson made some great labels with nice art and they noted that your piece was part of the special AT displays.
Now to me that label is very special and should go along with the specimens when we are but a memory.
It isn't about who owned the minerals, but about the special display they were a part of. I think that is very relevant to the provenance. What do you all think of the importance of this NON scientific, NON collection owner label idea?

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GneissWare




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PostPosted: Mar 29, 2008 20:56    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Gail,
I agree that these kind of labels are special and add to the value (both monetary and as a piece of history). Congrats on owning 6 pieces of mineralogical history!

I also like the fact that Mineralogical Record provides labels for specimens pictured in the publication.
Bob
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Tracy




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 14:59    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

I don't think I'll be scoring any popularoty points for posting my two cents here, but as happy as I am for Gail (and I really am), her posting, and Bob's follow-up, beg the question - should a mineral specimen be regarded as having a higher value just because it won "best in class" or even "best in show" awards?

I know of one seller who keeps details on the provenance of a specimen but does not disclose this information to customers except if specifically asked to. The reasoning behind this is that a specimen should be judged on its own merits and not on who previously owned it. While I can see this policy as doing a huge disservice to archivists and curators, I do see his point. Personally I wouldn't want to spend a lot more money on a specimen because it comes with nice and/or prestigious labels, even though I've said previously that I like having old labels because they tell of the progress of the specimen through time.

I'm inclined to side with John (? - I hope I am not giving credit to the wrong contributor) in that the earliest label is valuable because of the information it provides (e.g., when was it found, where, and by whom), and all the subsequent labels less so. Even though I'm as pleased as the next person to acquire a specimen that was featured in a magazine or comes with a famous label, that's all secondary stuff to me.

There's no straightforward path forward here, everyone derives pleasure from this hobby in his/her own ways. Just carving my walking stick...

A word or two about how this true beginner deals with labels: I keep every label I have with its specimen, and in addition I jot down everything I read in an online description or email (for Internet purchases). To me, any individual's opinion is part of the early learning process. As my knowledge base grows I will delete any of the stuff that is inaccurate or "sales hype," but for now this approach guides my explorations and shapes my interests. If nothing else, so far it's helped me identify sellers who are overly prone to hyperbole. :-)

- Tracy

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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 16:31    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Nah, not going to bite your head off Tracy, you make valid points. It is a wonderful world of minerals when we are all different in our concepts of how to collect. It would be boring and rather sterile if it were all White or Black, with no grey in between!

I really don't lose sleep over how others collect, and I applaud others for how they deal with all aspects of their collecting. As I have stated over and over again, viva la difference!!!!

I like the fun of knowing who owned my minerals before me, but then again...I like things like autographs. Perhaps it is the sentimental part of me talking again...but since being sentimental is very much a part of who I am, it goes without saying that I would love knowing if James Horner, Pete Bancroft or Benjamin Franklin cherished something as much as I do.

I don't think there is a wrong answer here, do you Tracy?

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GneissWare




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 16:35    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Tracy,

My main point about labels, and additionally, whether a specimen has been pictured in a publication, won an award, or whatnot, is not so much that it increases its monetary worth, but that it adds to the history of the specimen.

Some specimens that you would not take a second look at are neat specimens because they were the subject of a drawing in an old folio, or were studied by John Sinkankas, have an old hand-written label, or were owned by someone you've heard about. These are all historical aspects that help one trace the specimen's journey.

Each specimen is a reflection of one moment in time, namely when it was collected. All the little incremental steps through various people's lives just add to my fascination with minerals.

Bob
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Tracy




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 17:32    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Gail and Bob -

My posts are never intended to be adversarial. I write (and write, and write...OK so I get carried away sometimes) because I wish to learn and discuss. We all appear to be on the same side of the discussion, just with slightly different emphases.

Gail, I've been seriously collecting for only a bit longer than you have, yet I'm nowhere close to your level of expertise. 100% agree that there is no such thing as a wrong answer here. I don't believe that it is possible to go wrong with collecting in any form, as long as it makes the collector happy. And my sincere congratulations to you on your specimens - please post (or just send) a photo of them AND their labels. Having not made it to Tuscon I'd be interested in seeing what they look like!

Bob, if you look at some of my earliest posts you will see that, like you, I enjoy knowing the path a specimen took from being dug out of the ground to arriving in my hands. I like being able to trace a specimen's history back through generations, and in that context I like old labels. For me, though, the scientific curiosity outweighs my interest in pedigree/legacy - that is just my bent though, and not necessarily anyone else's.

