|I am not dead yet!
Today at the Virtual Wargames Club ("VWC") meeting on Zoom, I posed the question on the matter of what happens to all of our war gaming figures and books and terrains after we die. Have any of us made plans for how our family will dispose of our collection?
I haven't, at least not in a direct way. I've told my nephew that it is all his when I leave this mortal coil but I have not written down any specific instructions on what to do with the large mass of wargaming impedimenta that I own.
War Game Figures
One of the fellows in the VWC said that he has appointed an executor to dispose of his war gaming things. This sounds like a good idea and something that I plan on doing. I would give my spouse a list of general instructions on what to do and identify the items that have significant monetary value, such as certain books or terrain pieces. I would also give her a list of people to contact to help her sell off as much as she can, albeit at pennies on the dollar, I would imagine. Maybe some of my war game armies would be given to certain people who have an interest in a particular army. Other armies would be sold at a deep discount or simply given away to one of the companies that sells used war gaming figures.
|My 54mm Sudan collection.
I think that most of us have an unrealistic and inflated value that we assign to our war game figures. What is important to us probably gets a "meh" from the majority of people. Unless your wives, sons, daughters and nephews are war gamers, they probably assign nothing more than some sentimental value to our figures. They are not going to want to keep my collection so they should try to monetize it as best they can. To think otherwise is not realistic.
A list of passwords to my various sites is also on my to do list.
Another VWC member indicated that he had some experience with disposing the books of one of his friends. He found that in general there is very little value in the books that we have all collected over the years. Public libraries and non-profit groups like church rummage sales or Goodwill stores have no interest in our books. They are probably trying to dispose of their own books too. Many books end up going into the garbage can and taking up permanent residence in the land fill or waste furnace.
I should make a list of which books I think has some value to them so that my survivors don't just throw them away. For example, my folio of the complete set of Menzel picture plates has a value that exceeds $1,000 so I would want my spouse to be aware of this. One of my Robert Griffing books about his American Indian drawings is out of print and goes for around $500 on the used book market. There are a few other books in my library that fall in this category.
Let's face it, most of our more valuable books would probably sell for $10 if we were lucky enough to find a buyer.
Disposing Your Goods Before You Pass Away
Another idea is to cull your collection down to a smaller number of historical periods the older you get. You know the current market value of your figures and you probably have a good idea of where to sell them. In other words, do the disposal work yourself before you die (there, I've said that word - "die or death").
I think about the categories of historical periods in my collection and ask myself which one period would I keep if The Supreme Being told me to get rid of everything but one period. Peter Young would approve of this.
I own 28mm Late Romans & Barbarians; 28mm RSM French, 30mm Staddens and Surens for my Big Battalion games, 30mm Napoleonic British, Prussian, Russian and French figures on single bases that I use for Big Battalion games; my own Minden SYW Prussians, Austrians and Russians; my Fife and Drum AWI collection; 54mm Sudan; and now 54mm Punic Wars.
|My Late Romans probably would not make the cut.
I would ask myself, "when was the last time that you had a game with a particular collection of figures"? This question led to me selling my 28mm ACW and 28mm Napoleonic collections back in 2010. I plowed the proceeds into my Fife and Drum Miniatures business. And then for some crazy reason I started a new 28mm Napoleonic collection for Big Battalion (60 to 72 figure battalions) war game. Go figure.
|My Minden SYW collection - the obvious winner.
There are some hard choices ahead for me. I don't have to make them right now, but now that I am 69 years of age, it might be time to start thinking about these things.
What do you think?