This is exactly the sort of choice I'd like to see them have to make. Something like that wizard's staff could have been bought by a group of characters*, or taken out of treasury and carried forward, or - as happened - sold off. Just giving it to the wizard introduces a serious wealth imbalance within the party.In 3E, I played in a group that was insanely strict on perfectly equal division. Since magic items had a cash value, if you wanted an item, you had to reduce your share equal to the amount. This led to some insane situations that I strenuously objected to, but was outvoted. We sold a suit of Plate Mail +1 of Acid Resistance... so that our fighter had enough money to buy a suit of Plate Mail +1. We sold off a powerful staff that could only be used by our wizard, because it was worth more than the wizard could cover (it was almost twice as valuable as the entire horde), then later suffered because we didn't have that staff.
* - I've seen this done many a time with items too useful to let go e.g. a Ring of Regeneration or a Flying Carpet: four or five characters will lob in equal shares to buy the item, then one character will eventually buy the others out later as funds permit.
Call it selfishness if you will, but if the wizard gets the 40,000 g.p. staff (and can then turn around and sell it later!) and the fighter gets the 2,000 g.p. longsword then someone's getting the short end of the stick here.I understand the desire to be as equal as possible, but this level of selfishness was taken too far.