Home > Cover Collecting > About Collecting Naval Covers > Disposing of a collection

Disposing of a collection

by Stewart B. Milstein (L-7205)

In “The American Stamp Dealer & Collector”, issue of October 2010, Bonnie Smith, presenting herself as “The Phemale Philatelist”, wrote an interesting column that relates to the article that I wrote for the November 2010 LOG. My article discussed the need to leave contact information about your collection. Ms. Smith’s piece deals with the question of honestly evaluating your collection.

Ms. Smith relates how heirs, and/or spouses often times do not know the value of the material that they have inherited. Heirs with a valuable collection may not get the full value for what they have. Others, expecting a large settlement, are often sadly disappointed with the offer they receive.

Ms. Smith writes:

“I implore you to be honest with those people who will be involved in the disposition of your collection. However, if there is some not-completely-honest dynamic already in place that you feel can’t be rectified at this date, at least have a statement of the facts with your estate papers so that the honest information will be available after you are gone. If your collection is worth more than your family thinks, I doubt you want your heirs to be taken advantage of because of their lack of knowledge. On the other hand if your…collection is worth considerably less than you have stated or intimated, please don’t make a potential buyer the “bad guy.” A buyer can only pay a reasonable wholesale price for your collection.

And, just as important, be honest with yourself…You don’t need to spend a lot of time re-cataloging your collection every few years, but it is helpful if you have some conscious awareness of these components: 1) how much have you spent on your collection; 2) the quality of the better covers…3) the approximate current wholesale market value of the collection; 4) the sale amount you would be happy with; and 5) how you feel your collection would best be sold…

Leave enough information about your collection with your other estate papers, with your attorney, or with a trusted friend, so that when you’re no longer around, your heirs can be comfortable disposing of your collection and reap the full financial benefit they deserve.”

Ms. Smith says it well.

As a service to the membership, the USCS has created a mechanism that will allow the covers in your collection to be disposed of in the event that you have not left plans on what to do with your collection. The USCS presents alternatives and suggestions and is in no way binding upon any member.

Copies of this card will be printed annually in the LOG as a reminder to the membership.

In an article in the July 2010 LOG, I wrote about the question, “What do I do with the collection now that he is gone?” It is the hope of the USCS Board of Directors that this card might mean that this question will be less often heard.

If there are any questions that you care to discuss with me feel free to contact by email Stewart Milstein,  or cell phone 917-453-4612, or PO Box 1051, Cortaro AZ 85652-1051, (Nov-Apr) or PO Box 340141 (May-Oct).








by Stewart B. Milstein (L-7205)

As the Chairman of the USCS Heirs & Estate Committee, and as a volunteer at the Postal History Foundation in Tucson AZ, I have, sadly and all too often, heard the statement, “What do I do with all this stuff?” I know of collections that were poorly disposed of, or destroyed because the owner of the collection left no instructions on its proper care and disposal. In another instance, a spouse, years after her husband died, is still sending small batches of covers to a dealer as she finds them in scattered locations in her home.

The USCS is prepared to assist in the disposal of a naval cover collection. You might want to consider donating your collection to the USCS if there are tax advantages in doing so. If you are inclined to donate your covers to a museum, I would ask you to consider museums, in the words of USCS member Angus Gillespie, “as backwards archaeologists.” Museums tend to bury things if they cannot display them. A cover collection in the hands of a museum may never again be seen by collectors.

This worksheet is a result of a suggestion made by my daughter, Dr. Susan A. Milstein, and has been developed and modified for our use by the members of the USS IOWA / NEW JERSEY Chapters. It is by no means complete or all inclusive. Please feel free to adapt and modify this worksheet as you see fit. I ask that any modifications you make which might be helpful to other USCS members, be forwarded to me at sbmilstein@gmail.com so that this work in progress can be updated.



Do you want to keep your naval covers within the naval collecting community? Do you want other collectors to be able to own and enjoy these covers? This worksheet will assist in the disposition of a collection if you cannot do it. Have you considered making a bequest of your covers and philatelic literature to the USCS so that the covers can be kept within the naval cover collecting community? Have you advised your heir(s) that they can donate any unwanted items to the USCS?

The USCS can be contacted through the website, www.USCS.org  or by contacting Stewart B. Milstein, Chairman- Heirs & Estate Committee (sbmilstein@gmail.com; or via cellphone 917-453-4612).

Please inform your heirs that your philatelic collection has value. It should be kept in a cool dry place that is free of smoke, odors, pets, and other factors that might damage these paper primary historical documents.

  1. Name__________________________________________
  2. USCS Membership # _____________________
    1. Address____________________________________
    2. Telephone Number(s)__________________________
    3. E-mail addresses______________________________
  3. Executor_________________________________________
    1. Address_____________________________________
    2. Telephone Number(s)__________________________
    3. E-mail addresses______________________________
  4. Beneficiary(ies)____________________________________
    1. Address_____________________________________
    2. Telephone Numbers____________________________
    3. E-mail addresses______________________________
  5. Substitute Beneficiary__________________________
    1. Address_____________________________________
    2. Telephone Numbers____________________________
    3. E-mail addresses______________________________

Location of collection________________________________

How is the collection stored?__________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

How do you file, sort, and/or classify your covers?



Describe your collection.______________________________

­­­­­­­  ______________________________________________________

Describe any significant or valuable covers.  ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Describe any exhibits you might have. Do you want to keep this exhibit intact? Do you wish to disperse it? If so, how?


Special bequests____________________________________



What is the approximate retail value of your collection?



If you the decision is made to dispose of the collection via sale to a retailer, know that a retail dealer will NOT pay retail prices to acquire a collection. Please note that an overstated value can result in false expectations by your heir(s) and might trigger a tax situation.

One copy of this form should be placed with your collection. A 2nd copy should be placed with your legal papers. A 3rd copy should be placed with the executor who will handle your collection.

While completion of this form is helpful in guiding your survivor(s), executor, or administrator of the estate, it has no legal effect and is not a will.


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