Coin collecting, like golf, is a hobby people can and do enjoy over a lifetime and one that can grow more enjoyable and satisfying with age (and additional resources). At Mullen Coins we see many older clients, and some of them are at the point in their lives when they are trying to decide what they will do with their collections due to downsizing, investment liquidation, or when making a will. No one enjoys thinking about death, but for many collectors, their coins are personally very meaningful, and so it’s appropriate that they are afforded this consideration.
The first thing that all coin collectors need to decide is if they want to sell all or part of their collections or if they want to transfer them to their heirs. This may be a complex decision if the collection is quite valuable, if there are multiple heirs, or if one or more of the heirs has an interest in coins. For people who are worried about arguments breaking out among family or friends later, selling a collection and dividing the money between heirs is one way to bypass that problem.
For anyone who views their collection as a piece of history, either generally or personally, that will make a difference. Breaking up a carefully developed collection may be too unhappy a choice to contemplate. They would rather leave it to one person who will continue to treasure it. Either way, it’s important to write down your intentions with detail and include them in your last will and testament so it’s official and everyone will know your wishes.
If you intend to leave your collection to your heir or heirs intact, make sure to provide them with written instructions on how to store and properly care for their coins. Another collector will know that coins need to be stored in a clean, dry, and climate controlled place and that coins should not be removed from protective holders or be cleaned or touched with bare hands. Other people will not. You’ll want your collection to be taken care of and the individual coins respected after you are gone.
Whether your heirs are coin collectors or coin enthusiasts themselves, it’s also appropriate to write down the stories you have about your collection. This would include stories about the coins themselves, their provenance and history, so that people can understand why they’re important, and why you took the time to collect them. It would also include any interesting anecdotes about your own collecting history. If you take the time to video your collection or tape yourself talking about them, this will make a nice memory for your loved ones later. Your coin collection is a the result of years of passion and enthusiasm and is therefore a part of you.
If we at Mullen Coins can help you in any way with these kinds of decisions, contact us. We also field questions from people who have inherited coin collections and want to know how valuable they are or how to go about developing their value further.