Jordi tells me the Forum does not believe in censorship. Half the time I eppry that I'm beong a troublemaker, but all I mean to do is generate dialogue about things I don't fully understand - yet...

- Tracy

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GneissWare




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 17:53    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Tracy,

I appreciate the dialog. And, if this discussion gets one person to rethink throwing away labels, then it has been an accomplishment.

Bob
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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 19:28    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Tracy, you are a delight. Don't worry, you haven't said a darn thing that is offensive at all.
This site is a little more civilized than some others and I think that people like to hear other people's opinions, otherwise why bother to come on here? I am going to try on this one, let's hope my attached photo takes?
Best regards, Gail



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The label sent home with the specimen for the AT cases.
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Tracy




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 19:57    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

It took just fine Gail. The tourmaline, and the label, are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing! And thanks to you and Bob for the kind words.

Now, if any of you ever want to give an amateur a mineralogical tour of the Smithsonian collection - I don't get to D.C. often, but... :-)

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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 20:09    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Tracy, You bet! I am going to be inviting folks every time I go to a museum from now on. We can have great times talking rocks, gemstones and minerals. I love it!

And, if all is right with the world, dinner and a cosmopolitan after! woo hoo.

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Tony L. Potucek




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PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 20:18    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Having read the comments from Gail, Tracy and Bob, et. al., I found common ground in of them. I view myself as the current curator of the specimens I own. Some day, as I move towards fossilization, with vivianite occupying the center structure of my bones, these specimens in my collection today will be in someone else's collection in the future. I keep all information that I know with certainty with the specimen, including labels for the next owner.

Like Doc Petrov, I make annotations on old labels that are in error unless it is just too historically significant (example would be a label such as the Cumenge label of a Morenci azurite I exhibited at Tucson this year in the Morenci case. I would never touch a label like that even if it was incorrect, but I would make sure a note was attached to it without damaging it).

Like Gail, it was an honor for me to put a number of specimens in the special cases this year at Tucson, and the labels provided will stay with the piece upon deaccessioning from my collection.

Rock on....

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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Mar 31, 2008 08:56    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

I find it interesting that some of you put so much faith in the oldest label a specimen has. If anyone owns a New Mexico fluorite from Catron County purchased from Dick Jones, you will know of what I speak. The original label purposely had the wrong locality on it because Dick did not want anyone to know where he was collecting these specimens. We see that more than it should because someone wants to protect their secret locality from other dealers or a miner wanted to protect their job.

I keep all of the labels with my specimens because that is part of the history of the piece. Do they add monetary value? I don't think so but they certainly add interest and the history of the specimen is important to me. Years ago, I spent a lot of time helping Jean Bandy sort through boxes of minerals packed by her husband, Mark, in preparation for her tremendous donation to the L.A. County Museum of Natural History. A number of the specimens had Mark's locality information down to coordinates within the mine. I took that as an example of how specimens should be properly labeled, namely with all of the information (correct, of course) one knows and then whatever the subsequent owners do with it is their business.

Everyone deals with history in their own way. I feel it is an integral part of each specimen in our collection. Given a choice of two similar specimens, I will go with the history every time. But, that may be that as a specialty collector, the history is more important. To each his own, I guess.
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mmauthner




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PostPosted: Mar 31, 2008 09:34    Post subject: Re: Right labels  

Just coming back to this after a fine weekend camping in Joshua Tree Park...and wistfully looking at a few mines I was not allowed to crawl into...

Gail, the kind of labels you are talking about (special exhibit label...and more importantly, special exhibit catalogs) are very important to tracing the history of a piece and evaluating its (historical, not monetary) importance. Even if better material is found later, information like this still records the esteem such a piece was held in at the time. A case in point, albeit not mineralogical...take an aluminum (aluminium, for those across the pond :-) ) fork...nothing special today, is it? However, now add to it all that this fork is from the Napoleonic era and it immediately has so much more significance (the metal was so rare at the time that Napoleon valued aluminum so much that his royal guests had to do with mere gold and silver utensils).

Les, yes, I am very aware of the "Catron Co." fluorite story...and that the proper locality has been renamed several times...all these variations help date a specimen from that locality. I think more often than not (and I may have to be corrected here) the real locality is eventually revealed (vis Chinese localities in the past two decades)...the rest become known as the "Lost Lemon Mine" or some such lore.

Tracy, no worries. Wouldn't it be a boring world if we all thought exactly the same?

Cheers all, and have a great week!
Mark
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