When you think of JonsBones, you probably know us as an osteological supply company. We sell human bones to universities, medical professionals, law enforcement, and students. But selling bones is only one half of our business. The other half is working with families to put these bones where they can do the most good. On our website, there is a submission form for individuals to send us the bones in their possession for evaluation, where we can determine if they are of medical origin and potentially make an offer.
We find it incredibly rewarding to work with families who come into bones, either through inheritance or as a daunting surprise discovered when moving into a new home. We understand that not everyone shares our enthusiasm for bones, and many people are not quite sure how to proceed when suddenly faced with having to rehome their osteological pieces.
For example, one client we worked with purchased the former home of a prop master, who had purchased a skeleton presumably for a film, and it remained in the attic even after the original owner vacated the home. Our client originally tried to donate it to a local elementary school’s science department, but their offer was turned down. After this, they approached us, because they wanted the piece to help educate future generations. By working with us, this client was able to find a proper place for something that brought them a lot of distress in their home. This client’s story is not even particularly uncommon. We frequently work with people who uncover skulls, skeletons, and other medical bones in their newly purchased homes.
Just this past weekend we traveled to Maryland to the home of a member of the Secret Service who had discovered a skeleton in the basement of a home they were renovating. Even with all of their connections in the government and medical research fields, they found themselves at a loss about what to do with this skeleton. Through their research, they found us, and we were able to collect the skeleton from them so it may be used in educational spheres, not disturbing the client’s children in their home.
We also are honored to work with the families of doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals who have lost their loved one, and now must manage the deceased’s estate. We are often contacted by people who are not only grieving their loved one, but are now left to deal with challenging objects. They may not be aware of all the legalities of osteological ownership and sale, and we are happy to guide them through that process. We understand that in times of grief, the last thing you want to be dealing with is the literal skeleton in your closet. We are here to make the process as simple and painless as possible, with all parties benefitting.
On our end, we love to work with individuals, because they often have an important history of the object that is not often available with many osteological pieces on the market. If their relatives purchased the piece for their education, that gives us a date of sale that can help us expand our understanding of the medical bone trade, and in dating the bones themselves. In purchasing a home with a skeleton hidden away in the attic, sometimes surrounding detritus like newspapers or magazines can help give us an idea of the age of the piece too.
With every client, we gain an understanding of the many people who participated in the medical bone trade. This half of our business is not as public facing, but we deeply value this part of our work.