help!

Hi All
my father died at the weekend having been in a bad way since a heart attack last July combined with the effects of 30 years of diabetes.
He had spent most of his 80 years acquiring and hoarding :o(
Some of it is good stuff and some of it is going straight to the tip - as something of a magpie myself I am pretty confident that there are no gems being thrown away!
My big problem is that as an executor to his will I need to find out values (and find buyers) on some of his toys such as his Myford - I think its a Super 7 with an unknown but sizeable number of bits and pieces to go with it, its old and grey and he has had it since i was a boy making it 40 years or more old. There are other items such as mig welder, compressor, bands saw (horizontal with feed for cutting bar etc not a vertical one), pillar drill, watchmakers lathe, obscure hand tools, couple of old Honda generators with G series engines, an old MOD battery charging set and more assorted electrical fittings and bits than you can shake a stick at. Basically its a double length garage, with shelves, of carefully stacked 'stuff'.
I was wondering if anyone could recommend any other web sites or newsgroups to look at, other than fleabay, to see what kind of prices these items are making. I'll try and take piccies of stuff and put them up on my work web space - once I figure out how its done! :o)
regards
Dudley
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My condolences on your loss. I think I'm heading soon for a similar situation myself 8-(

Big advice here: PHOTOGRAPHS. And good photographs for that matter.
You can't possibly know what everything is. Few people could know what _everything_ is, even if they're knowledgeable in one area of it. The smallest, grungiest piece might also be a hidden gem.
So if you need to "ask" a wide range of people, and you can't write a description that really conveys what's important without knowing it already, then the photograph is your friend. If you need to, go out and buy a digital camera just for this (Fuji Finepix J10, IMHO) and sign up to an online photo host that isn't Webshots. A tripod makes the task far quicker and easier. A good light or two on a stand doesn't hurt either. Then get snapping. Also be prepared to re- photograph things on request, maybe turning them upside down, focussing in on that crucial nameplate etc. _Good_ photographs, and good photographs begin with good lighting.

That's a typical description. It might be a factory Super 7, it might be an ML7 that has acquired some Super 7 parts over the years. It's also an even chance that the toolset with it is worth as much as the basic lathe. For a watchmaker's or woodturning lathe, that would be almost guaranteed. So your only practical option is to photograph them, laid out flat.

Value between 10 and 1,000+, depending on maker ("Lorch" would a good start), type and toolset. Watchmaker's lathes are particularly variable.

1 for a Rolson plane, 2,000 for a big Norris or obscure rarities like a Stanley #101 1/2. Even for "insignificant" hand tools, you have to be careful and go through item by item. Especially so as hand tool values are more tolerant of poor condition.

Well you asked in the right place for that! Bloke over there, the chap with horns on his helmet.

rec.woodworking is another (in context)

eBay isn't bad. You might not get best price, but you're rarely "ripped off" as a half-decent listing in the right category and a clear photo means that at least a couple of people will see it and appreciate the "real" value. Bad photo on eBay though means only one 99p bidder (usually me) and a poor deal. How else do you think I got to buy all _my_ high-ticket tools?
On the whole, trust people and trust valuations. You'll _gain_ more from asking more people than you will from being cautious and not asking enough. This isn't antiques dealing - most people who might be interested in such things are looking to buy for themselves rather than to sell on. We all like a bargain, but IMHE you get a fairer price (or valuation) from someone who's possibly interested in the tools themselves - even to say "That's a rare one, it's out of my bracket but don't take less than ***" than you will from a shop-front dealer who's just buying to re-sell. This is _ESPECIALLY_ true of people buying Bridgeport mills, Colchester lathes and similar "big iron" to re-sell from full-page ads in the Model Engineer. A tenfold markup seems to be their working margin 8-(
Incidentally, the Myford 7 is a tiddly little lathe that's not fit to make anything usefully large. However it's also hugely over-valued. So flog it, buy yourself a big old Colchester and have 3-phase installed with the change 8-)
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Hi Andy and Tony
thanks for the mail
Perhaps I shouldn't own up to it but as it happens I am a photographer, although not usually of the kind of stuff in dads workshop!
You are absolutley right about decent clear photos.
The Myford was just right for dad. When he was still working he had access to bigger machine tools and he used to have a regular little job cleaning up commutators on electric motor armatures for a local tool repair shop at a quid or so a time. I reckon that over the years they must have paid for the Myford. He would have liked a bigger lathe but even he had to recognise the limitations of the size of his workshop. That said he would always try to shoe horn another shoe box sized item in at every opportunity!
Once I have skimmed through and disposed of the bulky stuff - like dozens of 10 or 20 yard pieces of armoured cable that he picked up as offcuts as 'they would be handy for putting a power supply out to a shed sometime' - you know how it goes!, then I will have some space to move things around and start photographing the interesting bits.
Fortunately we are not under any pressure to get this done but if i don't keep up the momentum it will all grind to a halt and then it will never get done.
Thanks for your condolences Andy. The only advice I can give you is to make sure you know where all of the paperwork is for the insurance policies, life assurance, bank accounts - including joint, utility bills etc and most important of all make sure there is a will and that you have seen it and that it is a valid will. As an executor of dads will its been a nightmare to sort out. Oh and get the name of a good solicitor who deals with kind of stuff - sooner or later in the process you will have to bite the bullet and hand over cash for advice and legal services. If there isn't a will get one made - do whatever it takes persuasion, blackmail or bullying to get that will made - no will disaster, especially if there is a property involved. If you are or are going to be a beneficiary you will need advice on capital gains tax, inheritance tax and reducing your liabilities in advance.
I'll try and get some photos of the Myford sorted in the next week so that I can get it identified.
I''also dig out the MOD genny, photograph it and mail young Mr Siddorn.
regards
Dudley
Andy Dingley wrote:

