Family Heirlooms hang on to them or be practical and sell them


I’m financially limited these days and have been debating selling a couple pieces of jewelry that belonged to my grandmother. She left them to me in her will. I was thinking about using the money toward a down payment on a house. Granted I wouldn’t get much but every little bit helps. While some might find this heartless it’s important to add that my Grandmother and namesake died when I was barely 4 so I only have two memories of her and lots of pictures. To me the pictures mean way more then the jewelry but another family member has an issue with me selling the jewelry. It’s also important to note that this person didn’t know my grandmother and was in fact born more then 20 years after she died. I’m more of the practical sort and don’t hold on to things…except maybe pictures and my personal memories. So I guess I’m asking for some advice. I also don’t want to offend anyone else in the family but I also think my grandmother would approve of the house idea as it’s something substancial and not just sitting in a jewelry box gathering dust. I guess I’m torn. I likely will never have children to pass on the stuff on too as well so I’m not sure what to do.


My husband and I have an ongoing debate about this every time we watch antiques roadshow. :stuck_out_tongue: I am very practical in most respects, but family heirlooms are very high on my short list of sentimental and impractical.

I suppose it depends upon the value of the item, how much family history I know about the item, and how it would impact my life. I have my great grandmother’s iron bed, for example, and my grandmother remembers how her mom used to hide money inside the hollow pieces during the depression. It would have to be a life-changing amount of money that was truly needed to convince me to sell it.

If you say the jewelry is not worth much, I probably wouldn’t sell it. Perhaps the family member who would prefer you keep it is in a position to buy it from you at a discount? The pieces stay in the family, they’re being treasured and not just gathering dust in your jewelry box or closet, and you are a little closer to your home ownership goals.

Of course if they’er not in a position to pay you anything, you are perfectly within your rights to sell what rightfully belongs to you.


If they don’t mean anything to you, sell them. :slight_smile:


How much money are you talking about? Thousands of dollars? If not, I wouldn’t sell them. Really, I think if you sell it for 100 or something like that you will come to regret it later since in the grand scheme of things it’s not a lot of money and family heirlooms have emotional significance.


If you are in a financial bind and you do sell these heirlooms, I would not go out and buy a house anytime soon. You need to build up a savings. A house is not cheap. A lot of people say a house payment is the same or cheaper than their rent payment but it’s really not. You have to pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance not to mention the closing costs and costs of moving. And if something in the house breaks like the fridge or AC, you have to come up with the money to fix it instead of simply calling the landlord to fix it. You really need to think about what you are doing before buying a house when you are in a financial bind. So if you do sell that jewelry, put it in a savings account of some sort and sit on it for a while. If it’s enough money, put it in a money market. Save it and don’t touch it. Make sure you are completely out of debt and have a substantial savings before attempting to buy a house because you will have to fix something or you’ll want to redecorate, etc.


What would GRANDMA have wanted? Was she practical?


I agree with above. In my experience, buyers don’t want to offer much for jewelry. If you really need the money - get a quote from a dealer then offer to family for what was offered from a buyer. If the amount is very little, consider holding on to the pieces or give them to family who would really appreciate them.

Recently I gave something to my cousin that had been in our family for generations. Guess I could of sold it at an antique shop. I don’t have and will never have children and she does - and has always wanted the item. I intended to leave it to her in my will. Last year she finished her college degree after many, many years. Instead of buying her a gift, I decided to surprise her with it. I gave it to her when she visited me in the summer. Needless to say, she was shocked and overjoyed. I felt good knowing the one I wanted to have the heirloom is now enjoying it.


To me, stuff is just stuff. In heaven, you won’t care a bit about it.


Sometimes family heirlooms are like white elephants sitting in your garage. I had a relative send my adult son an old ugly worthless piano and he had to pay $400. for the delivery of the piano that was sent to him without his permission by one of his old aunts.
It just sits in the garage taking up space.

Family heirloom jewelry has no money value. Check it out and you will find that you will hardly get any money for it. It is best to sell it to the relative that really cares about it if they are upset about you selling it.

I plan to give my only adult son all of my jewelry when I lose interest in my jewelry because as time passes and I get really old the jewelry can get lost or stolen.
My Mom had an expensive 2 caret diamond ring stolen one day when she went out for the day. She used to love that ring. After that experience she never wanted to wear expensive jewelry. Everytime I give her jewelry she gives it away. So I stopped doing that.

There are lots of family heirlooms that may be worthless or valuable that just sits and collects dust in people’s homes until one day they just get thrown out or it gets sold.

My advise is to check out the value of the jewelry and then decide what to do. It is yours to do as you please. If you decide to sell it… that jewelry can give somebody else a lot of pleasure. Years ago I bought my wedding pearls in a Pawn shop and now I have given them to my adult grand-daughter who wore the pearl ear-rings at her wedding.

I don’t plan to sell my jewelry. I plan to give it away to my relatives.


if we are being practical I would first find out if they have any monetary value, and if selling them will bring enough to actually help me out of my present financial difficulty. If not, and if they have a particular meaning for you, keep them. If they don’t have a meaning for you there is no reason to keep them. Give them to a family member who would appreciate them, or give them away to charity, or sell them, whatever you want.


If you decide to sell the jewelry, why not offer “first dibs” to family members?


I already promised the family member that I would offer to sell the item to them first before another party.


Don’t sell them. :o


Schools might appreciate the piano as a donation to their music program, they probably won’t care that it’s ugly as long as it can be retuned.


Harvard, great idea… plus it can be donated to my son’s church and be sold when they have a church yard sale. Someone may appreciate it.


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