What will happen to your collection when you...

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Only a Poor Old Man, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    ..find yourself a passenger in Charon's boat on the river Styx?

    The timing may seem unfortunate for such a topic with the pestilence going around, but Coronavirus or not, we will ALL die at some point.

    We have all devoted a lot of time and money on amassing our collectables, so it is fair to wonder and worry about what will happen to them when we are not around anymore. Some people may adapt the 'I don't care, I am dead' approach, but I doubt that they are many.. I think that most collectors do not regard themselves as owners of their collections. I and many others see us as merely custodians of valuable (artistically and historically) items that should be passed on the next caring and knowledgeable individual or organisation.

    The most common suggestion is the one that makes me cringe the most. To donate them to a museum... As a member of a few collectors societies, I had the pleasure to interact with museums and have access to their collections in a more privileged manner than your average museum visitor does. I have raised the same issue with curators and the answer I usually get is that donated private collections usually end up in storage. It is also sometimes the case that our collectables will not be maintained properly. We often found that as collectors our specialised knowledge of our pieces exceeds the knowledge and skills of many generically educated museum staff. In most cases the staff are glad to have us around and take our advice, but sometimes we are regarded to be a nuisance and get ignored. Tha's why a museum should be the last place for my pieces.. My only exception would be small quaint village museums that could actually benefit from having my items on display, but only provided that the staff are equipped to display and care for them properly.

    The other common avenue is for the collection to be sold off in an auction by our families. This is more acceptable as the pieces will end up with collectors, but ideally I would like the collection to stay in the family. The problem for most of us I imagine is that our families do not share our passion... But I made it clear to mine to hold on to the collection for as long as possible, hoping that the younger family members or their children will eventually take an active interest in the collection.

    What are your thoughts? What would you like to happen to your loved coins or other collectables?
    Ajax, Deacon Ray, dlhill132 and 13 others like this.
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  3. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    Love the artwork!

    No telling what the wife will do with the thousands of ASEs I collected over the years...probably try to cash them in at the bank. The vintage coins go to my son-in-law who can dispose of them in any fashion he chooses.
  4. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    This may or may not be true, but it DOES capture the essence of my feelings:

    On his death bed, Alexander (III, the Great of Makedon), summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:

    1. The best doctors should carry his coffin

    2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery, and

    3. His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see.

    One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.

    Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:

    1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal

    2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth

    3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.

    TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life.

    May you have plenty of TIME and may you have the wisdom to give it away

    Hence, MY Avatar caption has stated for years here on CT:

    Personally, I have always told my 6 Daughters: You come into this Life buck-nekked (totally naked -with nothing)... You leave this life buck-nekked. The only difference, and what you take from this Life, is your accumulated experiences, knowledge, acts of kindness, and how you lived your life as a Human. Everything else does not matter. Your Immortality is how you are remembered as a Person, not what you had.


    Makedon Alexander III - Alexandrine Babylon Di-Shekel Tet 24mm 16.35g LIFETIME 328-311 Baal - Lion

    I will add: I trust if my Daughters join CoinTalk and inquire about disposition of my accumulation, that there would be help as to the collection's disposal.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
    Pavlos, Ajax, octavius and 27 others like this.
  5. QuintupleSovereign

    QuintupleSovereign Active Member

    I've been trying to get my collection organized in albums with a label specifying the ballpark price it should go for.
  6. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I have instructions in my SDB where to send the coins and books for auction if something happens. I would like to think my sons would want them, but they are 6 and 8, so I don't know. If not, I got to have fun with them, I want to offer them to other collectors to covet, and my family will get some money back. Either or I am fine with.

    I am with you OP on museums. The museums don't want them, 99% of the people do not care, and the collectors out there want to OWN them, not look at them through glass in a stuffy museum. All of your coins you bought on the market, do everyone a favor and return them there to allow future collectors the same pleasure you had.
  7. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    I am trying to get my collection to family members that are truly interested. See https://www.cointalk.com/threads/what-to-do-with-my-accumulation.341614/
    My Father, grandfather and I have worked on the railroad. My Grandfather and Father as Engineers and me as a Conductor. I have switch keys and other daily use stuff that I am giving to one of my grandsons. He is the one who truly likes RR stuff and will keep it. Museums have enough stuff. Keep it in the family.
    Theodosius, DonnaML and Alegandron like this.
  8. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Seeing as I am only 35, it will probably be many years before I take a boat trip.
    That being said, my son FFIVN, has laid claim to the ancients collection. Everything else is up for grabs, assuming the kids want it. If not, I have things labeled so they know what is worth more than face value and can hopefully sell it and do something fun with the money (as little as there will be).
  9. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    I'd like to think I'll sell my collection long before crossing the Styx - except for a couple of coins to pay the crossing fee. The proceeds will hopefully fund something nice in retirement- whether it'll be a daytrip to the Isle of Man or a holiday home in Tuscany remains to be seen :D

    Whatever coins we have should pass on to a collector who'll appreciate them, not be lost to the collecting world.

