To be assured of safety, insure your collectibles

Collectors' notebook

November 25, 1990|By Ruth Sadler

So you don't have the T-206 Honus Wagner card (a heavily creased one sold for $52,000 recently), and you didn't have the winning $9,900 bid at Christie's for the ball autographed by Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, but you do have some cards, maybe an autograph or two. Should you insure your collection?

The answer, from dealers and insurers, is a solid "yes."

The dealers suggest contacting the company with which you have your homeowner's or renter's policy for a rider to cover the collection.

Insurance agents consider that good advice.

According to Marty Ermanis, director of education for the insurance division of the Automobile Club of Maryland, a homeowner's or renter's policy offers some coverage, "but it's -- probably not enough." That coverage is for actual cash value, which treats a Nolan Ryan-autographed baseball lost in fire, for example, as nothing more than an official American League baseball. Separate coverage for a collection, on an all-risks basis, can be in the form of an endorsement on the homeowner's policy.

An appraisal may be required, and photographs of the items to be named in the endorsement are always a good idea.

"The insurance company wants to know they exist," says Nancy Egan of Mike Egan Insurance Agency. A bill of sale is a must for an item purchased at auction, but the Hartford, for whom she writes policies, will accept the word of a price guide for value (as long as it is cited, with reference to page number) along with photographs. But, Egan adds, "any time you can get a written appraisal, it's best."

Collectors with a homeowner's policy with the Hartford can add their memorabilia to their homeowner's policy under the HO-16 rider under fine arts. "The cost usually runs about $10 per thousand," Egan says, "but many insurance companies are hesitant to add this coverage onto policies."

Check with your insurance company.

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Upcoming events:

Saturday: Baseball card and memorabilia show, Hit and Run Club, Memorial Stadium, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 776-1798.

Dec. 2, Mid-Atlantic Card Shows, Comfort Inn, Pikesville, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Dec. 9, Baseball card show, Quality Inn, Towson, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 239-7446.

Dec. 14, Baseball card show, Eldersburg Community Center, 549-1478.

Dec. 15-16, Baseball Card and Autograph Show, 4-H Building, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 10 a.m., 254-2729 or 360-0832.

Dec. 15, Mid-Atlantic Card Shows, Holiday Inn-Cromwell Bridge, Towson, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Dec. 16, Mid-Atlantic Card Shows, Howard Johnson, Hagerstown, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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