FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I get started?
Call or email us to discuss your art and antiques. Tell us about your collection. Do you have paintings? Silver? Fine china? Antiques? Are you looking to add pieces to your insurance policy or just curious about resale values? The more information you can provide, the more accurate our estimation of total costs will be. We will happily review photographs of your collection to determine appraisal potential prior to scheduling an on-site visit.
What happens next?
We will arrange an inspection of your items at your home, office, or storage unit. At that appointment, the appraiser will examine, measure, and photograph the items in your collection. The appraiser will then bring the data back to the office, conduct extensive market research and analysis, and prepare the written appraisal report.
When will I receive my completed appraisal report?
Once we complete the inspection, our turn around time for most appraisal reports is 2-3 weeks. The time required to complete a well-researched and thorough report depends on your priorities, the number of objects in your collection, and the complexity of the research required. We will discuss a completion date with you at the initial consultation.
How often do I need to update my appraisal?
Appraisal reports should be reviewed and updated every 5 years to keep up with changes in valuation as a result of the fluctuating art market.
What is a “qualified appraiser”?
This is a term used by the Internal Revenue Service, which stipulates that appraisals for tax purposes (such as estate and donation) must be conducted by an appraiser who has particular qualifications. The appraiser must have earned an appraisal designation from a recognized appraisal organization, demonstrate competency, and meet minimum education and experience requirements. Specifics can be reviewed in IRS code, Section 170(f)(11)(E)(ii).
Why is it important to hire a “qualified appraiser”?
A qualified appraiser has formal education in appraisal theory, principles, procedures, ethics, and law. There are many self-proclaimed personal property appraisers who have not completed any professional education. While a great deal of information is available to the general public, especially on the internet, only a trained appraiser can interpret the data properly and write a qualified appraisal report. Membership in an appraisal association is important because it shows that the appraiser is involved with the profession, has peer recognition, has access to updated information, and is subject to a code of ethics and conduct. Your appraiser should be willing to verify their professional standing by their listing on the website of a respected national professional appraisal organization that trains, tests, and requires continuing education.
What does “USPAP compliant” mean?
The Uniform Standards for Professional Appraisal Practice are quality control standards for all appraisers (no matter their specialty) and are formally recognized, although not enforced, by the U.S. Congress. An appraiser who is USPAP compliant has been formally trained to meet these standards and has passed a rigorous exam to prove his/her understanding and conformity to them. It is not required that personal property appraisers are USPAP compliant; those who opt to comply with USPAP are holding themselves to the highest formal standards in the appraisal industry.
How do you arrive at value conclusions?
Appraisers interpret market data based on the intended use of the appraisal report. Most often, values are determined by comparing an object with similar items that are offered or sold within a market that is considered to be the most common for that item. Appraisers consider various markets and review recent sale prices. Quality, condition, and desirability are also considered as these elements affect value conclusions. A number of resources are utilized that may include sales at local, regional, or national auction houses, used furniture and consignment shops, antique stores, galleries, retail stores, specialty dealers, and subscription internet databases.
How can one work of art have multiple appraised values?
Appraisal results vary according to the intended use of the appraisal. For example, if you need insurance coverage for a work of art, you will most likely need an appraisal that concludes Replacement Value. If you need an appraisal for a tax write-off when donating to a qualifying art institution, the IRS requires Fair Market Value. Different types of value look at different market levels (these can include top-tier auctions, lower-tier auctions, or the retail market) and have their own corresponding methodologies.
How will you handle items outside your area of expertise?
No appraiser should claim expertise in everything. A good appraiser knows his or her limits. A good appraiser has associates and colleagues in other areas of expertise that can be called upon when necessary to assist in report completion.
Shouldn't art appraisers be familiar with the value of the work of most artists?
Many people think that appraisers can simply look at an item and come up with a “ballpark figure” of value, however that is not sufficient for an appraisal. It is common that appraisers are familiar with an artist's work and therefore able to estimate fairly accurately the value of many of your items without conducting extensive market research. However, good appraisers conduct market research on every item appraised and retain this information in your work file. This research ensures that the comparable sales records that were used to determine value are available should your appraisal be challenged for any reason by an insurance company, the IRS, or another third party.
Will you authenticate my work of art?
Except in very rare instances, art appraisers are not qualified to authenticate. Generally, there are a handful of recognized experts, often scholars or panels of scholars, who are recognized as "expert" in the work of a particular artist. These professionals have often dedicated their entire careers to the work of a particular artist, and are truly qualified to offer an opinion of authenticity. Within the context of a formal appraisal assignment, if there is a question of authenticity, we are happy to consult on your behalf with the right professionals.
How do I prepare for my art appraisal?
We have prepared a checklist to help you get ready for your appraisal appointment. Read it here.