When a family member passes, they leave a lot of things behind. While much of it will wind up being donated to charity, many families also wind up with family heirlooms – belongings with extra sentimental or actual value.

In some cases, loved ones make their desires clear for the heirlooms they have to pass on. In other cases, it may not be clear what your obligations are or what you should do.

It’s okay not to want to keep a parent’s heirlooms. It can be an issue of not having enough space to keep big items like furniture or simply not placing the same sentimental value on an object that a loved one did.

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But if you’re not going to keep them, what should you do with them? Some possessions may be too valuable to let a liquidator handle them, but in other cases, the value placed on the items might have primarily been emotional. These are tips for handling some of the most common types of family heirlooms.

Coin Collections & Other Hobby Collections

The value of collectibles is always a big question mark. When it comes to hobby collections like stamps, coins, or sports memorabilia, the collection may prove to have real value, or it can turn out to be a relative bust.

One thing to look for in coin collections is whether or not any are made with real gold or silver. Circulation coins were once made with some silver content, while collectible gold and silver coins can actually be quite valuable due to the metal content alone.

If you’re wondering how to sell silver coins, start by taking them to a silver coin buyer to have them evaluated. You’ll want to find out what you truly have from a professional. There are cases where a loved one may inflate the value of their own collection.

Antique Furniture

The first question to ask when you inherit furniture is this: is it antique, or is it just old? Older furniture isn’t valuable just because of its age. If it’s been mass-produced, there is not going to be much value there. Some of the signs of real antique furniture include:

  • Hand-crafted dovetailing is a sign of quality craftsmanship.
  • The use of multiple types of wood is a good sign, as cheaper wood was often used in parts that wouldn’t be seen.
  • Imperfect symmetry is a good thing, as it’s less likely to have been machine-made.

Jewellery and Watches

Old jewellery and watches can also be a source of value if you plan to sell them. These items are often the easiest to store and most likely to be kept for their sentimental value even when they change hands. However, unwanted or broken jewellery that contains gold, silver, or diamonds can fairly reliably be converted into cash.