Inherited Collection Part 2: Heritage Process

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Bluemorpho, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. Bluemorpho

    Bluemorpho New Member

    Quick review: I'm executer of mom's estate. She left behind coin collection, mostly bullion, some numismatic coins. Coins are 2,000 miles away from me. I learned tons here on my initial post about how to sell coins and very grateful to those who took the time to reply.

    Following excellent advice here, I've been in touch with Heritage staff. Lot of back and forth about how to address issue of valuing and inventorying a portion of coins to be kept for one inheritor who wants coins, ensuring fair share, and then selling the rest. They've been wonderfully patient with me and kind, though can't say entirely efficient or clear in their communication. For example, when I asked early on about shipping process, and how I would be able for insurance purposes to inventory the contents of each box and its value, I was told, no worries, we'll handle all of that and make it easy for you. So I didn't worry about it.

    Now we're talking shipping. To ship the coins, of course an inventory is needed in each box and each box can't exceed some value. So, in order to do that we would need to hire someone to do an inventory and appraisal. That's why, in part, I planned to hire Heritage. One stop shop, so to speak. I'm caught in a catch 22. The staff I've worked with (several) know that I don't have a detailed inventory and valuation and yet, they are not following through on their early enthusiasm for making it easy for me. I know others have gone through this, advising me to send them off to Heritage (or other action house) and saying, no, no, no you don't need to inventory a thing. So, how does one navigate this?

    Another option given by Heritage is for us to hire an armored vehicle, but without knowing the weight of the coins (for cost estimate) and the total value of coins (for relative cost of shipping vs the value of coins), impossible to judge this option. Also, still would need inventory, no?? heritage staff made it sounds like that would avoid the issues with mailing.

    It's sounding like we need to hire a local enough numismatist to appraise and inventory the coins.

    Oy. I'm stuck. Would sure appreciate your thoughts.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Wow, hope the coins sell for enough to make up for the costs incurred!
  4. rte

    rte Well-Known Member

    How many coins are you talking about?
    I wouldn't think weight would be a factor unless your mailing postal.
    I'd look into a courier IF your not going to make the road trip yourself.
    I'D make the trip myself and simplify the situation.
    MIGuy and Kentucky like this.
  5. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Slow down, please do yourself a favor and don't rush into selling your coins, you gotta be patient with this process, you gotta research or you're gonna get taken to the cleaners!! :banghead: What kind of coins do you have? Your bullion coins can be sold on Craigslist or ebay, you don't need Heritage to sell bullion coins at all, waste of money! Heritage Auction, will take all your coins and sell them if you let them but I don't think that's smart on your part at all. Surely, some of your coins are not worth that much money and you surely don't want to pay Heritage to sell ordinary Silver dimes and quarters or Morgans as it wouldn't be in your best interest at all. You can sell them on Craigslist or ebay, but before you sell anything you're gonna want to know what you have!! Do you have rare gold coins or something? If you have pics, please show us or if you've already posted pics, you can leave a link!
    Bluemorpho and Vess1 like this.
  6. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

    Ask Heritage who they have in the area where the coins are located, so that he / she can make a convenient trip to see them in person. Then they will have all of the information they need without you having to hire someone yourself.
    Bluemorpho and fretboard like this.
  7. rte

    rte Well-Known Member

    Don't overlook the bullion.
    If your mom bought what she liked and had a good eye, there might be some good stuff in the lot.
    Pictures would help narrow down your collections worth.
    As always there is a classified section here on the forum.
    Bluemorpho likes this.
  8. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    "Mostly bullion, some numismatic coins" does not scream go to an auction house to me in the slightest. Heritage would be a good place to sell better US coins in the $250+ per coin range. Selling bullion through an auction house is nuts unless maybe you have some very rare hand poured bars and the like, which you probably do not.

    Contact a local club and/or shop and ask them to pull out any valuable pieces that require special attention. I don't blame Heritage for not being excited based on your description. They'll take your money sure enough to bulk sell whatever you give them. Whether that is a good idea is a completely different question, and one that you should spend some time on.
  9. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

    Good point Jason. I glossed over the fact that this is mostly bullion, and not rare coinage.
  10. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    If you are executor on the estate then you have to do everything above board or you going to find yourself in a litigious situation with family especially if it's items nobody know the value of but thinks they know what the value should be.

    There's no way around an appraisal of the accumulation/ collection and an inventory of all items in order for it to be clear to the heirs what the value actual is and what they are getting. To get to that point though someone has to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak and organize and catalog the collection.That is your starting point.
    Gold needs to be separated from silver from copper from nickel clad. Then separated again by coin designs or types, then it's manageable to catalog what is there by dates and types.

