Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Treasures in your clients' estates?

Collectibles and stuff can be worth a lot these days. Case in point, the life-size bronze of a girl holding a sundial shown here. Five or six copies of the sculpture, created by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, were cast by Gorham in the 1930's. The provenence is uncertain, but this one just may have decorated the grave site of my wife's Wall-Streeter grandfather, who died in 1939, before passing through the hands of various collectors.

Today at Sotheby's auction of American art, Roses of Yesterday was expected to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000. She did a bit better than that, selling for $632,000 including buyer's premium.

Some treasures aren't obvious, allowing them to be thrown out in the trash when a home is cleaned out after Grandma dies or moves to a nursing home. This Wall Street Journal article cites an instance where a son threw out the family silver.

An earlier Journal article reports on an executor who junked a collection of antique sewing machines, only to find the collection was worth over $60,000.

Sometimes even junk isn't junk. Not since eBay. See this recent post on Death and Taxes.

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