Saturday, January 03, 2009

10 suggestions to protect your valuable tribal art collection

Unlike some other New Year’s resolutions, this one is definitely worth the time you will spend on it.

If you are a collector of tribal art, or any art,
do something to protect your collection.

With economic conditions getting worse, your collection is more at risk than at any other time.

So, is your collection secure? Do you have a security alarm system on your premises?
Do you have photographs and records of all your precious items? Did you save your receipts? Are your records and photographs in a safe and secure place?

The answers to most of these questions will suggest themselves.

The last one, however, warrants some additional discussion.

1. Get a digital camera.
It does not have to be a fancy one. It just needs to have resolution to capture a clean, in-focus picture.

2. Take a picture of every item in your collection.
It’s best to shoot in light shade on an otherwise bright, sunny day. If you shoot with subject in bright sunlight, you may lose some of the detail that is important to identify an object.

3. Shoot multiple photos, from different angles, even flat art such as textiles and paintings.
Digital images don’t cost anything. With many pictures of the same item from different angles, you have the best evidence of what is in your collection. Insurance companies are aware that adept computer users know how to fudge an image, or create one that wasn’t there. Multiple images can assure the insurance adjuster that you actually owned and photographed the item.

4. Take the chip from inside the camera to some place that can make photo images from it.
Most pharmacies have a photo-processing desk and digital kiosk. Ask for a DVD or CD with your images on it. Even better, connect the camera chip to your computer and save .jpg images to put in a digital folder. There are several low cost or free photo management software programs that can convert and hold your images. Picasa is one of them.

5. Make sure that each picture is labeled with enough description.
This will help you search for the picture later.

6. If you have access to a scanner, scan your receipts and transfer them as jpg images to your computer.
Put those jpg images in a digital folder, identifying each for ease of searching and clear relationship to the item you purchased.

7. Buy an inexpensive thumb drive with 4 to 8 gigabytes of storage space (less than $30).
Since computers are notoriously prone to crashes and file corruption, transfer the digital folders to the thumb drive. You also can “burn” the photo and document images to a CD or DVD. They are less convenient and more prone to damage than thumb drives, which capture files from your computer through a USB port.

8. Do this once every six months or every time you add or subtract from you collection.
The beauty of thumb drives is that they are very easy to overwrite with updates. CDs and DVDs may require to burn a new disc each time you update.

9. Put the thumb drive or the CDs/DVDs in a place that is removed from your collection and your computer
. A safe deposit box is a good choice.

You will now have back-up complete records of every item in your collection and the receipt for your purchase of it. If anything happens – a burglary or a fire – you will have proof of your loss and its value. If the items are stolen, you can post your photos to various stolen item directories. This can alert potential buyers, who might be approached by the thief, that the items are stolen.

10. Another word about insurance; buy it. Most homeowner policies do not cover

jewelry or high value collectibles and art objects adequately. There are companies, however, that specialize in that kind of coverage. Seek them out and get a quote to cover the value of your collection. One of them to check out is Collectibles Insurance Services, LLC. I am not recommending them because I have never had to file a claim with them. You will need to do your own research to determine if they are the right insurance company for you.

You have more than money invested in our collection. You have memories, expertise and hard work finding its contents.

Don’t leave your collection unprotected.

Happy New Year from William and Susanne Waites at
ZuniLink, Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink and Tribalworks.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Just stopping by again to say "hi". Hope all's well. Have you started the translating part of your blog yet?