Follow
Share

I'm currently doing an inventory (Mom is helping me & wants me to do this) of their silverware, platters, candlesticks, crystal, and Mom doesn't want to pay for a professional appraisal.
Should I just weigh each item? Or is there some other values, these are all her wedding gifts mfr'd in 1950's and solid sterling.
She wants to distribute them "equally".

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
The real value of the earring sets is the sentimental value, they were worn by a beloved person. I bet the pearl earrings will be just as cherished. When my Gma passed, it wasn't her silver or her MILs fine china dishes that I'd have loved to have had. It was the glass cookie jar that she filled with her chocolate chip cookies for us kids.
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

When my mom passed away, we first sat down and said we recognized this would be an emotional time and we wanted to proceed in kindness. Our goal was to come out of the process closer as a family, rather than letting it pull us apart. Fortunately, most everyone is doing ok, accountable for themselves and holds a job. Not wealthy, but all OK.

We first said the three grown kids (myself included) all in our 60s would have first choice. Then the grand kids. I did an inventory, walked around the house room by room, listed furniture, paintings, carpets and broad generalizations about china, crystal, silver (and silver plate... who knew!). I put it on a spread sheet and oddly, once they saw the whole list, both my sister and brother only wanted a very few things and nothing overlapped. We did that decision process by email.

We found a few interesting things. Paintings, a very old violin, old books. I got three prices on those and found they were worth very little.

After the service for my mom, all the kids (in our 60s) spread out the jewelry on the bed and we each took a turn picking things. There wasn't much, but it was fun to see who was interested in what. Mom had a beautiful scarf collection and we made our choices. Then we spread the remaining costume jewelry and scarves out on the bed and invited grand kids and wives to make selections. Each person got a thing if there were multiples. Mostly it was time to remember my parents. My dad had handkerchiefs! Each of the grand kids got one, with a family initial embroidered. NO dollar value, but everyone got something to remember my parents.

We invited several firms in to look at the furniture, carpets and paintings that we all thought were worth something, but we had no room in our homes (the grand kids in very small apartments). Each piece was worth very little. Seriously beautiful chairs and bedroom sets were worth almost NOTHING! I got to the point that I was happy someone would come and remove it all. Even if we got $10 for something, it was removed from the house and that was helpful.

The violin, the old books, the few pieces of jewelry ended up not being worth much at all. We went to the big auction houses and appraisers. I invited people to come in to give me prices.

They all want to make money on your things, so they offer you the very minimum imaginable. They may resell for more, but you will never see that money.

The BEST part of the process was setting the initial goal at the beginning. Then the next best, was sharing the chance for the girls to pick a scarf and the boys to pick handkerchiefs. There was an old mink that the granddaughter who lives in the coldest weather got. No one else wanted it anyway. Animal rights people in the family...

Another surprise was silver we thought was silver, upon closer inspection mostly was silver plate. The crystal was cracking and we got very little money. We took a few pieces of sliver to several local coin traders and the chose the man we liked best. The prices they offered, by weight, were essentially the same.

Keep the family in mind. Use it as an opportunity to connect and get closer. Encourage discussion within each family line. Invite all the kids to tell their parents what they would like and let the kids know the parents will decide ultimately.

Encourage everyone to express their wishes and to talk it over. As mentioned, it is a chance to remember and to get closer to each other. By being open, talking about the process, reaching agreements on how to take turns and how to make decisions, who will do the research and how, you will set a good example for your entire family.
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

It's funny, the item in the house that I treasure more than anything else is a set of salt shakers that Mom & Dad bought in Chinatown when I was 5. We've used them everyday since then. They're part of my childhood. The furniture has changed, jewelry has changed, but that is a constant. I told my brother I don't care about anything else, but I want the salt shakers. Perhaps each member of your family has something that attach great importance to (other than the earrings). Something with emotional significance to them, that they would not want to see sold. THAT should be theirs, especially.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

