Steve Roach

The Art of Collecting

Steve Roach

Steve Roach, Coin World’s editor-at-large, has been deeply involved with numismatics for more than 20 years, starting as a young coin collector in Michigan. Two years spent as a coin grader, nearly three years at a major coin wholesaler and a stint as a paintings specialist at an international auction house have given Steve a rich understanding of the hobby, its market and the unique personalities and exceptional objects that make collecting meaningful. He joined Coin World in 2006 as a columnist, and has served as associate editor and editor-in-chief. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan, a juris doctorate from the Ohio State University and is a Certified Member of the International Society of Appraisers.

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Estate planning not a sexy part of collecting, but necessary

To most collectors, buying coins is fun. 

Owning coins can be even more rewarding. 

Even selling coins can be a boost to the spirit, especially when you’re using the money to buy new coins. 

But estate planning for your coin collection, well, that’s not as fun.

However, it is necessary. 

When I speak on estate planning for coin collections to coin collecting audiences, I tell the audience: You know what’s in your coin collection. But does your significant other? Do your kids? Does your estate planner? 

When I speak on estate planning for coin collections to attorneys and estate planners, I remind them that a coin collection can be a hard-to-value asset that could make up a significant amount of a client’s total net worth. 

A hard fact is that most people don’t like to think about what happens to their things after they are gone. This includes their coin collections. 

The first step toward some preliminary estate planning for a collection doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as basic as an inventory that lists enough information for a non-numismatist to locate and identify items and for a numismatist to provide a value on them. 

Photographs help, as does a list of trusted resources that non-collecting heirs might turn to for guidance. 

The second edition of Cash in Your Coins: Selling the Rare Coins You’ve Inherited, the useful book by Coin World’s longtime editor Beth Deisher, has just been published by Whitman Publishing. The cover says it all, defining it as “the book that belongs in every collector’s safe deposit box.” 

It’s one of those rare numismatic books that offers something for multiple audiences. For noncollectors, it provides a basic guide to identification of items, determining value and how one should go about selling a coin collection. 

For collectors, her book provides a primer on collection management including how to write an effective inventory, rare coin appraisals and managing an unfortunate truth: taxes.

This week we’re sharing part of Beth’s chapter on taxes because it has important information that is relevant to many of our readers. 

She writes: “As a collector, neither you nor your heirs should pay more than is legally required. To ensure that you and your heirs don’t overpay requires action now, not later (after you depart planet Earth). Awareness and good planning are the keys to peace of mind for you and protection for your heirs.”

Collections should be thought of as investments and cared for as such. With some planning, a collection can create a legacy that may provide for one’s loved ones. 

But absent a thoughtful plan, a collection may end up being sold for a fraction of its value, or worse, may simply disappear. 

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