America’s First Antique Stores

Having lunch with friends from the U.K., we discussed our afternoon spent browsing through antique stores. “Why aren’t there more antiques in your antique stores?” questioned Nigel. “There aren’t enough real antiques in America” chimed in his wife Susan, “except those that are imported from Europe, of course.” “America has a thriving antiques business” I […]

Collectible Lawn Art

In American popular culture, the kitsch surrounding pink flamingo lawn ornaments appears universal. Mention such ornaments and visions of trailer parks in Baltimore come to mind; perhaps as a result of John Waters’ 1972 movie “Pink Flamingos,” with its subtitle: “An Exercise in Poor Taste”. Until the 1970s, upscale suburban homes sometimes boasted lantern-carrying lawn […]

Fender Guitars

Leo Fender became a rock ‘n’ roll icon quite by accident. After a brief career as a bookkeeper, Leo opened a radio repair shop in Fullerton, Calif., in 1938, when he was just 29 years old. In 1938, the electronics industry in America was still in its infancy. The vacuum tubes that made amplification possible […]

Hard-to-Sell Estate Items

Previously published on WorthPoint.com It’s fun to think of estates as being filled with hidden treasures, waiting to be discovered and cashed in for Big Bucks. Hardly a week goes by without a news report of a naive estate shopper finding a rare painting, tool, coin or other collectible. The hard truth is that estate […]

How to Sell the Family Piano

Today, Boomers having to settle their parents’ estates face an “elephant in the room” that isn’t so funny: the family piano. Many pianos are just downright hard to sell nowadays. They are heavy, difficult to move, expensive to repair and keep tuned and technologically backward. Acoustic pianos are rarely sought-after items for middle-class homes. Hardly […]

Household Goods Weights and Measures

Here’s a handy chart that I put together a few years ago when I helped down-sizers move to their new homes. It’s indispensable when figuring what your shipment of household goods weighs, and how much space it will take up in the moving truck. Van lines charge according to weight and distance and this chart […]

Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?

Your teenage grandkids probably don’t want to inherit the collectibles you now cherish. But don’t despair; the value one places on family heirlooms changes as one matures. To a 15 year old, grandpa’s journal is just a dust collector. When that 15 year old reaches 45, the same journal becomes a treasure of family history. […]

Does Debt Die With the Debtor?

Debt does not die with the debtor, but instead is placed on life support and faces the possibility of having the plug pulled at any time. When one dies, one’s property and debts become an estate probate issue.  Each state has it’s own set of probate rules to assure that the deceased’s debts are paid, […]

Documenting Your Possessions

Insurance companies love to accept premiums but hate to pay claims.  Recently, CNN obtained the training manuals for Allstate Insurance.  The training manuals procedures were based on the recommendations of the New York consulting firm McKinsey & Co…  The manuals outline a plan for Allstate to increase profits by reducing claims payouts.  According to reporter […]

Appraisal vs. Opinion of Value

My friend Jennifer, a Port Shopping Ambassador on a cruise ship, related the following story: a passenger purchased an antique clock from a store in Amsterdam, Holland for around $3,000 USD. The following day, the passenger got a serious case of buyer’s remorse, and sought to return the clock on the basis that the item […]

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