OK… What do we do now?
Disposing of an Estate Collection
by Robert Lozier, KD4HSH - Copyright 2010
One way or the other, spouses and families of radio collectors - indeed, collectors in any hobby - will, at some point, have to answer this question. When a collector dies or is suddenly incapacitated by illness from which there may be no recovery, continued maintenance and final disposition of a vintage radio collection demands some care and thought.
I have encountered this problem many times during my 30 years of involvement in this hobby and have often been asked for advice on the subject. While I do not characterized myself as a professional advisor, I offer to describe herin some possible ways to handle this issue that are simply based on common sense and a feeling that folks deserve to have informed outside opinions when determining what will prove best for their particular situation.
I must make a specific disclaimer here that I offer this information only to illustrate some of the issues I have had to deal with over the years. You should always obtain expert legal advice concerning your specific estate plans and requirements.
The best way for any collector to handle this issue is to make his or her preferences known in writing well beforehand. Like buying insurance or discussing the making of a will, determining the disposition of an estate is a difficult task. Nonetheless, it is important not only to put one’s wishes in writing, but also verbally communicate one’s wishes to trusted family members, friends and/or other collectors.
If, however, no specifications concerning the collection have been made prior to the death or incapacity of the collector, the executor must know the realistic market values of the items you own when sold by the method you select ! In determining fair market value of antique radios, there are several resources available to assist anyone unfamiliar with the subject.
Up-to-date price guides can be a starting point for evaluating some of your items but you must keep in mind three things condition, condition, condition! Your item may be in such a shabby state that it is only good for parts and therefore worth only 10% of the book value OR you may have a near mint item complete with documentation, packing case and interesting history that might command a 50% premium. Even when an item is in apparently fine condition other factors can effect the value. For example, some equipment may have been modified at one time, incorrectly refinished or restored.
One of the best, and easiest, things a collector can do before its too late is to identify a number of people in the hobby whose opinions they value and feel you could count on for honest evaluations in the light of the current vintage radio market conditions. With such