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Is Collecting Sports Memorabilia a Substitute for Estate Planning?


In the world of estate planning, conventional wisdom says that your family members do not want to inherit an uncategorized pile of your personal property.  In fact, the legal term “personal property,” which refers to all physical objects you own that are not real estate, might as well just be a euphemism for clutter.  Most of the time, your children don’t want your stuff; if they did, they would have asked you for it.  Likewise, it is in the interest to find out the resale value of your stuff, because doing so might pique your children’s interest in said stuff, and if it doesn’t, at least you can sell it and get more money for you to enjoy or for your kids to inherit.  The only exception is if your stuff is so cool that people would happily pay millions for it at auction.  Most likely, if this is true, you already know it.  For everyone else, a Central Florida estate planning lawyer can disabuse you of your unrealistic ideas about the value of your personal property and help you develop a more practical estate plan.

Mom Declutters Boy’s Baseball Cards, Boy Grows Up and Amasses a Collection Worth Millions

Like many children in the 1950s, Thomas Newman loved baseball, and he collected enough baseball cards to fill several shoeboxes.  When Newman was a young man, his mother threw away his shoebox collection while she was decluttering his closet, and Newman promised himself that when he was established in his career, he would replace his old collection.  He started on this project in the 1980s, after he finished his medical residency and began practicing as a neurologist in Tampa, Florida; he started by buying cards from the late 1950s, but many of the cards he had collected in his youth had appreciated in value.

Newman’s collection grew until it included thousands of baseball cards, football cards, basketball cards, and other memorabilia, including a baseball signed by Babe Ruth.  The oldest cards in Newman’s collection are from the 1880s, the earliest days of professional baseball, and the most expensive is a 1933 Babe Ruth card, which may be worth more than the $5.2 million 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card which currently holds the record.

In 2021, Newman died at age 73 of COVID-19.  His wife Nancy and son Stewart are auctioning his sports memorabilia collection, so that a new generation of fans can enjoy it.  The estimated value of the collection is $20 million.  Newman’s estate made the news this year because of his impressive collection of sports memorabilia; new outlets did not give any details about plans he made for any other probate or non-probate assets.

Let Us Help You Today

An Orlando estate planning lawyer can help you make plans for an estate that includes collectors’ items with a high resale value.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. for help today.






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