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Quainton News Archive - No. 58 - Autumn / Winter 1985 / 86
Here's a Thought - John Hatton
As a Trust Officer with one of the major trust corporations, I am frequently required to deal with personal effects contained in the estates of deceased persons. On many occasions the personal effects will be specifically bequeathed in the Will or will be dealt with by the person or persons taking the residue of the estate. Sometimes, however, I am required to obtain offers from secondhand dealers or to arrange for sale by auction.
Recently, on visiting the house of the person who estate I was to administer, almost immediately I discovered he had been a Railway Enthusiast. It seems likely that a person having no interest in Railways would not have appreciated the potential value of the large quantity of railwayana the person had owned. The beneficiary I was meeting wished to dispose of everything as quickly as possible and readily agreed that I should arrange for someone from Quainton to call and advise on disposal.
My first step was to contact Alan Vessey, the Museum Curator, as it was clear that there were many items of great historic interest. Together with Eric Miller and Jim Stevens, a Gauge 0 enthusiast and QRS member, Alan and I returned a few days later to make all the arrangements.
The collection was split into three main parts, as follows:
Firstly, Books and Magazines. Some of the magazines dated back to the turn of the century. By agreement, a lump sum has been paid for all of these and they will be sold by Quainton in the second-hand bookshop or on the stands.
Secondly, Models - both 0 and 00 gauge. These have been purchased partly by the Society for resale and partly are being sold by Jim Stevens through the Gauge 0 Society, with a commission passing to QRS.
Finally, Historic Documents and Plans. By the kind generosity of the beneficiary, all of these have been donated to the Society and will either be retained in the Museum or will be exchanged with other Museums. The plans relate to many civil engineering projects carried out around the turn of the century and include working drawings of the City section of what is now the LT Northern Line. They show weekly progress on the tunnels and are regarded as being of great interest by the Covent Garden Museum.
As a result of these arrangements, the beneficiary will have received substantially more than she could have hoped to receive from a dealer or at auction, whilst the Society has benefited from the historic documents, the items purchased for resale and the commission on items sold through the Gauge 0 Society.
When this matter had been concluded, I realised that most, if not all, QRS members have personal collections and, whilst some may have relatives who will treasure them, others would prefer to see an organisation, such as Quainton, benefit, rather than for them to be sold for next to nothing or destroyed.
You may be in a similar position to me, and act as a professional - or private - executor, maybe as a Solicitor, an employee of a Trust Corporation, or in some other capacity. Remember, if you or a colleague should be dealing with an estate containing railwayana, and providing the amount is likely to prove worthwhile, QRS would be pleased to send someone along to advise and probably make an offer for saleable items. As a Registered Charity, the Society may be very acceptable to relatives, who would know no one was making a quick turn for their own gain.
In many instances the collection may be donated to the Society, particularly where only a small quantity is involved or where historical documents are found.
Remember, what arrangements have you personally made for the inevitable; what will happen to your collection? And how about leaving your collection to the Society in your Will and perhaps a cash sum at the same time?
A specimen clause drafted by a Solicitor, which you may care to include in your Will, can be obtained from me or through the Editor.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 18 November 2017