The author of this article in the New York Times discusses how little her deceased mother’s personal belongings were worth. She was fortunate in that some of the items – a silver German tea service, a French painting, and a friend’s Tiffany lamp – are more common in New York than in other places.
Among the salient points:
1. In a best case scenario, contents might be worth 1/10 the value of the house.
2. Non-Baccarat crystal goblets are not worth packing up.
3. English and Early American antiques are not as valued as they once were.
4. Non-Steinway pianos are not very marketable.
My quick points:
1. I always advise my clients to not argue with siblings over personal property – the sibling relationship is far more valuable than any particular item.
2. Tastes in furnishings and household items change which leads to declining values in most items.
3. In addition to one’s personal belongings being worth less than expected, one’s children are probably not as smart as one believes either.