UPCOMING EVENTS

  • 06/23/17 - Carl E. Ocker...   06/23/17 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   06/22-23/17 - Bird In Hand Auction...   06/24/17 - Rene Snyder...   06/24/17 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   06/24/17 - Milestone Auctions Gallery...   06/24/17 - Zettlemoyer Auction Co. LLC...   06/24/17 - 3 Seasons Auction...   06/24/17 - Bodnars Auction Sales...   06/24/17 - Goodrich Auction Service Inc....   06/24/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   06/24/17 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   06/23-24/17 - Miller & Siegrist Auctioneers LLC...   06/24/17 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   06/24/17 - Leaman Auctions Ltd....   06/25/17 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   06/25/17 - Ron Rhoads...   06/25/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   06/25/17 - Earl Macilwain...   06/26/17 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   06/26/17 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   06/27/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Delaware Estate Sales...   06/28/17 - Allen & Marshall Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Martin's Auction Service...   06/28/17 - Embassy Auctions International...   06/28/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/29/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28-29/17 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   06/29/17 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   06/30/17 - Bostwick Auctions and Gallery...   06/30-7/1/17 - Chesney Auction...   07/01/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/01/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   07/01/17 - Wagner Auction Service...   07/01/17 - Blums...   07/02/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/02/17 - George Gibney...   07/04/17 - Doug & Vickie Hardy...   07/05/17 - Diefenderfer Auction Company, LLC...   07/05/17 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   07/06/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   07/08/17 - Howard B. Parzow...   07/08/17 - Kimberly Hemingway...   07/07-08/17 - United Auctions & Antiques & Rentzels Auction...   07/11/17 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   
  • 06/23/17 - Carl E. Ocker...   06/23/17 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   06/22-23/17 - Bird In Hand Auction...   06/24/17 - Rene Snyder...   06/24/17 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   06/24/17 - Milestone Auctions Gallery...   06/24/17 - Zettlemoyer Auction Co. LLC...   06/24/17 - 3 Seasons Auction...   06/24/17 - Bodnars Auction Sales...   06/24/17 - Goodrich Auction Service Inc....   06/24/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   06/24/17 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   06/23-24/17 - Miller & Siegrist Auctioneers LLC...   06/24/17 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   06/24/17 - Leaman Auctions Ltd....   06/25/17 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   06/25/17 - Ron Rhoads...   06/25/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   06/25/17 - Earl Macilwain...   06/26/17 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   06/26/17 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   06/27/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Delaware Estate Sales...   06/28/17 - Allen & Marshall Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Martin's Auction Service...   06/28/17 - Embassy Auctions International...   06/28/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/29/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28-29/17 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   06/29/17 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   06/30/17 - Bostwick Auctions and Gallery...   06/30-7/1/17 - Chesney Auction...   07/01/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/01/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   07/01/17 - Wagner Auction Service...   07/01/17 - Blums...   07/02/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/02/17 - George Gibney...   07/04/17 - Doug & Vickie Hardy...   07/05/17 - Diefenderfer Auction Company, LLC...   07/05/17 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   07/06/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   07/08/17 - Howard B. Parzow...   07/08/17 - Kimberly Hemingway...   07/07-08/17 - United Auctions & Antiques & Rentzels Auction...   07/11/17 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   
  • 06/23/17 - Carl E. Ocker...   06/23/17 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   06/22-23/17 - Bird In Hand Auction...   06/24/17 - Rene Snyder...   06/24/17 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   06/24/17 - Milestone Auctions Gallery...   06/24/17 - Zettlemoyer Auction Co. LLC...   06/24/17 - 3 Seasons Auction...   06/24/17 - Bodnars Auction Sales...   06/24/17 - Goodrich Auction Service Inc....   06/24/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   06/24/17 - Tom Lorah Auctions, LLC...   06/23-24/17 - Miller & Siegrist Auctioneers LLC...   06/24/17 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   06/24/17 - Leaman Auctions Ltd....   06/25/17 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   06/25/17 - Ron Rhoads...   06/25/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   06/25/17 - Earl Macilwain...   06/26/17 - Toomey Auction Service, Inc....   06/26/17 - Robert H. Clinton & Company, Inc....   06/27/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Delaware Estate Sales...   06/28/17 - Allen & Marshall Auctioneers & Appraisers...   06/28/17 - Martin's Auction Service...   06/28/17 - Embassy Auctions International...   06/28/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/29/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   06/28-29/17 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   06/29/17 - George Miller IV Auction Co....   06/30/17 - Bostwick Auctions and Gallery...   06/30-7/1/17 - Chesney Auction...   07/01/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/01/17 - Horst Auctioneers...   07/01/17 - Wagner Auction Service...   07/01/17 - Blums...   07/02/17 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   07/02/17 - George Gibney...   07/04/17 - Doug & Vickie Hardy...   07/05/17 - Diefenderfer Auction Company, LLC...   07/05/17 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   07/06/17 - Alderfers Auctions & Appraisers...   07/08/17 - Howard B. Parzow...   07/08/17 - Kimberly Hemingway...   07/07-08/17 - United Auctions & Antiques & Rentzels Auction...   07/11/17 - Hartzell's Auction Gallery, Inc....   
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Doing Some Good With Your Stuff
Doing Some Good With Your Stuff

