An interesting storage-related story from across the pond hit the wires recently. Masked men broke into Ireland’s National Museum storage room and stole four stuffed rhinoceros heads, each of which had been in the museum’s possession for more than 100 years.
This case of storage theft is the latest in a string of similar thefts from museums and galleries across Europe. The heads are highly desired for their horns, which are used in a variety of Eastern medicines and hold significant value. In this case, the eight total horns from the four heads, based on their weight, are worth approximately $650,000 on the black market.
Now the chances of you needing to store stuffed rhino heads is remote, but there are some things you can take away from this story.
- If you’re storing anything of significant value you absolutely must take measures to protect yourself. The protection plans offered by most self storage companies have ceilings in their coverage, so items of greater value have to be insured by a third-party policy. Have your valuables appraised to get a current value, insure them for the appropriate amount and update the appraisal and policy each time it’s about to expire.
- Be smart when you store valuables. These rhino heads were specifically targeted by this group of thieves. Crimes of opportunity happen every day, but your storage unit will be more appealing and likely target if the wrong people know there are particularly valuable items stored inside of it. So don’t tell anyone about the items in your storage unit if there isn’t any reason for them to know.
- Choose the right type of storage any time you have items to store, but particularly when they are items of high value. In the case of stuffed heads…we’ve all been around a wet dog no doubt. They tend to stink. The only difference is it’s much easier to dry off a living dog than a stuffed animal head. Moisture can permanently damage or destroy your possessions, so before you go shopping for storage take a full inventory of the items you want stored. Anything made of paper (books, photographs, art, etc.), wood (furniture) or fabric (clothes, linens, canvas, etc.) absolutely must be kept in climate-controlled storage units. Climate-controlled storage works to maintain consistent levels of temperature and humidity in a storage unit to help ensure items stored inside won’t be damaged by atmospheric changes and/or extremes.
So there you have it – a few practical tips about protecting yourself from storage theft. As long as you’re insured, you can keep your cool in an unfortunate event. After all, it’s nothing to lose your head over.
Visit National Museum of Ireland online.