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Dividing old coins.... advice please.

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Some of you may have had similar problems. My MIL passed  this past week. She was 92 and was the "keeper of the coins" for lack of a better term. I'll explain. .. In her safe deposit box are 4 generations of old coins that just seem to get passed down from generation to generation. I think the oldest is a 1799 quarter. The majority are coins from 1880's to 1930's with a handful of silver dollars from 1850-1900, When I say coins I'm talking probably 150-200 ... pennies through silver dollars. (no gold though)

My wife and her siblings have said it is time to divide them up.  That's the question and the problem...how to do it and be fair to everyone. As with most families everyone has their own thoughts. My wife wants the coins to pass down to our boys. Her sister just wants money. (she had the balls to ask at the funeral if she could have her estate check before she left the next day... don't get me started).  The other two siblings don't really care one way or another. 

You can't just divide everything into 4 piles because that isn't fair. While there are a lot of wheat pennies or indian head nickels for example that could be divided that way. There are a lot of individual  coins the 1799 quarter for example or the single 1838 silver dollar. How do you decide who gets a single coin. They are afraid to take them to an appraiser for fear that some may "get lost". (local banker had a bad experience with an appraiser).  The wife said maybe just determine a value for a coin and if one person wants it they have to buy out the other 3.  That doesn't work because if 2 people want a single coin it could become a bidding war. Are that itself can cause issue  with hard feelings that may never go away. (family feuds have probably started for less) Buy a coin book to get a value for each coin. The problem there is similar to a used car... excellent condition to one person is just average to someone else.

My wife and I have talked about this, and it may be the very reason that they were never divided before.

Thoughts and advice please.

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Keep them together, if there is one of you who would keep the collection and maybe build it, let them have it at appraised value?  Just a thought, I know how difficult it can be with those issues.  Just remember that human relationships with family are more important than money.  I wish you the best, as it sounds like some of the family are already letting their true colors show.

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Public auction. If somebody wants it, they can buy it. Proceeds from auction are divided evenly. 

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This is a tricky one! I was/am in a similar situation. Dad collected coins, I knew this, didn't realize the volume. When he died, mom wanted me and my sister to split them up. I was/am in no hurry, the sister wants the money. We went to Christopher's in Des-Moines and got an appraisal. Took several hours. Long story short, we sold some of the common stuff and split up the 'easy' stuff. Keep in mind we only had to split it two ways.The 'hard' stuff to split will have to be dealt with some day, there is a book with rare coins that will take more time to split than I want to give it, may have to figure what it's worth and buy her out?  

I wish I had some good advice for you, unfortunately I do not. scraglycat has a viable option that may or may not be a good one. This is kind of a kindred spirit sort of post for me, it's never easy to split up an estate.

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Appraisal value is the only way it will pass a legal dispute if it goes that far. Sad to say, but been there and done that. 

 

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My grampa  built a gas station/restaurant/ grocery store in late forties. Every night he sorted coins. He died in 76 & gramdma continued store till 84 or so. One Christmas in late 80s she gave my mom & her 3 siblings each a bag of coins. Before my mom died she did the same thing, giving my brother & me each a bag.  One possibility in your situation might be for the 4 of you to sit down at the table with the pile of coins and take turns going around the table with each of you picking a coin to create 4 piles. Then you draw cards high to low to see who picks pile 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4 gets remaining pile.  Kind of like when there are only 2,  one splits the other picks deal.

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I am going to have a similar situation some day with guns and my three boys. I am thinking of letting them go in and pick one each in order until they are all gone, just don't know what would be fair in who goes first, second, third. Oldest first? High card? A lot of guns that they will be fourth generation to own. I guess I will ask them if they have any ideas. Might just surprise me and come up with a solution on what's fair on their own. 

 

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1 hour ago, sandhiller said:

I am going to have a similar situation some day with guns and my three boys. I am thinking of letting them go in and pick one each in order until they are all gone, just don't know what would be fair in who goes first, second, third. Oldest first? High card? A lot of guns that they will be fourth generation to own. I guess I will ask them if they have any ideas. Might just surprise me and come up with a solution on what's fair on their own. 

 

I have asked my dad, and I want to say it to all you, take the time to record the stories with the guns. Most smart phones can record it,  So the kids can pass it on, or the grand kids. 

I would make a list of any guns you want to go to a specific person,  and then have a lottery of some sort, good luck

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Pretend you 4 are picking sides for a ball game.

200 coins will go fast with each of you 4 picking out one at a time. 

That way nobody can blame another for their choices. 

