If you are like me, you cannot bear the thought that some day after you are gone, your wife or kids will sell your card collection to a dealer -- probably for less than half of what it is worth -- and your collection, which includes cards you have had since childhood, dissipates into insignificance. This is the reason for the American Baseball Card Museum -- a place for collectors to preserve their collections for history, and for the public and scholars to enjoy the collections and learn about baseball's place in American culture and history.
Because I am an estate planning lawyer, I cannot disregard the income tax benefits of charitable deductions. (See our analysis of how donating your cards to the museum compares to your other options of what to do with your collection.) A donor of tangible personal property, such as a baseball card, may deduct only his cost basis, unless the charity will use the card for a purpose related to its tax-exempt purpose. Many of my cards have a cost basis of 1 cent, maybe less, if I attribute a portion of the 5 cents per pack purchase price to the bubble gum. How many charities use baseball cards related to their tax-exempt purposes? Very few.
So far as I know, the American Baseball Card Museum is the only public charity in the world whose tax-exempt purpose is to collect, study, and display baseball cards for their historical and cultural value. Because we are such a charity, and if you itemize your deductions, you may deduct as a charitable deduction the fair market value of your donated cards, subject to certain limits based on your income. See the Charitable Deduction Primer.
If you are interested in donating some or all of your cards to the Baseball Card Museum, review our Gift Acceptance Policies and then and then send us an email describing the cards you would like to donate. After we accept the gift, you may mail or deliver the cards to us. We welcome either your donations or your bequests made by your will.
- Jeff Jaech, Founder