Value

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Value

The estimated or appraised worth of any object or property, calculated in money.

The word value has many meanings and may be used in different senses. Because value is usually a relative term, its true meaning must be determined by the context in which it appears.

Value sometimes expresses the inherent usefulness of an object and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods with it. The first is called value in use, the latter value in exchange. Value in use is the utility of an object in satisfying, directly or indirectly, the needs or desires of human beings. Value in exchange is the amount of commodities, commonly represented by money, for which a thing can be exchanged in an open market. This concept is usually referred to as market value.

Courts have frequently used the word value without any clear indication of whether it referred to value in use or market value. Generally, however, the courts and parties in civil actions are concerned with market value. Though courts may refer to salable value, actual value, fair value, reasonable value, and cash value, these terms are synonymous with market value.

Value is also employed in various phrases in business and commercial usage. The phrase actual cash value is used in insurance to signify the cost of purchasing new replacement property less normal depreciation, though it may also be determined by the current market value of similar property or by the cost of replacing or repairing the property. Cash surrender value is used in life insurance to refer to the amount that the insurer will pay the policyholder if the policy is canceled before the death of the insured.

Book value is the value at which the assets of a business are carried on the company's books. The book value of a fixed asset is arrived at by subtracting accumulated depreciation from the cost of the asset. Book value may also refer to the net worth of a business, which is calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets. Liquidation value is the value of a business or an asset when it is sold other than in the ordinary course of business, as in the liquidation of a business.

In the Stock Market, par value is the nominal value of stock; it is calculated by dividing the total stated capital stock by the number of shares authorized. Stated value is the value of no par stock established by the corporation as constituting the capital of the corporation.

Cross-references

Fair Market Value.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

VALUE, common law. This term has two different meanings. It sometimes expresses the utility of an object, and some times the power of purchasing other good with it. The first may be called value in use, the latter value in exchange.
     2. Value differs from price. The latter is applied to live cattle and animals; in a declaration, therefore, for taking cattle, they ought to be said to be of such a price; and in a declaration for taking dead chattels or those which never had life, it ought to lay them to be of such a value. 2 Lilly's Ab. 620.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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