    You can pay someone to do this in the appraisal but you are paying by the hour for the appraisal and ideally you'd want to limit that to as short as possible and have a good idea of what you have and what may have good value vs. What is bullion value or cheap even. A simple reference book like the red book can at least give you an idea if something may have a high value.

    There's no way around this work unless you want to trust some random coin dealer to be fair and not snake coins on the side, they shouldn't, but you leave to door open for it happening by not having it inventoried.

    It sounds like to me the distance is also a factor. If you are physically unable to do the job or just don't want to do it, you don't have to. The probate process can continue with someone else appointed to do the job.

    There's nothing worse than it taking too long for some heirs and fighting to begin along with accusations of self dealing or mismanagement of the estate. The longer it takes to proceed the more it looks like the executor is stalling for some reason and doubts set in.

    It's a serious job to perform between property, assets antiques or valuables, life insurances, stocks and investments and a coin collection. This can become a nightmare and if for some reason you aren't capable to fulfill the executor roll in a timely manner you'd be better off not doing it and the probate process appointing an executor that should be able to achieve the result of settling the estate and will efficiently and effectively for the heirs.

    When my aunt died she left everything she could to my younger brother solely and made her room mate her executor. There's no way to prove what she had or didn't have. There is no doubt her non working room mate took for herself whatever she could get like cash and stuff nobody knew about and stretched out probate and finalization for 3 years I figure my younger brother lost 200K out of the estate to her there were things willed or evidenced as existing that just disappeared and the answer was "it's not here she must of sold it at some point".

    I was supposed to inherit her coin collection in her will. There was no coin collection according to the executor and the attorney.
    After dragging it out for 3 years.... yeah. Anyways karma pays in full if it happened. For a fact she dragged her feet selling my aunts house so she could live there rent free for 3 more years and the estate pay the bills on it. For a fact she had no income but was blowing thousands of dollars a month while not paying a dime to continue living there.

    It is what it is. Like I said I got a coin collection willed to me that didn't exist that was never cataloged or seen as far as I know. Not much to go on. My brother still walked away with hard feelings after 3 years and $400K and his own attorney fees in order to and the house finally sold and get the estate finalized in the end he couldn't prove she was taking anything or living off the estate all he could prove was she was taking her sweet time because that's how bad my aunt organized her estate and will.

    So, if the 2000 miles is a problem for you to do it efficency and effectively I'd say you are better off not doing it and letting an executor be appointed instead rather than get all this Ill will feelings on the down low against you.
    Maybe that doesn't happen, just saying only you know your position and family members.
    Just saying you don't have to be executor even if it's been appointed in the will if you feel your in way over your head, and you can lean on the attorney who's gonna make things happen and take a fee in worst case scenario if it's something you can't do but without an inventory of what is or isn't there, and an idea of what it should be worth, you open yourself up to getting ripped off or someone that doesn't care giving things up for a song instead of what it worth just to clear it out.

    I know, I know, it's a long story. BUT I don't see any way around getting the collection/ accumulation organized and inventoried, and appraised while your at it, if you can't do the first two steps yourself to save that additional cost.

    I'd also like to suggest to everyone reading if you don't want this to happen to a family membe after you go, inventory your coin collection, and whoever the executor is at least attempt to familiarize them with the collection and where you stash everything so they know where and a general idea of it when the time comes. Try to make it easy because it's a daunting task to get dropped into without a clue.

    Which reminds me I need to liquidate my toys/cards/comics collections from childhood and get rid of that burden on whoever has to clean up my mess. It's a walk in closet full and I could turn that into cash and more coins for the collection because to most people that don't know all that stuff is gonna look like trash to them and be thrown away. I don't even look at them anymore so feeling like I should let them go so it doesn't become someone else's problem
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
    Bluemorpho and Dougmeister like this.
  11. I would suggest getting it appraised locally. If the collection is mostly bullion, it may be better just to sell that locally. You will then have a lesser amount of numismatic items left which will be much more manageable. Good luck! TC
  12. Mark68

