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I had a telephone call as this issue was being prepared. The caller identified himself and said he was 90 years old.

He had purchased what he said were 10 Australian silver dollars from a company I had never heard of. He said he was going to leave them to his daughter. Did I have any advice for her as to how to sell them?

That last question startled me a bit. The caller did not say he was giving the coins to his daughter, rather he was leaving them to her. That to me implies that some period of time is going to pass between the phone call and when the daughter will receive the coins to sell.

I told the caller that his daughter would likely have to go to a coin dealer and offer the pieces to him or her. I asked if she lived near a major city. She did. I remarked that there were plenty of dealers in that area and she should have no trouble selling the coins when the time comes.

The caller wanted a specific dealer, but we do not make specific recommendations. We treat all of our advertisers as potential buyers and leave it to readers to choose from among them. It so happens that we do have advertisers that the daughter could conveniently drive to when the time comes.

Fortunately, I was able to sidestep the issues of value. A 90-year-old with just 10 coins, all of which are the same, implies that he got excited watching a coin program on cable TV, or he received a call from a telephone boiler room, or answered an investment ad somewhere along the way. Other than mentioning the seller’s name, the caller did not specify.

I could not tell if the caller was a subscriber. I sometimes want to tell people that they should call me before they buy these coins rather than afterwards, but I know that is not going to happen. It has been a pattern for over 35 years here.

Short of middle-aged children blocking their parents’ phone calls or taking the TV remote away from them, I expect there will be more 90-year-olds buying more coins to leave to their children.

At least in this case, even if the coins lose value over time, the amount involved is not likely to make a material difference to the daughter’s inheritance.
Who knows, bullion could soar between now and her eventual inheritance and she could have a pleasant surprise.

The caller’s request for information was so specific that I wondered if he planned to leave written instructions for his daughter. That is a thoughtful thing to do. Anybody who is planning to leave coins to noncollecting family members should provide enough background information and instructions to allow them to realize their maximum value when the coins are sold. The caller was certainly thinking in both a logical and considerate manner. He was also pleasant to talk to. I would never have pegged him as being 90 years old from the tone of his voice or the vigor of his conversation. I just hope he doesn’t buy any more coins for his daughter, or other family members unless, of course, he simply enjoys possessing them. He never did say if he was a collector. I would guess not.

 

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