My Dad's stamp collection has been sitting in a cupboard for years. My brother and sister left it to me to "do something" with it. At long last, I invited a long-time friend who is a knowledgeable philatelist to come and have a look at it.
He very quickly divided it into two main categories, being "hmm, some interesting material here" and "if there's anything interesting here, it's mixed up with a lot of ordinary material and it's hard to spot it". His allocation of material into the latter category was, well, almost brutal!
I packaged up the volumes that made it to the "potentially interesting" category and took them out to Boronia. Yes, out there in suburbia is an auctioneer of prestige stamps. But of course, if you've got a major collection, you don't have to go to Boronia! On the website, it's stated, "For major collections we will travel anywhere in the world to accept your consignment".
But, this collection probably didn't justify an international trip, and I drove out to Boronia. My friend's classification of the material seemed to be mirrored by the auctioneer's. We spent over an hour together while he looked through things, and made a number of encouraging comments, such as, "that's interesting", "yes, that's the scarcer variety" and such like. Even so, there were a couple of volumes that were below the standard that he was prepared to accept.
So we now await with interest the outcome of the auction in a couple of months time. I don't expect it to result in a bonanza, but hopefully there will be a sufficient return to make it all worth while.
In the meantime, the remaining items need to be bundled up and sent off to the philatelic society auction