Everyday Cheapskate: How to determine value of collectibles
DEAR MARY: My dad passed away and left me a storage tub filled with collectable stamps he purchased over the years from the post office. How can I liquidate this collection? — LORNA, EMAIL
DEAR LORNA: The American Stamp Dealers Association at www.ASDAonline.com, has invaluable information on how to get your collection appraised, including an article "Things You Need to Find Out Before Selling a Stamp Collection."
More than likely, if this collection is found to have value, it will be to another collector. In that case, expect to get wholesale prices for the items that could be less than the face value of the stamps. The wholesale market value will be determined by scarcity and how well the stamps have been protected and preserved.
Speaking directly with someone who is qualified and trustworthy is the best way to discover the market value of this collection. Perhaps in that way you will also find a willing buyer.
DEAR MARY: We have an aging car that is a lemon. We are keeping it going until we can afford a different car. When that time comes, besides our temptation to shove it over a cliff, what should we do with our lemon? In good conscience, I cannot donate it to a charity and take the tax write-off. — SUE ELLEN, IDAHO
DEAR SUE ELLEN: If you feel it is not drivable, about your only option would be to sell it for salvage. Check with a local auto dismantling yard. Depending on the make and model, they may decide to "part it out," which might make the car slightly more valuable to them. In that case, they will probably accept the complete car. Just don't expect to get much money from the deal.
DEAR MARY: Two years ago, my mother loaned us $6,000 to help buy a house. She didn't charge us interest on the loan, as she wasn't earning any at the time. We have paid back $5,000 so far and will have the loan paid in full soon. I insist on paying her interest on this loan. What is a fair rate? And how do I figure interest on this loan? Should I give her 10 percent ($600)? Or would I have paid more if I borrowed the money from a bank? — BRIAN, EMAIL
DEAR BRIAN: A $6,000 loan at 10 percent over 36 months would result in a total payback of $6,997, including interest. Interest is calculated each month on the outstanding balance. Or, if you were not making payments, it would be $600 per year, or $1,800 over three years.
Granted, your mom could not have earned that rate in a savings account over the past three years. But it is also true that you could not have gotten an unsecured loan for as little as 10 percent, either. Ten percent would be a good deal for both of you.
Do you have a question for Mary? Email her at mary@everyday cheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.