Fun, Food, Pets and Travel

The Collector's Show

Harold Nicoll

The Collector’s Show – Behind the Scenes at The Houston Museum of Science

Dirk Van Turenhaut, PhD. Curator of Anthropology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is the guest on The Collectors Show this week. Like all museums not all items in the collection are on display. Many are stored away from the public view. Now, small groups can visit behind the scenes where objects are stored and not on display. The magic happens where the staff prepares the collections for public display. It’s a backstage look at things people would not ordinarily get to see.

Legacy Planning With Larry Zale
Planning for the future of collections after their owners have left this earth is the topic this week with Laurence C. Zale. Larry coined the term “legacy” planning. No serious collector can rely on heirs or executors to know what they have in mind for their collections. Larry urged listeners to have conversations with those close to them to make arrangements for the collection should heirs not share the enthusiasm for the collection that the original owner had. Estate plans for the sale or other ways to avoid taxes are very important reasons to make these plans. Collectors have three choices: sale of the collection via an auction house dealers or sales to other collectors. With sales comes capital gains taxes, state and local taxes as well. Choice two is a non-charitable beneficiary, the heirs. The third choice is to donate the collection to a charitable organization like a museum, library or other. Larry recommends talking with an experienced estate lawyer to plan and make the best decisions for this. Most trust and estate lawyers have worked with tangible objects like watches, sports memorabilia, coins, etc. Maintain the integrity of the collection and avoid the taxes. Collectors are taxed based on the value of the collection now, not on what was originally paid. Planning can help alleviate excess taxes. Best to have conversations about what to do with collections early and not during a time of emotional pain.

To talk with Larry about your collection, e-mail him at