This point is a very important one and I have read with interest the
MMDers' posts on this subject. Whether somebody has one piece or
a whole collection, the holders have only one chance of selling it.
Usually there is no immediate hurry but, if coming to a probate
situation, sometimes the party has just days to relocate (usually
on pieces which happen to be large and heavy!).
I receive many emails and calls from people who are in this position;
people who would not normally be interested in mechanical music but
who have been handed pieces or left an estate. They then ask _me_
what they should do with it! It's a pretty un-answerable question,
as I can't really be responsible for the fate of someone else's course
of action. However, there is usually material within the estate to
send these people in the right direction.
Society assistance -- for whatever sub-subject matter they are
dealing with -- is very welcome and a good place to start. Societies
such as MBSI, MBSGB et al, depending on location, will be able to
quickly and efficiently look into the best options available and
possible. Like-minded people like us tend to look after the machines
and people who mind said-machines with the respect they deserve; it's
The option of auction is dependable from house to house -- all auction
houses are different and it depends on how the specialist within each
house works. I can't speak on behalf of other houses, but here at C&T
there is a single selling fee and if it doesn't sell, there is no
I am dealing more with those to bequeath the sold funds to charity.
My personal take on the dispersal of any collection is to lay out all
options, look at each carefully and decide on the right one for that
particular collection. No two collections are ever the same, so the
conclusion of what to do with a collection is individual to the needs
of the pieces.
I don't just do auctions, I am also an adviser and member of most
mechanical music societies worldwide who would look at all options.
The advice given so far by MMD members is on the whole sensible.
Just remember: you only have one shot at selling a mechanical music
collection. People tend to remember a collection dispersed badly
rather than well.
Laurence Fisher - C&T Auctioneers and Valuers
Ashford, Kent, UK
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