The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.
While that line in many forms have been credited to Mark Twain, I appreciate those who have written during my absence from writing. Thank you for your concern and I am glad that some here missed me!
My absence was because of a health scare that required my convalescence in a local hospital for the last 10 days. For those who have not yet experienced the recovery from a long illness, hospitals can be painful, frustrating, and frightening. Although my recovery was not in doubt, my wife and I had the discussion as to what to do if the next incident ended more tragically.
Those of us who are collectors may be the only one in our family who enjoy numismatics. We spend years collecting, accumulating, and appreciating the coins, notes, and other collectibles but when our time comes, we would like for those we love to carry on our passion. But seriously, if your family has not shown a real passion for your collection of has not started their own collection, it is likely that they will not be interested in anything other than selling your collection and moving on. It may be difficult to admit that the niece or grandson that appears to love to see your coins when they visit or is excited to receive a special numismatic gift may be more happy because of their interaction with you rather than your collection.
“I found your blog by searching for help,” opened one note. “My husband inherited coins from his grandfather and we would like to sell them.” The note goes on to explain how they know nothing about collecting coins and would just rather sell them. While I explain some of their options, one is always to save them and become a collector themselves. Few take that option.
This has become such an issue that there is now a book about selling the coins that you may have received from your late grandfather’s estate.
Be honest with yourself, does your family really want the coins or what the coins are worth. If you are not going to mind that they will sell your coins, then leave it to them. However, if they are not going to keep the collection and their disposition really matter to you, then you should figure out how to deal with them while you still can make the decision.
When my wife and I discussed estate planning, we talked about my rather large coin collection. I decided that as part of my estate plan, I am going to document how my collection will be disposed of when I can no longer enjoy it. While I will include gifts to some relatives, I will also include instructions as to what to do if the relatives are not planning on keeping the coins. I have counseled too many confused people to leave this up to chance. At least I know that if the coins are sold my heirs will receive proper value.
While I wish everyone a long, happy, and healthy life, we have to understand that life will end at some point. It is our responsibility to make sure that our heirs remember us fondly and not for the painstaking task of disposing of our collection.