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Ready for Family Feud?
January 06, 2011

Though it is a few days late for New Year’s resolutions, it still seems right to suggest that all collectors resolve this year to make sure they have a plan in place for their heirs to realize the value of what they have so painstakingly put together over many years.

This topic comes up today in response to an e-mail I had from someone in Minnesota who is not a collector, but has a relative in Ohio who died and he does not know what to do with the collection.

So he e-mailed me in Wisconsin.

OK, we have three states here and long distances. Even if we were all together in Iola, it still takes work to inventory a collection and figure out its value. Then it is yet more work to figure out the best way to sell it, whether to offer it to a dealer or consign it for auction.

The e-mailer says someone in Ohio that he does not know but was recommended by yet another relative was taking an inventory and coming up with a value. However, the person who wrote me does not know if he can rely on the result.

Now we have issues of trust. Trust is important.

But the heart of the matter is the owner of the coins basically left his family to rely on the kindness of strangers to help it out.

That, to say the least, is not wise. In some cases, the family would have less heartache burying the coins with the deceased – and I am not trying to be funny here.

Even in the best of times, family members can quarrel. What will they do under these circumstances?

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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