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Is your rock and roll collection imperiled by divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2018 | Blog

Ohioans love rock and roll. That is most evident by the location of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, situated just a day-trip away on the shores of Lake Erie up in Cleveland.

But some take their passion for rocking out to the next level, spending thousands of dollars amassing impressive items for their collections of rock and roll memorabilia. How cool it must be to have a gossamer scarf from Stevie Nicks, a drum stick from the late Keith Moon or — the ultimate trophy — anything from Woodstock.

What is the value of your collection of memorabilia?

Some people collect anything with roosters on it. Others trade and treasure baseball cards or comic books. Obviously, some collections will be worth far more than others. If you are in the midst of a divorce and either you or your spouse are a rock and roll collector, this could be important.

With a rock and roll memorabilia collection, however, there are some ground rules for items’ values.

Ask yourself the following:

1. Does the item have a direct link to the performer?

Some items may be easier to link to a rock and roller than others. A well-worn drumstick imprinted with the Rolling Stones lips logo will be easier to identify as Charlie Watts’ than the aforementioned scarf purported to be from Stevie Nicks.

But even so, all is not lost. There may well be concert footage showing the ethereal singer wearing the scarf — or better yet, tossing it to you in the throng. A friend may even have had the presence of mind to snap a photo of the exchange. This could definitely help authenticate its connection to Nicks.

2. What is the item’s condition?

Many rock and roll memorabilia will be, by definition, pretty worn. After all, the neck of a guitar smashed by Pete Townshend is, well, smashed. But in that case, it can only add to its value as a part of a memorable performance.

But in the case of albums and their iconic covers, the highest value goes to those in mint condition. Even gently used records and album covers can still command high-dollar at a collector’s auction, though.

Determining the proper value of a collection

With those two ground rules in mind, the next thing a divorcing collector (or their spouse) should be concerned with is finding someone knowledgeable to properly valuate the collection.

You may have to do a little detective footwork here. Do some online research about rock and roll collectibles and locate someone who can assess and evaluate the collection to come up with a dollar value for its entirety.

This can be very important during the property division phase of your Ohio divorce. If you are the spouse of a collector of rock memorabilia, it’s important that you realize collectors loathe parting with their coveted iconic items. Use this knowledge to your advantage when negotiating for a larger share of the marital property pie. For example, you may be able to walk away with the lion’s share of the 401k by agreeing that the collection will be off-limits to you.

Photo of Craig P. Treneff and Andrea L. Cozza
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