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March 23, 2018


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


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

Bequeathing a Collection, the Smart Way

To some, leaving behind a meaningful legacy upon death is important. To have built a house, written a book, created a business or performed a heroic deed speaks to one’s character and may have a more lasting effect on future generations than the dollars and cents that are passed on through one’s last will and

Deciding Who Gets Mom’s Belongings

“When I’m gone,” said Mom about a year ago, “I want you each to have back the gifts you’ve given me over the years. I’ve marked them all with a sticker on the bottom.” My siblings and I shot quick glances at each other; we hadn’t expected this. We had gathered at Mom’s for our


A Look at the Collectible Guitar Market

In 1933, struggling 22-year-old musician Leonard Slye needed a guitar. He found one at a California pawn shop and paid $30 for it. In 1933, $30 was an average week’s wage, but Slye believed that the guitar—a three-year-old Martin OM-45 deluxe model serial #42125—was worth the price. New Martin OM-45s retailed for $225. Slye went

blue suede shoes

Collectible Rockabilly Records

Collecting records is easy. Records are widely available and often cheap. But assembling a meaningful record collection requires thought, vigilance and no small investment. Records have been produced for so long—since 1894—and in so many different musical genres and formats that serious collectors must consider the boundaries and contents of their collections or they will

lynyrd skynyrd

Muscle Car Music: Collecting 8-Track Tapes

To garage-salers and flea market buffs, they seem to be everywhere. Most folks walk right by boxes full of them with their nose in the air and an attitude of indifference. For collectors, though, boxes of unwanted 8-track tapes are pure gold. Monthly sales of 8-track tapes number in the thousands on eBay, with prices


How to Open, Price and Sell Residential Safes

One of my “go-to” movies when I’m in the mood for a caper-flick is “The Italian Job” starring Mark Wahlberg. In a clever bit of cinematography, Wahlberg’s gang of thieves steal a safe full of gold bars by using explosives to cut a hole in the floor around the safe causing it to crash through


Near Meltdown for $33M Fabergé Egg

What a difference a few minutes of research can make. If you haven’t heard by now, collectors around the globe are talking about the discovery of the third Imperial Russian Fabergé egg, identified last week by Kieran McCarthy of London’s Wartski jewelers. The Fabergé community is extremely excited about the find, as the egg has

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