Right Field

Selling Memorabilia Before the Estate Tax Rises

It doesn’t sound like the scheduled hike in the estate tax is the sole reason that these retired sports stars are selling their memorabilia now, but it certainly doesn’t hurt:

Rather than leave a 56-year-old uniform hanging in a closet at his Idaho home, Don Larsen decided it should be used for education.

He’s auctioning off the Yankee pinstripes he wore in 1956 when he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, and will use the proceeds to pay college tuition for his grandchildren, one in college and the other a high school freshman.

“I’m not getting any younger and I want to see them get an education before I leave,” the 83-year-old Larsen said. “They’ll be appreciative later, more so than now, I’m sure.”

Similarly, Bob Knight is selling his NCAA championship rings and other mementos to fund education in his family. “I have two grandsons,” the Hall of Fame basketball coach said, “and my wife has a niece and nephew, who would get good use out of this.” . . .

[Evander] Holyfield, like Larsen, said he didn’t consider the tax implications of selling items now rather than after the first of the year.

“This is something new to me,” the former heavyweight champion said.

But the auction houses say the tax issues come up in the planning.

“As players get older, they certainly don’t know what’s going to happen with an estate tax, and I guess they figure they’d rather have it sold now than after they’re passed and lose an unknown percentage,” Goldin said.

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