Philanthropic Disposition of a Collection

French Antique Room

If you are planning your estate or just downsizing, one of the most troubling questions is the disposition of collections or antiques, art, jewellery, silver, porcelain, or decorative objects chosen with care. Serious collectors are already familiar with the idea of leaving a legacy through a donation of a collection, allowing others to continue to appreciate objects chosen with passion and discernment.

But, too frequently museums are unable to accept the donation due to constraints of space, funds or limitations on mandate. Where beautiful objects are not suitable for a museum, there is no easy answer for disposition. Often, these objects don’t fit with the lifestyle of younger generations, or will not be valued as they deserve.

Instead of being relegated to storage or ending life in a college dorm as an IKEA alternative, there is an alternative option that has the benefit of ensuring that beautiful objects are preserved for continued admiration and appreciation. Working with the ROM, A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals has been able to facilitate a solution that recognizes a symbiotic relationship between the collector as the inspiring force behind a collection, the auction house as the forum for fine objects, and the museum as the public space for creating new generations of inspired collectors.

The ROM and A.H. Wilkens have worked together on a number of projects. As a Legacy intention, one donor offered a selection of grand tour bronzes to the ROM, which was unfortunately not able to be accepted for the collection. When approached, the donor agreed to allow A.H. Wilkens to sell the bronzes with the proceeds payable to the ROM. The bronzes were fought over at auction by a keen international audience of bidders and the ROM received much needed financial support directed to the area of the donor’s interest.

This case study works both for a small donation like the bronzes or for a more significant collection donation. A legacy gift-in-kind option such as this formalizes these kinds of arrangements, making it even easier for you to make an important contribution, large or small, to the life of your community.

Benefits of the philanthropic disposition of your collection:

  • The donation can be facilitated though A.H. Wilkens and tailored to the specific desires of the donor so that a significant collection, or the part not retained by the ROM, can be sold by catalogue auction with recognition of the time and the expertise of the collector in amassing the collection and the generosity and public duty of the collector in the donation of the proceeds to the ROM.
  • The donor can be sure that a treasured collection will not be discarded or unappreciated. Objects not retained by the ROM will be sold to an international audience of collectors through an open and transparent auction process, ensuring that the donation reaches its highest and best purpose.
  • Auction sale proceeds that result in a cash donation can be directed to the department or area of the donor’s choice or to the ROM‘s highest priorities.
  • The donor or estate receives a charitable tax receipt for the cash donation resulting from the sale of the items or collection at auction
  • The donation will provide maximum benefit to the ability of the ROM to continue to offer a forum in Toronto for the learning and appreciation of fine objects for generations to come.

It is all about making the most of what you have to give. Working with the ROM, A.H. Wilkens can help you make a difference in the community, ensure that the tangible objects representing your life go on to make meaning to others, and simplify your downsizing and estate administration process.

A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals Inc. is a major Toronto auction house specializing in fine art, antique and fine furniture, silver, porcelain, jewellery, and a wide range of decorative objects, including Asian fine and decorative arts.