Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Discussions on Talking Machines & Accessories
User avatar
dzavracky
Victor IV
Posts: 1558
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:37 pm
Personal Text: college collector
Location: Knoxville Tennessee
Contact:

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by dzavracky »

As one of the younger collectors here, I don't have much to say about this. But this was an interesting read as I have often thought about this. Especially when I see posts about someone being "the first" to walk through a friends collection after their passing.

Not long after moving into my apartment, I had a moment of realization. In the unfortunate event of something tragic happening to me, my folks would have absolutely no idea what to do with my stuff. They know almost nothing about it, the stories behind each item, what I paid, what each is worth, etc. How would they go about selling my stuff? To whom would it be sold to? Would they even get a fair price for each thing?

This bothered me. It didn't seem right to have poured so much time into collecting and restoring all my stuff, to then not have any information about each item in the event of something happening to me. So long story short; I sat down and wrote a non-official "living will", and told my parents where it was. This way, I have explicitly said what I want done with all of my stuff, who should be contacted to help with the sale of my items, and the information regarding each machine can be passed on with them.

I rather dislike the idea of someone making a quick profit off of my passing. Especially when it comes to things I have invested COUNTLESS hours and love into.

Cheers,

David

JerryVan
Victor Monarch Special
Posts: 5335
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Location: Southeast MI

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by JerryVan »

dzavracky wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 2:24 pm As one of the younger collectors here...

...Especially when it comes to things I have invested COUNTLESS hours and love into.

Cheers,

David
David,

Good to hear from you again! You have a very nice collection and as such, your concerns are certainly valid. Very wise of you to "make plans", should the need ever arise.

In my case, my wife would not know what things are worth, but she knows they're not junk either, (at least in the monetary sense).

Dave D
Victor IV
Posts: 1228
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:43 pm
Location: Port Huron, MI

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by Dave D »

I think it was Jerry Van who reminded me that my wife will try to sell things for what I told her I paid for them. LOL
Dave D

User avatar
Curt A
Victor Monarch Special
Posts: 6430
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:32 pm
Personal Text: Needle Tins are Addictive
Location: Belmont, North Carolina

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by Curt A »

These issues are true about anything you leave behind, since you can't take it with you. I am the one who got the enjoyment out of finding these things over the years that someone else enjoyed or treasured before me, so I am not going to worry about what someone does with them when I'm gone. If your interest and enjoyment in the hobby is not understood, who cares, it's only stuff...

If all these items only have monetary value to the inheritors, then the whole point of collecting them is lost, anyway. If they have no interest in learning about them, or appreciating your interest in acquiring them, then why worry about it? If they get sold in a yard sale for nothing, it's on them.

Personally, I sold my most valuable machines because I was aware that my family would not know what to do with them or who to sell them to. Enjoy your stuff and don't expect the same interest from others. Just my 2 cents...
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
My Wife

Victrola20
Victor O
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:02 pm
Personal Text: If you can see the floor there is always room for more
Location: West Coast

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by Victrola20 »

Harvey. Your post is very timely considering a current situation I am aware of, and also considering the current age of a majority of collectors.
Although we dread the possibility, many of us will probably be dealing with helping out the heirs / family of a fellow collector in disposing of a collecton or our families may be dealing with disposing of our collections due to our untimely passing.
As we or whoever is helping our families, will have to make one of two choices
The first is to protect the family/heirs to make sure they are treated ethically and honestly.
Anotherwords protect them from having the collection cherry picked and being left with low end unsaleable machines, assure that they are getting a fair price close to wholesale value and assist them in deciding which important machine they may want to consider keeping to remember their loved one, even if we lust over it.
To accomplish this they will have to surpress their DNA to get the rare machines at dirt cheap prices or to buy things at 25% to 50% of wholesale prices so they can resell them at a big profit. Not an easy thing and probably impossible for some dealer/collectors.
The second option is to not protect heirs and facilitate friends in buying machines etc. at maybe 25 to 50% of whole sale prices justifying it by saying the $1000 machines has a broken belt or finish is rough or has a reproduction arm or on and off switch doesnt work or?? So it is worth only $200. The heirs are then happy as a clam to get $135 since they don’t know that the buyer is just going to flip it for a huge profit.
We are all looking for deals but the question is, is it ethical as knowlegeable collectors to do so at the expense of the heirs/families. I don’t think so and I think it is very bad for our hobby.
Collecting used to be fun and it was not being done based on how much you could make. Unfortunately many are now in it for the money not the hobby.
I think that most of us would very much like some of our families/heirs to keep some of our machines and then get interested in collecting to carry on. I know that some of our collectors that have recently passed are probably rolling over knowing that their prized machine they worked so hard to obtain was sold to a collector/ dealer who just sold it for a quick profit. I think we can do much better.

