4 Types of Value Attached to Our Family Heirlooms

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4 Types of Value Attached to Our Family Heirlooms

What is a family Heirloom? Heirlooms are usually possessions passed down from generation to generation, holding a story about a piece of important family history. But not all heirlooms share the same type of value outside of your family circle. To most, that same heirloom isn’t worth much at all. That’s because everyone attaches a different value to their heirlooms, making it priceless in their mind.

There are many different types of family heirlooms. Some of the more common items include engagement rings & jewelry, property, a house, a watch, books, antique or handcrafted furniture as well as records and clothing. An heirloom can be anything you want it to be but the most important part of an heirloom is the value you’ve attached to this piece of your family legacy.

Here are 4 types of value we attach to our family heirlooms:

1. Sentimental

Sentimental value is the most important part of an heirloom. The memories surrounding this object carries a piece of nostalgia, or tells the story of an important life event. For example, a quilt. Cultures around the world use tapestry and quilts to tell their family history for ages.

2. Functional

Practical value can make your heirloom mean more to future generations. When people think of heirlooms,you might imagine an old watch or antique chair. But you can pass down anything–a car, a house, a jacket, or even your land. Functionality leaves something a family can use to live off of or provide use in their everyday life, making it mean more in the long run. Many farmers pass their properties from one generation to the next. In the US, the Tuttle family owned their land for as long as eleven generations before selling in 2010!

3. Monetary

The high-dollar value of an heirloom can be just as important as the other forms of value. Overtime, an antique could grow in value and in a pinch, save your family during an emergency. Isn’t it nice to know an investment you make now could help your loved ones in the future?

4. Social

Social value can be related to how others perceive your heirloom. An object of high quality or a specific brand, can bring your family prestige in your community. For example, a nice Rolex watch will last a long time, but many see Rolex as a high quality brand, and attach high monetary status to people who can afford to own one, raising how some in the community treat you or your family.

Remember, the importance of an heirloom is how you and your family perceive its value. No matter what, the memories you share make your heirloom priceless.

But what if you don’t have a family heirloom yet? Read 10 Ideas for Creating Your Own Family Heirloom to create your own!


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  3. Value (marketing) - Wikipedia
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  7. The Art and Value of the Heirloom | Learning to Love Heirlooms in the Family (realmenrealstyle.com)
  8. America's oldest family farm for sale - CNN.com
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