The City of Launceston Council's Queens Victoria Museum and Art Gallery collection was "overvalued" by tens of millions of dollars in the last financial year.
The apparent financial faux pas came to air as part of the council's annual report which indicated a drop in value from $252 million to $203 million, but not all was as it seemed to be.
Despite the $49 million drop, the true value of the collection changed $34.5 million.
City of Launceston Mayor Albert Van Zetten said council did not believe the collection had been "overvalued", and that the Tasmanian Audit Officer was satisfied with the reasoning and rationale behind the $34.5 million change.
And while the numbers might stand out as concerning to the casual observer, they proved to be far from sinister.
At least, that is according to a man who may well be the best place person to say so.
The change in valuation come about after a reevaluation of the collection which was conducted from the start of 2021.
The man who did it was Simon Storey, and it was actually the third valuation of the collection he had undertaken, and the most recent since 2014.
The reason he thinks the change in valuation is no reason for concern?
Well, the answer has two parts.
One, the valuation methodology changed from "market value" to a "recollection cost" for the Natural Sciences collection.
"Market value" prices each piece individually and on face value, whereas the "recollection cost" considers the time, expedition costs and specimen preparation that might go into putting a beetle, for example, on display in the Natural Sciences collection.
Mr Storay gave the example that a rare or extinct species would likely attract a commanding value, while the "recollection cost" for that species would be close to or exactly $0 - because it would be too difficult, or impossible, to find it.
And the Natural Sciences collection at QVMAG was assessed by the Australian Museum as holding the most comprehensive collection of Tasmanian native terrestrial mammals in Australia, and the most extensive collection of Tasmanian bird species in the world.
When one considers the QVMAG collection consists of 100s of thousands of pieces and it took Mr Storay between two to three weeks of intensive work to value it, the discrepancy becomes more understandable.
Mr Storay said some museums around Australia can have reevaluation discrepancies in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Cr Van Zetten elaborated on Mr Storay's explanation.
"In terms of the change in valuation, there has been a change in the valuer's methodology for conducting the valuations of the Natural Sciences collection, which in turn, has decreased that valuation," he said.
"In terms of the valuation of QVMAG's collections, the figures are mostly given for accounting purposes. The Museum has not lost any money or overall value as such."
The second reason Mr Storay said there was no reason for concerns?
"For a small regional museum, [QVMAG] is absolutely world-class," he said.
He said the collections on offer across the QVMAG sites were impressive, even outside of its regional home.
The reevaluation and audit of the museum's collection came amid a scare a world-renowned Brett Whitely drawing, Waves V, was missing.
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