Nonperforming Asset, Keepsake…Or Costly Nuisance?

For over 30 years, Hess Fine Art and our sister business, Old Northeast Jewelers, have bought major estates, bankruptcies and liquidations — almost on a monthly basis. Over a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth.

When Is The Right Time To Sell?

We’ve helped the U.S. Bankruptcy court, five museums, the Shriners, banks, the Vinoy and entities like USF                  (and some high-profile local divorces). But most things that come in are smaller estates.

We help museums, banks, attorneys and trust officers who know exactly what they have to do.  Families, however,
are different. There have been times when entire families have crowded our compact office with us helping sort and
value the items, and sometimes even mediating between siblings!



The number-one argument among siblings is rarely monetary, but an entitlement, attachment or emotional issue; and that problem is easily solved. Auction everything and distribute equally.  If something is important to a sibling, they can purchase it at the auction.  A frequently asked question is, “Should I sell it?”  A powerful question with no definitive answer.

Some guidelines. Rule 1: if it will hurt your heart or your mind, it is simply not the time to sell. But if the items are
cumbersome — large oil paintings or statuary, pieces stored in expensive storage units — get rid of them. If you
are paying high insurance bills for fine jewelry, now may be the time to sell.  If you have what Katrina calls ‘nonperforming assets,’ sell them instead of worrying about them being stolen, or paying for storage and insurance. Valuable things lying around can be turned into a VERY safe 4% money market or a fast-rising and relatively safe portfolio of tech and bank stocks, or that long dreamed-of vacation. See Rule 1.

oil painting


Or you could do what the Vikings did. Put all your treasure, gifts and weaponry on a boat, then set it on fire and send it out to sea. Make the kids do their own empire building. Blaze their own path. Like you did, darn it!

 We are always buying antiques, fine art and collectibles.
 We will meet you at your bank or attorney’s office.
 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. We make house calls statewide.

This is an archival article formerly written and is for informational purposes only. The valuations in this article have likely changed since it was first written.

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