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Lessons to Learn at Sad Times

Debbie Porter

At Potteries Auctions, we can help you and your family empty the house of your loved one, and help you to get a good price at auction for items of value.

We recently put together an article that looked at how to value an estate and deal with probate and another article that looked at helping you to decide whether to take household items to a charity shop or not.

We hope that these have been useful in guiding people who are in the unfortunate position of having to wind up someone else’s affairs.  Our expert valuer Rod Gibson also has this story to tell and so we will hand you over to Rod so he can tell you this story in his own words.

“The following is a true story, and unfortunately all too symptomatic of what still happens to this very day.”

“I arrived at a house in Stoke-on-Trent on a routine house visit to look at a deceased estate, a sad but necessary part of my job at Potteries Auctions.  As I walked down the drive, I noticed a large skip that was filled to the brim with household items interspersed with some, potentially, once valuable items that I could see were now all damp and damaged.”

“As I talked to the family, I was told that a relative that understood these things had ordered a skip, sorted out what was rubbish and thrown it in the skip.  I was told that they had also sent box loads of worthless items to charity shops, but had kept the really valuable items for me which were all boxed up ready for me to go through.“

“Each item in the boxes took ages to unwrap, and I found all too often as I made progress, that the excessively bubble wrapped and extensively sellotaped packages revealed worthless pieces.  When questioned further, it became obvious that some potentially valuable items had either been thrown away or sent to charity. None of the costume jewellery had been checked before being discarded, albums of old postcards had been thrown away, old toys and teddies sent to the skip outside. It was quite obvious the relative who thought she knew everything, sadly knew very little. It was a very disappointing time for us all knowing of the chances that had just recently been missed.”

“After sharing with the family that there was nothing I could do to help, I left the house. As I walked past the skip and glanced at a rain sodden teddy, once worth £50 or more, I reflected on just how much money that family had unknowingly thrown away.“

“The moral is, call us in early and throw nothing away until we have seen all items.  And I would also add that if you need to wrap up items, then pack them in newspaper or bubble wrap sparingly. Try and avoid sellotaping packages up, instead pack them into boxes so they don’t move about inside.” 

“And in conclusion, assume nothing is worthless. We can tell you the value of nearly everything immediately.” 

Selling at Auction

If you have collectible pieces you’re looking to sell, Call 01782 638100 or to book a valuation appointment to attend one of our Tuesday valuation days. We also provide valuations via WhatsApp, simply send some clear photographs of your items via the app to 07864 667940. Additionally, we can send you links to our catalogues via WhatsApp–message the above number via the app and ask to receive our catalogues. Make sure you are subscribed to our email newsletters, too!