  10. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    Rather gloomy, I'd say, but thanks for the undeniable perspective.
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  11. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    That is a trip I always regretted missing when I left my expat assignment in Wales... Someday...
  12. I have about 30 more years before I expect to pass, so enough time to get the special directive in order, the will, and so forth. I have drafted my will but have yet to print it out. Similarly, I have started working with a trust attorney to establish a family trust for the efficient disposition of assets to my kids, whilst avoiding probate. I haven't specifically mentioned coins unlike liquid, illiquid, and real estate assets I have in possession currently. Ideally, my son will keep the coins and continue to build the collection.
  13. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    I expect to collect coins for at least 40-50 more years.
    I have finally gotten around to making an archive, with expected market value of each coin. I have also instructed my daughter how to proceed if she suddenly would have to take responsibility for the sale (Don't be a sucker, and sell at a good auction house after having negotiated a discount.") She is pretty street wise and loves to do well, so I have no doubt she will succeed with this. However, I hope to be able to have an approximate plan for the trip across the Styx, and sell in good time before the journey.

    I loved the post about Alexander III @Alegandron . He nailed it.
    Theodosius, DonnaML and Alegandron like this.
  14. GoldBug999

    GoldBug999 Active Member

    First of all, I have a pretty good inventory of my collection which is a great starting point for making your final wishes known. I still need to identify several coins and sets that I feel should "stay in the family". Then, I have a list of coin resources that my wife, son, granddaughter - whoever is still around, can look at.

    Currently, I list David Lawrence coins as a reputable dealer who should be contacted regarding coins that will be sold. I also list several of my books that can be reviewed, and the great people at CoinTalk who are a very valuable resource.

    This plan will only work if I continually update it, which I plan to do. Maybe another coin dealer and an auction house will be added, maybe I'll sell off a bunch of coins, so the inventory needs regular updating, etc.

    Finally, I enjoy showing off coins to my family and friends, and maybe someone will take an interest in collecting, in which case I can see that they receive certain coins, or the whole collection. That's a big wild card - time will tell.
    DonnaML likes this.
  15. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    I want to be buried with my coins. I imagine the face of the guy in 200-300 years who will discover my bones surrounded by 2000 years old Roman coins. Scholars in these times will have something to write about.

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  16. Gary R. Wilson


    I plan on giving my collection to my stepson. I want the coins to eventually go to fellow collectors who will appreciate and take care of them I don't believe he cares much for this hobby so I will give him instructions of where to send the coins for auction and give him an idea of relative value of the more expensive coins. I'm sure he will be pleasantly surprised at the total revenue he will receive once all are sold. Since we are talking about death, here is a coin of Antoninus Pius who seems to be one of the most mourned emperors according to his coinage by Marcus Aurelius.


    Antoninus Pius (Augustus)
    Coin: Brass Sestertius
    DIVVS ANTONINVS - Bare-headed and draped bust right
    CONSECRATIO - Eagle standing right on globe, with head left and wings folded.

    Mint: Rome (161-162 AD)
    Wt./Size/Axis: 30.68g / 37mm / 360
    Rarity: Scarce with draped bust.
    RIC 1262 (Aurelius) var. (bare head only)
    Banti 68
    BMCRE 871 (Aurelius) note
    Roma Numismatics
    Acquisition/Sale: Roma Numismatics Internet E-Sale 46 #630 $0.00 06/18
    Notes: Jun 13, 18 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection
  17. Oh, I forgot to mention that I want a denarius in my mouth when I pass. Otherwise the boatman will not ferry me across the watery abyss.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  18. Jersey magic man

    Jersey magic man Supporter! Supporter

    It all goes to my kids. Everything is marked with price paid. If they can sell for more great. It was a hobby, not a money making proposition so for all I care they can melt and burn the stuff. I had my fun.
  19. Claudius 11

    Claudius 11 Member

    Family will get them sons, grandson's and great grandson's or daughters I'm sure they will be looked after also remember(to dealers) you can't take them with you
    DonnaML likes this.
  20. Johnnie Black

    Johnnie Black Neither Gentleman Nor Scholar Supporter

    If the Lord wills it I’ll collect for many more decades. Maybe my son will take an interest and, if not, hopefully a future grandchild or nephew (no nieces so far). If that doesn’t take place then I’ll leave instructions for a relative to bring it all to a reputable dealer to make it easy on them.
  21. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    I've been working to digitally catalog my collection, including "estimated value" and references to three comparable examples sold at auction. This will be valuable if I tip over suddenly, but also for insurance purposes while I'm alive. The values won't reflect inflation or fluctuations in the coin market, but it will help.

    As for where they'll go when I die: nobody in my circle cares at all about my coins, so I may sell when I retire to finance some world travel. Or, I may just decide to be buried with them ;)
    Theodosius likes this.
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