DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Since I was a little girl, my great-aunt promised me her hand-painted Limoges porcelain collection if she ever decided to part with it, or after she passed.
Earlier this year she had to move into a nursing home and before she did, she started giving away some of her belongings. For whatever reason, she decided to give all the china to my cousin, including the Limoges collection.
My cousin has openly said she thinks it’s all ugly and can’t wait to sell it. She’s checked out eBay and Etsy and Replacements, Ltd. and found out it’s worth at least $4000-5,000.
I offered to pay her half of that amount for just my favorite pieces, which are only a small portion of the entire collection. She turned me down, saying she knows she can make more selling it online.
I think she’s wrong, and I know my great-aunt always loved and treasured her china collection, and it would crush her to know it was going to be sold away from the family. I’m guessing she thought that since my cousin is recently engaged, it would make a nice wedding gift, and that this way it would stay in the family. Well, the cash from a sale would certainly be a generous wedding gift, but I think it’s like my cousin’s taking advantage of our great-aunt and not fessing up to what she plans on doing with the china, because I know she hasn’t told her her plans.
I would love to tell our great-aunt what’s going on, but feel it isn’t my place. Is it? --- NO CHINA FOR ME
DEAR NO CHINA FOR ME: For whatever reason she had, your great-aunt decided to gift the china to your cousin, and as hard as that may be for you to take, it seems to me that you need to respect her wishes.
That said, perhaps you could continue working with your cousin to find a compromise on the selling price of the pieces you particularly want. She may find that it’s more profitable in some cases to sell pieces individually rather than as a collection, and that won’t be quite the quick and easy money she may be hoping for.
So, if you can do the research necessary to get a fair and accurate valuation of the items you’re offering to purchase, you can make the argument that your buying them directly from your cousin gives her immediate cash in hand, and saves her time, effort, and shipping costs.