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Old 29th July 2020, 01:15 PM   #16
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Upstate New York, USA
Posts: 771

It is intended as neither cynical nor humorous, but my candid, honest reply when asked about the ultimate disposition of my collection is "This is not my problem - I have enough problems. I will be dead, so this is my Executor's problem."

Having an accurate and accessible record of what everything is, what you have learned about it, what was paid for it and an occasionally updated estimate of current value will be very helpful to whoever does manage the dispersal. I merely have several incomplete failed starts at this and I have warned possible heirs that there may be a few things of significant value. I would not be averse to some of the better things ending up in a museum, right now the only directive in my will is that actual sales will be conducted in the United States. No offense intended to any nationality - and no restriction on who buys it and where they carry it home to - just the part of me that had to deal with the hassles and expenses of international shipping over several decades wanting to even things out.

There is one thing that a collector needs to prepare their heirs for and that is that the auctioneers and specialist dealers have a living to earn and the percent of the value that is theirs is not small. Those of you that have frequented these forums for a long time or have researched back in the archives will remember Lew. As an early death loomed over him, he began to explore this issue urgently and was horrified at the wholesale offers that he received. I promised him to disperse his collection and in the end probably recovered low retail value for his family (see I learned a lot about many of the pieces in the process and also about trading in them, and overall I enjoyed my time as a "limited instruction set specialist antiques dealer," but I also learned that dealers very often do earn what seems like an exorbitant markup (50% not being uncommon if they take on the risk up front) at first glance.

So leave an inventory and a list of a few reputable dealers and advise your heirs to solicit offers from about three parties and to let all know that there are other bidders.
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