Senior collectors need an exit plan for treasures

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Since we began writing this column, we have had many readers come into our shop to sell their collections or get advice on values.

In most cases, we have assisted in the these requests; however, there have been some collections of unusual objects about which we have no expertise. Clocks, watches, Valentines, die cast, and vintage tools are jut a few that have come our way.

In these cases, we do our best to steer these sellers in the right direction.

You might recall about six months ago, "Jack and Jill" of Sun City came to us with a massive collection of sports materials. We agreed to help them divest in several phases.

Phases 1, 2 and 3 are now complete to very good satisfaction. There are approximately five more phases to finish this project.

A "collection" starts with the accumulation of three or more items of a category, and then it visually explodes into untold numbers. Here's a recent case in point:

A Lowcountry resident we'll call "Mary Worth" came to us wanting to sell her collection of children's plates. She assured us these were not the common "limited edition collector" plates, but rather real, vintage, whimsical plates adorned with images of children, animals, Kewpies and the alphabet, circa 1906-1920.

As with all collectibles, condition is of paramount importance, and she advised that she and her late husband were very particular prior to purchase, and very few plates had minor chips.

Next question: Are these stored in boxes or on display? And then: How can we view them? Mary invited us to see the collection and said there are "many."

Upon our visit ... Whoa! On display in custom cabinet racks and hangers were 327 plates. It was a sight to behold! Immediately, the wheels in our head were turning as to how we would approach this collection.

As reported in previous columns, we advise that a prospective purchaser must research prior to buying on consignment in order to satisfy both parties. Mary objectively realized that the point is not what she paid, it's what someone else is willing to pay in today's market.

We are going to do everything possible to assist Mary, as she is hoping to downsize. Stay tuned regarding this project.

The aforesaid is an actual case of a collector of a high-quality collection of objects that now have a very limited universe for a collection this massive, and to piece it out would take years.

Mary Worth is not alone, as there are many collectors here in Beaufort County that could face the same dilemma. Seniors should plan an exit strategy for their beloved collections, and by all means realize and remember how exciting and fun it was to find them, along with the enjoyment of display and ownership.

Most of all, relish the satisfaction of being a temporary caretaker of history.

Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.

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