JerryVan
Victor Monarch Special
Posts: 5335
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Location: Southeast MI

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by JerryVan »

Dave D wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 7:31 pm I think it was Jerry Van who reminded me that my wife will try to sell things for what I told her I paid for them. LOL
Dave D
When I hear of a $500 Model T in your area, I'll be aware of your sad passing. :D

epigramophone
Victor Monarch Special
Posts: 5227
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Personal Text: An analogue relic trapped in a digital world.
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by epigramophone »

Steve wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:20 am I'd never recommend to anyone that they use any auction organisation as invariably the vendor gets a raw deal most of the time. It would appear at least in the UK that most auction companies have a half-soaked approach to selling anyway and rarely make any attempt to properly show or describe an item for sale. This is why prices achieved are often very low; internet buyers don't have the confidence to pay top price for a lot of items. Whilst this isn't meant as a dig at CLPGS either, I wouldn't suggest letting a private organisation or society sell on your behalf either as the sale will not be as accessible to the general public at large, if at all. It probably won't have the mainstream social media marketing either.

At least with Ebay, the vendors cut out the middle man and sell directly to buyers. It might be a faff for vendors with items they know little about but Google is your friend!
Unless the number of items was very small, I would not advise bereaved families to sell their loved ones collections on eBay.

At my age (nearer 80 than 70) I have lost many family members and friends. I know from personal experience that there are many things to be done when someone dies, and that above all, grieving families want closure.
Selling a collection on eBay is time consuming and involves a lot of work.
Starting or Buy it Now prices must be researched, then every item must be photographed, described and listed.
There may be questions from potential bidders which the family may not be qualified to answer.
If and when an item sells, it must be packed for postage or made available for collection by the purchaser.
Handing over the deceased's cherished items face to face to complete strangers may prove distressing for the family.

It could take weeks or even months to clear a collection using eBay. A good knowledgeable auctioneer will charge more than eBay, but will relieve the family of all the preparatory work and remit the net sale proceeds in a single transaction.

User avatar
Steve
Victor VI
Posts: 3180
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:40 pm
Location: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Evesham

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by Steve »

epigramophone wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:55 am
Steve wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:20 am A good knowledgeable auctioneer will charge more than eBay, but will relieve the family of all the preparatory work and remit the net sale proceeds in a single transaction.
Do you know any really good knowledgeable auctioneers who are currently operating and conducting regular sales? A lot of auctioneers have some very basic knowledge about many specialist items but few know very much about anything. The success of sales relies heavily on the buyers and their knowledge but if the buyers are not local and can visit a sale in person, they are at the mercy of a poor photo and scant descriptions. This is not the best environment to attract the highest paying customers and many people I've spoken to say they never bid much online anymore as it has become a very risky business with few, if any, comebacks.

In the past decade I've lost all my family and know how difficult and challenging it is to deal with everything else you have to attend to. With that said with the help of a one man band house clearance man, Ebay and three local charities of my choosing, I have cleared a house. It does take time and a certain dedication to the task and I did feel like giving up a few times but I got there eventually. I have a few items from my parents' house left over that i do not want that I will research further before selling myself.

As for handing over items which belonged to close family, I actually found a lot of satisfaction from doing this as I was ensuring the items my parents treasured the most were going to a good home if I didn't want them. Meeting people face to face somehow worked for me. I guess we're all different though. What worked for me might not work for everyone.

Jop Amberola 30
Victor O
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:51 pm
Location: SW Missouri

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by Jop Amberola 30 »

Many years ago I was the secretary/treasurer for a fairly large antique radio club. The club held an auction for a deceased member at their home. It was heavily advertised. Sure enough 3 collectors in the town bought everything of value before the auction. Most members had to drive 100+ miles for that auction. I gave the position up soon after.

epigramophone
Victor Monarch Special
Posts: 5227
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Personal Text: An analogue relic trapped in a digital world.
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.

Re: Fellow Collectors Taking Advantage Of Deceased Members Families

Post by epigramophone »

Steve wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 3:14 pm
epigramophone wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:55 am
Steve wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:20 am A good knowledgeable auctioneer will charge more than eBay, but will relieve the family of all the preparatory work and remit the net sale proceeds in a single transaction.
Do you know any really good knowledgeable auctioneers who are currently operating and conducting regular sales?
Yes. SAS. https://www.specialauction services.com/Departments/Music-and-Entertainment

Post Reply