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Condolences.
If you were to indicate in which part of the country you are, we could perhaps direct you to your local engineering society who should have sufficient experts to help you with your valuations, including the identification of things that are valuable that you might dismiss as scrap
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Alun wrote:

May I add my condolences - this is a post I dread having to make one day as there is no mistaking where I inherited my mechanical magpie tendancies from! Hopefully not any time soon though.
Anyway, from the email address, I supect Dudley is in the Cambridge area and a little more detective work suggests that decent photos should not be a problem Andy!
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Nick H wrote:

I'm in the middle of the executor process for my father who died in January. However he had littlee mechanical ability and therefore keft nothing useful for the workshop apart from a few jars of nuts and bolts.
What I have learnt is that probate valuers judge things harshly. I'm not arguing with them and some items such as victorian furniture can be worth little because of fashion but even the stuff with a well defined market is treated in the same way. For example a gold ring, probate value 800, insurance value 2K. Paintings with sale room ticket of 6K are valued at 1500. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It reduces tax liability but can make judging real value hard, especially if you need to divide the spoils and be fair to a sibling (not a problem in my case.)
So I'd suggest that you email a couple of the traders who advertise in Model Engineer with some photos of the lathes. My guess is that it'll be 20% of their sale price. As for the smaller stuff just take a low value guess. That's what the probate valuer paid to do my fathers house did. In fact he didn't even go in the garage or garden.
Charles
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Not "harshly", but "distressingly". Probate values are based on the amount that could be obtained if the item were to be sold immediately on the date of death - known as a "distress sale" - that's why the valuation is often significantly lower than the free market price. It's a bit like having to sell your home if it's repossessed by a lender with a charge over your property - they usually sell it at auction, for a quick sale, and it will nearly always be less than you could obtain for the property if sold by private treaty.
--
MatSav



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On 18 Mar, 22:36, "MatSav" <matthew | dot | savage | at | dsl | dot | pipex | dot | com> wrote:

Or even "cheerfully low".
I have _no_ problem with Mr Brown's tax vampires getting short shrift. He'd only spend it on fast cars, loose women and blow the rest on fat bankers.
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I would second that : I attended a sale in Milton Keynes organised by the local model engineering club for similar reasons. They had carefully sorted everything into sensible groups, catalogued it, attached prices and managed the flow of visitors into the tiny workshop. The prices were high enough to be fair, and low enough to ensure prompt sales. A very well managed event that, as far as I could tell, went down to the satisfaction of both the widow and the new owners of her husband's toys.
-adrian
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Come on guys, go overthere and give this man a hand! There must be model engineers in the area who can help.
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There's two separate issues: valuation for probate, and disposal. Other posters have already given plenty of advice on disposal. For probate, try a local auction house (solicitor should have names). They may come up with a surprisingly low figure that the authorities will accept without a quibble, not expensive. They may be able to find a suitable sale for the more "miscellaneous" stuff too.
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thanks for the replies chaps
One thing that i don't quite understand with this probate m'larky is how does the probate office know what the estate consists of anyway - unless you tell them?
Dad left very little in the way of hard cash - or at least we haven't found where he had salted it away :o)
Seriously though his cash will cover the funeral, the bunfight afterwards and any outstanding house hold bills.
Do they send someone oout to check up on these things? If they think i am pricing his estate by individual items they are going to be sorely dissappointed.
If anyone does want to come and check the contents they are welcome to but they will have to take into consideration that a lot of the stuff in there was bought between myself and my father.
I get the imporession that the system is geared up for rather more gentrified families with a small collection of fine watercolours, some rather nice antiques and a couple of vintage or classic cars in the garage - not an 80 year old magpie with a small pension, a few model engineers toys, a rusty BSA B31 and an old pushbike!
regards
Dudley
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In no probate procedure that I've known has anyone come round with a clipboard & a calculator & my belief is that you are correct. The Revenue & HM Customs would only take their heads off their arms & blink twice if there was a good deal of money involved.
A sad time for you Dudley - 80 or not, we all think we'll go on forever!
When you are ready with gen set pics .......... ;o0)
Regards,
Kim Siddorn

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They don't - but Executors are required by law to submit estimated accounts to HMC&E. It's not always neccessary to obtain "official" valuations from a Probate Valuer, but Executors do need to be able to justify any valuations. The internet has been a great resource for this - evidence of prices for individual items are readily available, using completed items on E-Bay, for example, or houseprices.co.uk for a valuation on any dwelling.

