What to Do When You've Inherited a Collection

May 30, 2022

Collections are as varied and unique as the people who assemble them. Whether it's stamps, shoes, or antique pewter, collectibles carry significant monetary and sentimental value.

How to Handle an Inherited Collection

If you've inherited a collection, you may be struggling with what to do with it. Regardless of what you ultimately decide to do with your collection, there are a few steps you should follow to ensure you have all the information needed to reach a decision.


1. Catalog Your Collection

Whoever you inherited the items from may have done this for you if you're lucky. If not, cataloging a collection is a brilliant way to get acquainted with it.


You likely won't have all the information needed to catalog the items exhaustively, but you can still make a good start. Taking photographs of each piece and jotting down any information you do know is a valuable first step. Even just having a complete list of pieces will be helpful for tax purposes, especially if you intend to sell.


If you're up for it, you might try doing some online research. Whatever your collection is, you're likely to find plenty of Facebook groups devoted to it. You might also post pictures on Chattic or try messaging community members who might be familiar with your items.


2. Protect Your Collection

Even if you don't plan to keep your collectibles forever, you'll want to care for them properly in the short term to preserve their value. Some objects require specialized storage solutions to keep them pristine. The American Institute for Conservation offers plenty of tips for caring for your collectibles.


You might also consider insuring your collection. You'll undoubtedly want to do this if you decide to keep your items. However, selling a collection can take some time, and it's best to have it protected while you wait for a buyer. Of course, to insure collectibles you'll probably need to have them appraised first.


3. Get an Appraisal

Regardless of what you ultimately do with your inherited collection, an appraisal is a wise move. Having an expert assign a value to your pieces means you'll have an easier time selling them for a fair price. If you inherited the collection because the owner passed away, you'll want to get this appraisal soon after you take possession to establish a date-of-death valuation.


What to Do With an Inherited Collection

Now that you have an idea of what's in your collection and what it might be worth, it's time to decide what to do with it.


1. Keep the Collection

Inheriting a collection that you're proud to display in your home is a fantastic gift. Whether you show off the collection as a whole or use the pieces to create an eclectic interior decor look, it's lovely to be able to provide collectibles with a new home.


2. Donate Your Collection

If you can't (or don't want to) hang on to a collection but don't feel right selling it, donation can be a viable option. It's also a good choice if the items do not have any material value. 


You might gift your collection to a charity that can sell it and use the proceeds. If the collection has some artistic or historical significance, you might also consider donating it to a museum where it can be displayed and enjoyed by many.


3. Sell Your Inherited Collectibles

Selling a collection can be an easy choice if you don't have any emotional or sentimental attachment to it. Assuming you already have your collection cataloged and appraised, the next step is determining how to sell it.


If you choose to sell your items online, Chattic is the perfect place for that. You'll find a community of people ready to provide a good home for your inherited collection. You can also get your items appraised before listing them for sale.

May 30, 2022

Read more

Are Online Antique Appraisals Accurate? Information You Need to Know Before You Sell Anything

When you resell for a living, you need to know you're getting the best possible price. We'll look at whether you can do that online.

Jan 17, 2023

5 Reasons to Make Secondhand Shopping Your New Year's Resolution

Let's face it; we could all use a bit of retail therapy these days. Buying a shiny, new object can be a quick shot of serotonin, but is there a better way?

Jan 10, 2023

Thrift, Vintage, Antique: Discover the Difference for More Informed Shopping

Discover a more complete picture of the difference between thrifting, antiquing and vintage shopping.

Dec 28, 2022

The leading community and marketplace for collectibles.