Q: I have a collection of antiques, including some Native American art. I was wondering how to record antique acquisitions, and how best to document them for insurance purposes.

-- Margaret Coppock, Seattle

Martha keeps a loose-leaf binder filled with specially formatted blank pages. Each page contains space for a photo and, below that, a listing of the item, who bought the piece, where and when it was purchased, its cost, condition, measurements, and, if it includes multiple pieces, how many. If the piece is at all valuable, you should have it appraised. This is especially helpful for insurance purposes. Keep receipts with your records as well. Finally, give a copy of these documents to a friend, or place them in a safe-deposit box.


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