    Mark68 Well-Known Member

    First make sure you are following the laws in the state your mother lived in. Some states require probate if the estate in over a certain amount. As already mentioned, find a local appraiser and have the estate pay for it. Probably best to sell all coins then distribute money, because there is always one in the family that will give you problems. Having an attorney(for your protection) on retainer is advised.
    What a cool mom to leave such an interesting inheritance. Best of luck and sorry for your loss.
    John Burgess likes this.
  13. stldanceartist

    stldanceartist Minister of Silly Walks Supporter

    When I contacted Heritage about selling a large group of my graded coin collection, I was informed (at a later stage, once someone actually looked at the inventory list I provided them with my first contact) that any coin worth less than $500 would be placed in mixed sight-unseen dealer wholesale lots with no minimum reserve price.
    John Burgess likes this.
  14. Bluemorpho

    Bluemorpho New Member

    You guys are Amazing! I'd prefer to respond to each of you individually, but I wasted a bunch of time doing that on my last post, and for some reasons none of my responses posted. (I know I can contact moderator, that's a different story).

    Know What You Have: I appreciate the advice from many that if we don't know what we have, we'll be taken to the cleaners. In an earlier post, several had said that the rough inventory I had was more than enough and not to put anymore effort into it--just send collection to Heritage. It's become clear through this process, though, that There's No Way Around an Appraisal. I need to hire someone locally before anything else is done to inventory and appraise the coins for several reasons. The problem with this is that there are no reputable dealers locally. However, after learning here how to find someone reputable, I made some phone calls, and may have found someone not locally but in the region. I also appreciate the suggestion from ToughCOINS to ask Heritage if they can recommend someone in the area.

    Inventorying & Selling them Myself: Siblings and I did make a rough inventory but none of us knows coins. It was pretty comical. While I appreciate coins, my task list overfloweth even when not settling my mothers estate, and my guitar gently weeps in the corner along with my paint brushes, my hiking boots and pruning sheers. Frankly, right now there isn't a cell in my body that wants to spend my time selling coins on e-bay. As noted by John Burgess, this is a daunting task for someone who knows nothing about coins.

    Bullion Doesn't Scream "Go to Auction House": Heritage has been clear that auctioning the coins is not in our best interest. The general discussion has been that they would give us a spot price purchase offer for bullion, while the numismatics would go to gallery sale. But as I've found with this process, I need a basis to determine if the spot price is, well, spot on? And if I don't carefully review the contract, I can see how there might be some clause that gives them discretion to sell coins in whatever way they deem best, such as wholesale lots with no minimum reserve price.

    Laws and probate: Thanks for you comments on this topic. I have been consulting with our estate attorney throughout this process. My mother had a trust and the estate is not going through probate. My intention is to ensure that this process has integrity throughout.

    My conclusion: Take the necessary time to find someone reputable in the region to inventory and appraise the coins before doing anything else. After that is done, determine, based on the inventory and recommendations of neutral third party numismatists, best approach for selling the coins that need to be sold.

    Thank you all for your input, much appreciated!!
    rte, MIGuy and ToughCOINS like this.
  15. Brian Calvert

    Brian Calvert Active Member

    If i were you, I would post the city where the coins are. City and State, then grab 2 people to work together from this site, fly out to meet them and let them do it for you at a cost. 10% of sales... That way, you dont get ripped off.... Have them use the local too.... Your in for a long haul, lots of work, and the different between a 67 and 68 can be life changing...
  16. stldanceartist

    stldanceartist Minister of Silly Walks Supporter

    Yeah, I was about to say - this would be something I’d love to be a part of. Just did a similar thing for my in-laws a couple months ago (about six figures worth of gold and junk silver.) Spent three days sorting it, documenting it, then splitting it between the family members. Was SO much fun playing coins with someone else’s hoard :)
  17. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    Yeah, I don't know why collectors do this to their family. It's not fair to leave a huge collection to family without documentation. YOU INVENTORY IT. YOU"RE THE COLLECTOR. Don't leave it to a non-collector that lives 2k miles away to figure it out. They don't know if it's worth $1000 or $100,000. Usually the family is in a panic to get everything sold and get the cash asap and so the people in the business of auctioning continue to skim off the top.

    I'm sorry for the original posters situation. I would take your time and learn. You almost need to become a novice collector yourself so you don't get taken to the cleaners by unscrupulous buyers. Auctions are great and the market is hot right now luckily, but there are hefty fees involved that you should be aware of.
    Bluemorpho and fretboard like this.
  18. Bluemorpho

    Bluemorpho New Member

    Thanks Vess,
    My mom did apologize, but she just didn't have the wherewithal--she inherited it from her husband, who wasn't an organizer. But the way I saw it, honestly, when she apologized was "you're kidding me--you're leaving us these valuable coins!" But appreciate your sentiment.
    Vess1 and MIGuy like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page