What to do when you inherit a collection:
Almost everyone either has or knows someone who has inherited an overwhelming collection. In many cases the idea of dealing with a collection can seem daunting, leading to the conclusion that the easiest option is to get rid of it in an estate sale. However, doing this can lead to huge losses if you don’t know the worth of the items. In light of that, we have compiled a list of suggestions for how to deal with an inherited collection.
• Get Organized:
While some collections are nicely cataloged and housed in displays, others may not be. The first thing you need to do is find a way to organize all your items. Once sorted, it will be much less overwhelming to assess exactly what you have. From there you can decide what to sell or keep.
• Figure out what it is worth:
Now that you’re organized and know what you have, it’s time to do some research. Having a good understanding of what your collection is worth may seem daunting, but it will help you immensely once you start talking to brokers if you decide to sell, or even for an insurance claim should anything happen to the collection.
You can simply get an appraisal, but appraisers typically charge $50-$100 per hour. A cheaper option would be to search the item by specific markers, dates, and unique characteristics or contact a consignment seller (such as us here at Kelly’s Collectibles) who have experience evaluating collections and can help you determine the value.
• Determine to sell or keep:
Now that you know the value it is going to be a much easier decision to sell or keep the collection. If you decide to keep the collection, it is important to keep all the items organized and well stored to protect them from water damage, sun damage or pests. Keep a detailed inventory and value estimation (using an Excel spreadsheet is perfect for this). Not only will this be helpful in the case of loss for insurance but should you decide to pass along your collection, whoever inherits it will thank you!
You could choose to sell your collection yourself through Craigslist or a garage sale. These options do take a long time and require a lot of upfront work. The easiest way to sell a collection is on consignment where experts (like us) advertise and sell your items to collectors worldwide. All you have to do is provide us your items so we can photograph them and once it sells we send you a check! Head to our Contact or FAQ page to learn more about consignment.
Do you have any tips on inheriting a collection? Leave us a comment!