Will take longer to get you 4 together in a room than picking out 50 coins each.

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16 minutes ago, AKwelder said:

I have asked my dad, and I want to say it to all you, take the time to record the stories with the guns. Most smart phones can record it,  So the kids can pass it on, or the grand kids. 

I would make a list of any guns you want to go to a specific person,  and then have a lottery of some sort, good luck

That is a very good idea. I remember walking cornfields in Eastern Nebraska hunting pheasants with my Bay State single shot .410, my Dad and his Stevens 12ga pump and my Opa with his LC Smith 12ga double bbl. Or sitting in a duck blind on the Missouri river by Blair NE hunting ducks and geese with my dad, uncle and other Grandpa and his Winchester model 1897 pump. Might give the guns a little more meaning when brought together again. It sure evokes good memories to me. 

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Draw straws for the whole lot. Keeps the collection together as it has been for many generations. The previous generations had the same problem and resolved it. Or if they insist on splitting draw for picking order and start with everyone sitting around a table with the coins in the middle. Also,who's the executor /executrix? This is their call ultimately on how it's done.

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20 minutes ago, exSW said:

Draw straws for the whole lot. Keeps the collection together as it has been for many generations. The previous generations had the same problem and resolved it. Or if they insist on splitting draw for picking order and start with everyone sitting around a table with the coins in the middle. Also,who's the executor /executrix? This is their call ultimately on how it's done.

IMO that ain't gonna work. He said one wants the money now. So if they were to win the draw they would sell off right away so the collection is gone at that point.

I'd say they only way to handle it is as someone else stated. Have an auction. It's the only way to do it fairly. If it gets into probate most likely they would have to be appraised then would be ordered to sell and disperse the money. If it gets that far the lawyers are going to get their share too.

 

Rick

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The exec makes the call. If one wants the money she can sell her 25%. The balance of the collection is still in the family if not intact. One heir can't hold up the other three. Make very clear to heir number four that if it goes to probate she will likely get nothing. And it will likely be the whole estate in probate not just the coins.

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18 hours ago, scraglycat said:

Public auction. If somebody wants it, they can buy it. Proceeds from auction are divided evenly. 

Thats exactly how our will is written. If someone wants something buy it

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Well guys, some good suggestions. But I don't think the auction idea would fly. I think 3 of the siblings would like them to stay in the family...ie  the coins divided. And not have them all bought by one family member. Because that is exactly what would happen.  (no need for details on that, just trust me)

As for probate and attorneys,  that was taken care of years ago. I bought the farm 15 years ago, and all cash/CD's/etc. were all signed over to the children several years ago. The children paid for everything. Even the mini-van that I mentioned a few weeks ago that I bought. I actually bought it from the 4 children, not my MIL. She had nothing in her name.  I know there are people here who will argue, but when told by 2 different attorneys that there will not be any probate issue, I take their advice.

Wife and her brother talked. The start is to get some sort of an idea of the overall value. Be it just buying a coin book and using average values, at least they have a starting point. Divide the value by 4 and the 3 siblings buy out the 4th. Now we are down to just 3 ways of dividing the coins. Since no single coin has any sentimental value over any other, you don't have to worry about all 3 siblings  wanting great-great-great gandpas lucky silver dollar from the civil war for example because for what we know there are no family stories attached to any single coin. Now if they can just all agree on the best way to divide them.  The one thing that I didn't mention is that the one daughter does not have any children so she has no one to pass her share down to.   Still could get sticky, but if they can just buy out the greedy xxtch, it will go smoother. She will probably argue about the value they come up with, if they tell her to pay for an appraisal  herself if she doesn't agree, that will shut her up. (there has to be one in every family)

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Don't forget the value of non-collectible pre -'1964 dimes, quarters, halves, and dollars.  Google spot silver price for current value.

Before 1965, US quarters were made of 90 percent silver. That means that due to the silver alone it would be worth about $3.50 (depending on silver prices). After 1964, the quarter is just made of nickel and copper and worth just 25 cents. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_silver

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When the in-laws passed there was a collection of silver coins , Indian head, steel , and wheat  pennies that had to be divided into four. All four siblings sat around the table and shuffled each type of coin  then made four equal piles any leftover  put in different pile then at random you  got your pile of coins and the left overs were sold to a dealer  and money split it was the luck of draw if your pile had higher value of coins . Everybody seem happy and was fair

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10 hours ago, exSW said:

The exec makes the call. If one wants the money she can sell her 25%. The balance of the collection is still in the family if not intact. One heir can't hold up the other three. Make very clear to heir number four that if it goes to probate she will likely get nothing. And it will likely be the whole estate in probate not just the coins.

