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October 20, 2017

WorthPoint

Collecting Philco Predicta Televisions

“It’s truly TV today, from the world of tomorrow… it’s 1965… today!” This line from the 1958 Philco television ad exclaiming that the new Predicta model TV was “the most excitingly new concept in the history of television!” At the time, 1965 was a mere seven years away, and the announcer seemed confident that the

antique frames

Evaluating Antique Frames

There is one thing I can count on whenever I evaluate an estate: most rooms will have one floor and three or four walls. Consequently, well-decorated homes may have many more items on the walls than on the floors. Too often, estate executors spend most of their time inventorying the large items of furniture on

old electronics disposal

What to Do With Old Electronics

Sorting through an estate last month, I came upon a desk whose top had apparently not seen the light of day for at least a decade. It was piled high with receipts, papers and junk mail. I shuddered as I opened the drawers to see what was inside them. Drawer number one was filled with

Collecting Vintage Salesman’s Samples

“She Ran Away With A Shoe Drummer” read the Chicago Tribune headline of April 19, 1890. The ensuing article told of a great scandal: a recently married young socialite left her husband to run off with a travelling salesman (“drummers” in those days were travelling salesmen, called such because they would “drum up” business for

The Format Wars

Those of us over a “certain age” have seen format wars come and go: VHS vs. Betamax; 8-track vs. cassette; Apple Mac vs. IBM DOS; Blue-Ray vs. High-Definition video. Each of these technologies served the consumer in a similar way. Each format required compatible hardware in order to make its “software” work; Betamax tapes couldn’t

Finding Value In Those Old 78 RPM Records

The bidding stood at $16,800 until the last few seconds of the eBay auction. Then, auction sniping software kicked in. Within seconds, the bidding soared to over $30,000. The final selling price of the item was just over $37,000. What was it that caused all the fuss? An old shellac 78 RPM record by Tommy

Protecting Your Sole Proprietor Estate Assets

You’ve worked long and hard to build your business. You have a great reputation, strong cash flow, a solid asset base, and reliable employees. You operate “lean and mean” as a sole proprietorship. You may be a car mechanic, consultant, plumber, eBayer, building contractor, landscaper, professional or other entrepreneur. Then you die unexpectedly without an

The Need for Estate Sale Operator Licensing

The headline of the consumer complaint post was brash: “They literally stole our whole house: they sold $42,527 worth of items and gave us a check for $1,682.” The details of this homeowners’ plight were tragic: he had been “ripped off” by an estate sale company. According to the story on ripoffreport.com (specific company/client has

Five Steps to Take When the Liquidation Company Says No

It’s a common occurrence: an executor calls an estate sale company to provide an estimate for liquidating an estate’s personal property and the liquidation company says “no thanks.” Why does this happen, and what can an executor do when it does? It happens because liquidating an estate’s personal property can be a monumental job, and

Why Millennials Don’t Want Their Parents Stuff

There was a time when prosperous Americans eschewed durable consumer goods. Rarely would they buy a mass-produced sofa or dining set. Instead, they bought functional antiques that would hold their value from generation to generation and not be fodder for the dump in six or seven years. Take the DuPont’s of Delaware, for example. The

Estate Wins Ruling vs. IRS on Art Collection

Rumor has it that estate attorneys all over America are gleefully dancing around their desks. The reason for the lawyerly ruckus was that the Internal Revenue Service had just lost a case with major implications for the estates of collectors. At issue was whether an estate could parcel out an art collection according to the

parcel

Holiday Shipping: Hazardous to Your Gifts?

If you’re gifting and shipping collectibles for the holidays, I hope you are either very lucky or very well insured. I recently shipped a First World War artillery-shell lamp and packed it to the point where I thought it was bullet-proof: a layer of paper wrap, tape-reinforced at the lamp’s base and socket, bubble-wrapped, and

American Estates are Gaining Momentum: Will Yours Keep Pace?

Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; freedom to peaceably assemble. The American Bill of Rights was created as a framework for American Society. But the real gem created by the Founding Fathers—the one that truly separated American society from British society—isn’t part of the Social Studies curriculum of any American public school. The hidden gem?

ivory statue

Auction Buyer Beware: Ivory Hazardous to Your Financial Health

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) recently released a 40-page report titled “Bidding Against Survival: The Elephant Poaching Crisis and the Role of Auctions in the U.S. Ivory Market.” The report is worrisome, because it appears that most U.S. auctioneers haven’t gotten the message that selling undocumented ivory is illegal, and auction buyers don’t

Who Gets Your Digital Assets When You Die?

Our lives have become digitized and password protected, and when we die, access to our accounts and rights to the contents thereof die with us—unless we make digital access part of our estate plan. It wasn’t too many years ago that one’s “important papers” were stored in a shoe box, file drawer or safe deposit

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