One of the biggest and saddest mistakes people make is waiting too long to sell their valuable property. Many folks think that the best strategy is to hold onto antiques and collectibles for as long as possible in the hope that values will escalate or that some day their heirs might want them. However, these things happen very infrequently, if ever.
How long should I wait to sell my antiques?
When it comes to holding onto, or “aging,” your antiques, it is not unlike aging wine. The finest wines may improve over time, but will eventually turn to vinegar if not consumed at their peak. Average wines usually don’t ever improve with age and tend to sour quickly. And poor quality wines aren’t even worth storing. The same holds true for most old things. Only the best pieces remain desirable and even they have a peak.
For example, Beatles and Elvis collectibles were hot years ago when baby boomers were in their 40s, but now they are nearly impossible to sell. Why? Because younger generations don’t hold them in the same regard. Granny’s china and silverplate was once considered heirloom material but today’s youth wouldn’t think of entertaining that way. They simply live differently now, and chances are they will never go back to the old ways. Many Millennial and Gen Z collectors are not homeowners and simply don’t have the space for heavy dining sets and bulky china cabinets.
Won’t my grandchildren want my antiques?
Now as for your children or grandchildren wanting your old things: Don’t hold your breath. Most heirs will hang onto a special keepsake or two, but will liquidate the rest of your estate at their first opportunity. And because they’ll have the stress of estate settlement to deal with, and since they are probably not auctioneers, appraisers or dealers themselves, they may wind up wholesaling off what you spent your life accumulating for pennies on the dollar.
Use or sell what you want now.
Your best bet is to sell those items that you don’t use or love now while you can take your time to sort them out and find the right buyer. This will allow you to take advantage of the cash they may generate. Most of your items will not be worth much more in the future than they are now; in fact, they may be worth considerably less. And if you want to save something for the next generation, this is the way to go. Your heirs will appreciate inheriting the money without the headache of liquidating your accumulation of stuff.
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