Depends on the state. Here, if there is an argument and no one can get it worked out it goes to probate regardless of the exec. People blow off execs daily if there is a will and money involved. Most often a judge will order stuff like that sold at fair market and the money divided. And the added in problem is the only way to determine share fair share is to have the coin appraised. And seeing that each coin is going to have a different value getting equal shares in dividing up the coins is going to be difficult at best. That's why judges order em sold. Not that doesn't bar one or more of the others from buying em. 

While I agree it would be nice to keep something like that in a family about the only way for a parent to pass something like that on with intent of it being a family heirloom is to give it to one kid before death. Wills are made to be broken.

Seen way too many fights in court with unsatisfactory results. Especially in the last 10-15 years.

Seen it happen in the last couple of years. Once with some cousins and another when a good friends mother passed. On the mom passing they wound up in court over a 200 acre farm. The farm was ordered "sold at fair market as determined by the tax appraisal" by a judge. The good friend wanted to live on the farm. His brother wanted the money. My friend is on SS and couldn't afford a mortgage.

 

Rick

 

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give each of them a magnet and whatever coins stick to their respective magnets they get to keep...whats left in the pile is yours😄

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When dad passed away we put an agreed value on every item in the house. Then we took turns selecting what item we want. As each sibling picked an item that item & value was listed under their name. At the end we totaled the value of what each sibling selected & that was deducted from the value of the estate & then remainder was divided equally. He had a few coins, for those we each went on line & looked up that coin & placed a value on each coin as to what we each thought it was worth. Then added the total vale of each coin & divided that by the number of siblings, in our case six, that was the value we placed on the coin. Everybody was satisfied, at least as far as I know, and that way we didn't have the cost of having things appraised.

 

Some families will have arguments no matter how it is done. Wife had an aunt  by marriage who's mother died. The aunt & her sister fought over ther mother's underwear. Far as I know they haven't spoken to each other since. :~(

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This all sounds fine if you can get along. My folks aren’t even dead yet and 6 sisters are dividing estate. They don’t have much. Maybe about 20,000 worth to divide up. If it were up to me I would drive over it all with a bulldozer then let them divide it. Dad and mom were forced into estate plan years ago dad was facing prison for federal crimes. He put the land and machinery he didn’t loose into a irrevocable trust. That is solid and spelled out plus will land you in jail if you mess with it. He just has the usual oil cans and garbage in a few buildings plus their meager household and the war is on already, make your estate plans early. 

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8 hours ago, boog said:

When dad passed away we put an agreed value on every item in the house. Then we took turns selecting what item we want. As each sibling picked an item that item & value was listed under their name. At the end we totaled the value of what each sibling selected & that was deducted from the value of the estate & then remainder was divided equally. He had a few coins, for those we each went on line & looked up that coin & placed a value on each coin as to what we each thought it was worth. Then added the total vale of each coin & divided that by the number of siblings, in our case six, that was the value we placed on the coin. Everybody was satisfied, at least as far as I know, and that way we didn't have the cost of having things appraised.

 

Some families will have arguments no matter how it is done. Wife had an aunt  by marriage who's mother died. The aunt & her sister fought over ther mother's underwear. Far as I know they haven't spoken to each other since. :~(

That sounds like a fair and equitable way to do it.

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My wife's grandmother passed away a few years back, there was a good deal,of silver , China, etc. they had an appraiser come in. It would save anything getting "lost" and give you a fair idea of value. Many of those coins may be worth more for sentimental value than real dollar value. That doesn't make them less cool. 

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I've been down this road before myself....there is always one without question that just wants cash. So that is what I'd give her. Total divide by 4, cut her a check add 10% to CYA. That way she can never say she was treated unfair, and the coins continue through the family. She has to understand that she and hers no longer have any claim on the coins going forward. In my book anyone that would choose cash over family, especially if the total is not in 6 digit land has issues. Money goes fast, family lasts forever. The true value in those coins is in the story. Someone loved her family enough to hold onto those to pass along to her family. I'm sure that more than once she had been in a situation that the money would have served her well. Yet she went without to make sure that someone down the line didn't have too. I'd just buy her out and forget about it. Also I'd make sure my will was bullet proof and she wasn't in it.

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Get them appraised and then buyout the sister for 25% value in cash. Get a signed bill of sale from her when you give her the money. Then you are a half interest owner. Then you have to tackle dividing the other half up.

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