Donated Collections

fossil collected by Clif Coney from Mazon Creek Fossil bed.

The Museum is happy to accept donations of fossils when approved by the Collections Committee. 


The Coney Collection at ETSU

A substantial collection of over 1000 natural history specimens was recently donated to East Tennessee State University (ETSU). This collection was made by Mr. Clifton Coney and was donated by his parents, Charles and Sue, and his daughter Sonia.

Cliff (also known as Clif) was born August 24, 1949, and grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee. According to his parents he was an avid collector and observer of natural history all of his life. He obtained a bachelor's degree (1977) and master's degree (1980) in biology at ETSU, where his primary interests were systematics and ecology. Most of Cliff's research focused on freshwater bivalves and terrestrial snails, and he published over 20 articles in scientific journals. He served as the collections manager for the malacology collection at the Los Angeles County Museum (LACM) of Natural History for ten years. When he passed away in 1993 his extensive library and other collections were donated to the LACM.

The collection donated to ETSU primarily represents Cliff's younger years, before or during his time in college. This collection will now be used by the Natural History Museum and departments of Anthropology, Geosciences, and Biological Sciences for teaching the next generation of natural history scientists.




Coney Collection at ETSU
Clifton Coney image
View items from the
Coney Collection
on display at the
Natural History Museum
this summer.


Private Collections
Please be aware: one question we do not, and cannot answer, is how much your fossil is worth. We do not appraise fossils, instead we believe that all fossils are priceless.  We agree with the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which believes that fossils should be held in perpetuity in the public trust, preferably in a museum or research institution, where they can benefit the scientific community as a whole as well as future generations. The ethics by-law of SVP says: "The barter, sale, or purchase of scientifically significant vertebrate fossils is not condoned, unless it brings them into or keeps them within a public trust."






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