March 30, 2017 Updated May 18, 2017

Doing Some Good With Your Stuff

Plan For Your Stuff

By Andrew Richmond

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Let’s continue our break from the planning process to talk about donations. Donating money or things is a great thing - it’s generous and can be a gratifying way to help a cause that means something to you. I regularly encounter folks who are considering donating antiques or art to their favorite museums. This always makes me smile. Museums depend on such gifts to fill needed holes in their collections and thus tell the story they want to tell.
Of course, when some of these folks offer to make their donations, they are told by the museum that their gift is not wanted. I then sometimes hear the complaining that they were trying to do something nice for such-and-such museum and their generous donation was rejected. When I inquire further, I’m told that they wanted to donate their Aunt Tilly’s wedding dress and their great grandmother’s spinning wheel to the historical society in a town where neither person actually lived.
Here’s the reality: a significant percentage of art and antique donations offered to museums are turned down (gracefully and with deep gratitude, I should say). Why? Because museum collections, even if entirely comprised of donated objects, are expensive. Art and historic objects must be stored, preserved, and insured, and that costs money. Giving an object to a museum is kind of like giving someone a cell phone for Christmas. “Great! The new iPhone! Thanks for the $100 monthly bill!” Okay, perhaps that’s unfair. But yes, indeed, giving a museum an object necessarily obligates them to take on the stewardship of that object, and that will, in fact, cost them money.
As a result, most museums are (or should be) using discretion when considering acquisitions, even if donated. They have collection policies that must be followed, perhaps a collection committee that will consider the donation. Questions like “How does this object help us further our mission?” and “Do we already have similar objects in our collection” are asked and answered. (The answer to the latter question with regard to wedding dresses and spinning wheels is a resounding “yes” from every museum everywhere.) If an offered donation doesn’t meet the needs of the museum, then it’s not worth them spending the money by taking on its stewardship. In the 21st century, no museum can collect simply for the sake of collecting.
Usually, as soon as I commend a client on wanting to donate something I immediately implore them to take no offence if the museum says no. They are grateful you thought of them, but for valid reasons, your donation is not appropriate. So how does one successfully make a donation? Just call the museum and ask to talk to whoever is in charge of accepting donations and simply ask. Is this something you could use and might want? If there is potential interest, they’ll let you know how the process proceeds. If there is no interest, I guarantee they’ll say “thanks” and may even have a suggestion for another museum that might have an interest.
By the way, this trend is happening not just in museums. Your local library will not want your late mother’s collection of romance novels for their shelves. And your local thrift shop may even be getting picky about what it takes (because throwing away unsaleable donations costs money, too).
Fortunately, there is a way you can still benefit your favorite museum (or other organization) even if they cannot accept the item(s) you want to donate. You can sell them and give them the money. Some museums, in fact, will take donated objects and, instead of adding them to their collection, will send them off to sale and use the proceeds to benefit their collection. Before anyone gets their hackles up, you can rest assured that no ethical museum will do this without your express consent (typically, in these situations, they have declined your donation but have offered to facilitate the sale in exchange for the donation of the proceeds). You still get to donate to your favorite museum, and they get a donation they can really use…win-win! And you can usually get another “win” because you may qualify for a tax deduction for your donation. We’ll talk about that more in a future column.