I do know certain items are "of interest" and have been greatly admired by several kids & grandkids, for example some sapphire & diamond earrings set in platinum & white gold. I wouldn't dare to think of separating the pair! But, if those are worth $5, 000, its not fair for someone to receive them while someone else gets pearl studs (worth maybe $50). And she has 3 daughters but one solid silver coffee set, and one silver plate set.....these are obviously at opposite ends of the spectrum.
As I've mentioned elsewhere on agingcare, maybe the best would be to videotape Mom going over her items, recalling their history, and recording how she herself is having a lot of indecision and worry about who should receive it. That video could be shared with every one and in itself would be so precious!
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Also, mom gave my brother everything of dad's of any value that she did not want. Guns, tools, lawn equipment, dad's truck, burial plots (she really can't give those away) any and everything. I got his old Timex watch and an old shotgun they didn't want.

I am hurt that there was so little consideration of my feelings and I now feel my brother will get the lion's share of the money in the end.

So, at least no matter what the value of stuff, give everyone something that makes them feel valued and not hurt.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

If everyone values the expensive earrings over the pearl earrings, it's because they're expensive, not because they were worn by a beloved person. Sell the expensive stuff and split the money. It's easier when you have only one daughter - she gets the jewelry. My parents also have art, so that will have to be valued. We recently had someone come in and look at the stuff in here, and got an estimate of $3700 to give us an appraisal. We about had a heart attack! We're going to wait on that for the time being. We have a lot of expenses coming up with the move (another heart attack with that estimate).
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I believe it was on this site that the book "The Boomer Burden" (can't remember the author's name) was recommended as a good read to help deal with settling estates. I read that book, found it very interesting, entertaining, and enlightening. I have put into practice some of the recommendations in that book and need to go further but, alas, time seems to get in the way. As my sister's executrix, I have already told her kids that I intend to follow the suggestions in that book.

It's not easy to try to get family on board, and then friends and neighbors want to jump in as well sometimes.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

A *value* of an inherited item is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. Google each item to see if someone else is selling the same item or something similar to give you an idea of current market value.... but, unfortunately, doing that is very time consuming and you could run the gamut of wide price ranges.

Are these wonderful household items items that relatives/friends had requested in the past that they would like in the future? Or is your Mom going to distribute the items as she sees fit? My Mom has some really grand items but none of which I would really want, but I can't say no to her each time I receive an item. I slowly donate to top of the line annual rummage sales or charity run thrift stores.

The younger generation doesn't do fancy candle light dinners, using ones best china and crystal glasses. Reminds me of the BBC comedy "Keeping up Appearances" :)
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My mom collected china tea cup set, some with a little plate for a goody. She called her nieces and had them come over and pick out one or two sets they liked. She had wonderful visits with them and they had a treasure from her. But her crystal and china had to be donated because looking to our kids, we knew they really weren't going to want this sort of thing. It was difficult for my mom that her items were so devalued by the estate person later on, and that we weren't able to keep these items ourselves.

When you give items to family, be sure not to split sets - my aunt was so taken with equality that all the grandkids have about 6 pieces of Gma's sterling flatware :-).
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I wouldn't want to wish appraisals on anyone that does not have the right resources to do them. Unless you think something is rare and very valuable, it would probably be less time consuming to go with intuition and sibling attachments to items. Maybe one person liked a certain doll and the other liked a certain lamp.

I often have people writing me to get values on things. My answer is pretty much what freqflyer said. And having done appraisals over the years, I know it can take many hours for some things... and many things are nearly impossible to evaluate. I love it when people write to ask me for free appraisals NOT. It is a lot of work if I don't have a number on the top of my head.

Forgive the digressing. I would go by instinct and sibling preferences and not worry so much about absolute numbers. If you know something is likely to be valuable, google it and see. If not, the best thing to remember is that 99% if what people own is not collectible.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.