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Gulag Flag recently acquired

Article about: I recently purchased this gulag flag from 1933 OGPU. I have a museum that requested to display it, having never allowed any of my collection to be on loan before I'm a little hesitant. Does

  1. #1

    Default Gulag Flag recently acquired

    I recently purchased this gulag flag from 1933 OGPU. I have a museum that requested to display it, having never allowed any of my collection to be on loan before I'm a little hesitant. Does anyone have any thoughts regarding loaning and whether it is safe or not. Gulag Flag recently acquiredGulag Flag recently acquired

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  3. #2


    I would not do it....anymore. I once lend out some local found items to the local government for a temporarily exhibition in the community house. I never got them back. I was told that because it was locally found it should be visible to all locals. It went up to the local mayor who got involved.

    So I learned my lesson and I never lend out anything anymore since then.

  4. #3


    Years ago there was a post from a collector who had loaned an SA dagger
    to the US Holocaust museum and they either denied that they had it or refused to return it. Regardless, according to him, he was out one SA dagger.

  5. #4


    In the US you have to also be careful as their are laws on the book that allows the United States Gov't to take items if they deem them a piece of US history. Happen to a person I grew up with who had a revolutionary flag that they brought to antique roadshow of all places. I'm not worried about the US on this piece but I wouldn't expect that from the US holocaust Museum ether. Thank you for the replies.

  6. #5
    RSW is offline


    None of the following should be considered to be "legal advice." It is general information only and is only applicable to the US. I do not know where you are located so if outside the US, please disregard.

    When considering whether to loan anything to a museum or not, you may want to ask yourself if you did loan it out then what you would do if the museum refused to return it? Or it was damaged, destroyed or stolen from them? Do you have the financial means to take legal action against a museum in that case, if they refuse to cooperate with you? Or they shut their museum down? Because all of these things have happened before.

    Even if a museum offers you a formal written contract with provisions governing the item you loaned to them (if reputable they should do so and any contract offered should be reviewed by an attorney representing you before you sign any such contract), if the item is failed to be returned (or the contract is otherwise breached), if the museum refuses to cooperate then you are stuck with the expense of finding an attorney and suing them. And that can get prohibitively costly.

    Due to legal complexities the idea of suing them on your own (without an attorney) is not advisable unless the item involved is of lesser value (where it can be handled in a small claims matter); otherwise it is too easy for non-attorneys to make errors that can permanently destroy any chance of winning one's case when that route is taken, i.e. when representing oneself in a legal matter in excess of $5K.

    And because of the sort of case it is, it is highly unlikely that you would find an attorney to take the case on a contingency basis. That is, an attorney taking the case at no cost to you unless a settlement or court judgment in your favor was later reached; if you won an attorney taking the case on a contingency basis would then take a percentage of an award as compensation for their fee(s) and expense(s). Attorneys judge the prospective merits of cases brought to them as investments toward future returns when laying out their own money and if there is not potential seen for a significant enough financial return on their investment, then an attorney is likely to ask the client to pay the expenses themselves. So the attorney is not risking anything if they lose. If they even take the case in the first place that is.

    Instead, in my opinion the odds are that you would have to pay an attorney out of your own pocket in a case like this. Lose the case and you are still out all the money you spent. And in case of something like a fire or other incident where your item was damaged, destroyed or stolen while at the museum, sure you may possibly receive a settlement (if the museum's insurance covers the loss and the museum in turn compensates you for the loss) but that is not the same as getting your item back. Sometimes money is no meaningful substitute if a rare and cherished item is gone forever.

    So, unless for some very compelling reason you are willing to risk your property to a museum's custody and control then I would NOT advise loaning anything (especially very valuable items). Unless you have the money to fight them in court if things go bad enough. A possible compromise instead of you loaning it to them might be if you let them photograph it or otherwise document it while you are present, if they are interested in that. Otherwise, no. I would not do it.

    Also, you may consider having the item professionally appraised and documented before loaning it out (in order to make a credible and supported damage claim later if things go wrong) and consulting with a local attorney prior to committing to loaning anything (if you still wanted to); they can advise you on any legal specifics related to the jurisdiction you live in and where the museum entity is located, and review any item loan contract (if any) to ensure all of your legal rights and remedies are protected.

    This reminds me of a person asking my advise a few years back in loaning an item to a particular museum valued at $40K+. Some investigation revealed that museum was in poor financial condition due to mismanagement and was in danger of closing (which it later did). Once something leaves your control you never know what may happen to it. Regardless of how reputable a particular museum may appear to be.

    Hope this helps. Good luck to you.

  7. #6


    I've never loaned anything to a museum, but I have 'gifted' items on a couple of occasions. I once donated a large collection of Northern Ireland terrorist related items to the Cheshire regiment museum in Chester, and none of them ever went on display. It makes me wonder what actually happened to them.

    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.... 'A Salford Pal: Pte Thomas Jay.'

  8. #7


    I did loan some RAF items to our local museum, mainly because I knew the chap that ran the place. They were on display for two months without problem.

    But on the whole I would be very wary and not recommend it.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  9. #8
    RSW is offline


    Quote by HARRY THE MOLE View Post
    I've never loaned anything to a museum, but I have 'gifted' items on a couple of occasions. I once donated a large collection of Northern Ireland terrorist related items to the Cheshire regiment museum in Chester, and none of them ever went on display. It makes me wonder what actually happened to them.

    They were lucky you were so generous. Although my experience has been in the US, I once volunteered at a museum long ago. We would occasionally receive donations from families and particularly widows of their deceased husband's service. I remember one of those donations in particular (from an elderly widow) that was accompanied by a hand written letter authored by her in a shaky script, describing the (extremely rare) uniform item she had donated, details of her husband and of what all that meant to her. Kind of heartbreaking really, given that he had recently died.

    I found out later that the museum had turned around and sold off the item she had donated and probably trashed her letter. While the museum was under no legal obligation to have retained or displayed that item, the whole business still left me with a pretty negative impression. I do not know how things are done in the UK but if it is the same or similar to the US, then perhaps whatever you donated was also sold off? Or was stolen? That was another problem at the museum I was at, until a new curator took over and instituted more accountability and tightened inventory control.

    I suppose those of you here are aware of the case in the US where a small museum curator was caught and convicted of selling off historical military artifacts from his own museum? That is the worst scenario of them all: a fox with the key to the hen house. I'll find a link to the story to post here if anybody is interested in details.

  10. #9

    Default Lend WWII collectibles

    Sad story. I also have less good experiences with lending objects to exhibitions. That's why I don't actually lend anything anymore.
    No one is more careful with your collectibles than you are.
    My minimum conditions anyway to lend objects from my collection are that they must be insured, secured and behind glass.
    The considerable costs of this already make organizers of (local) war exhibitions think.

  11. #10


    One friend collector of mine, he had great collection and did made displays on requests.

    But he had cautionary method, all displays he did, display items were always insured by organization who requested it in case of theft.

    No insure, no military displays. Always clear papers.

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