I'm joint executor of my late mother's estate. We submitted the "short form" of accounts to HMCE, where the "before tax" value of the estate slightly exceeded the tax threshold. A nice lady at the Probate office telephoned, and suggested that some values were "adjusted", to bring the value to at least 500 under the threshold - so we reduced the estimated value of the house contents by 1500, stating on the form that many items in the home were jointly owned by my brother, me, and our late mother - making it very difficult to provide an accurate value. This was possible because both of us were living in the same home as her for the last couple of years of her life, and clearly already had "benefit of enjoyment" on the house contents. The changes to the form were made by the lady at HMC&E, so we didn't need to re-submit.
The accounts, of course, are only an estimate - and if anything from the estate is sold, rather than transferred in title to beneficiaries of the estate, the accounts will need to be adjusted. Fortunately, we haven't had to adjust upwards - because if the value were to exceed the threshold, we would then have to submit the "full" accounts, which DOES require a detailed valuation of everything in the estate - usually item by item, unless the disposal is as a "job lot". Effectively, an asset register has to be created... (see further comments below). It's relatively easy to estimate values these days, using the internet - e.g. completed listings on E-bay, houseprices.co.uk, etc. The only "official" valuations we had to pay for (which is tax allowable against the estate) were for personal jewellery, and stocks and shares (to find the closing price at date of death, I registered on-line with The Stock Exchange, for a small fee).

You only have to do that if the value of the estate exceeds the tax threshold, and you have to submit the full account. Even then, they're unlikely to send someone out, provided your valuations appear reasonable "on paper", and can be supported with evidence.

Which is allowable when estimating the value of the estate, and if you don't intend to sell anything (but simply transfer title of ownership), then it's relatively easy.

It's geared up for everyone. If there's no "real estate" involved, it's not always necessary to obtain probate either! It wasn't necessary to obtain probate on my late father's will, because all monies and property deeds were registered in joint names...
--
MatSav



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wrote:
Commiserations on the loss.
My dad popped his clogs at 70 five years back (Christmas Eve as it happened). Luckily, Mother is still going strong, so there were no major problems with tax. We made no allowance whatsoever for the contents of the workshop, that I got in exchange for being executor and spending a fortnight clearing rubbish or the collections of china, jewellery and books that my sisters got. It would have been noticeably under the 255k threshold at the time, even to an optimist. Mum has, sensibly, moved to a smaller house and reduced any liability to inheritance tax by having some very nice holidays :-)
What's the plan for the B31?
Mark Rand RTFM
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Mark Rand wrote:

Not sure what I am going to do with the B31 - you'd never get it in your metro ;o)
Dad bought the B31 from new (1953), walked into the dealers with his father and said I'll take that one mate, paid cash and rode it home. Caused all kinds of problems at the dealers as virtually no one bought a bie for cash and they weren't geared up to handle all that cash on a saturday after the banks had closed!
I always told him he should have had another tenner on tick and bought the Goldstar instead of an old chug a lug B31!
regards
Dudley
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wrote:

Got an Espace now :-) The metro was a temporary measure until I found something useful.
Don't let it go to waste!
Mark Rand (Supposedly rebuilding my triumph TSS with the lad this Summer) RTFM
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Mark Rand wrote:

was getting an Espace wise? When you came over last year i got the distinct impression that you may just have Magpie tendencies ;o)
The B31 won't go to waste thats for sure. Ideally I'd like to put it back on the road myself but I don't anticipate that I am likely to have the time or spare cash to do that for some years to come. That said it has been in a nice dry shed for nearly 20 years so a few more years shouldn't hurt and I could get a few bits sorted out in the mean time.......
Maybe once the garage contents is sorted I'll move it in there and evaluate what needs to be done. That said, well you've seen the garage, I don't think there is much chance of getting it in there for some considerable time!
regards
Dudley
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Assuming it's in Cambridge, the local auction house would be Willingham Auctions ( http://www.willinghamauctions.com/ ) who will quite happily do tools and non-antique stuff (tomorrow's sale has a selection of chainsaws and a ride-on mower, for example) though they might not be best for ultra-technical bits. I think they'll do valuations (but it'll probably cost). Other than that, there are some house clearance companies around - there's one in Hope Yard (off Mill Road).
For the stuff going to the tip, there's always Freecycle or ucam.adverts.giveaway. At least give it a chance not to let it go to waste - it's remarkable what you can get rid of that way.
Theo
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