ANTIQUES, FINE & DECORATIVE ARTS…
By Sarah McCullom
After watching the Antiques Roadshow, one might think that an appraisal is pretty easy – look at the item, and based on experience and knowledge, tell the owner what it is, and what the value is.But…it’s not that easy.Long before that expert came before the cameras, there were people behind the scenes doing research; on the internet, in books, on the phone with other experts, and any other source, to confirm what they originally thought when they examined the piece.
A written appraisal is similar – the original examination of the piece to include photographs, can take up to an hour.The appraiser then must perform exacting research to determine style, period, and hopefully maker.Following that determination there is research of the relevant market, and comparable values.Dependent on the item, the research can take at least an hour, and sometimes much more.
The appraiser finally then sits down to put together the report for the client.This report, because of what needs to be included is a minimum of 8 pages, and is usually longer.Sometimes, it can be as long as 50 pages or more, depending on the number of items that are being appraised.
This seems like a lot of information, and it is, but it necessary for a complete appraisal.In addition, the property owner is getting the information on the item that they need, and are frequently interested in knowing.All the major appraisal associations require this information.In addition, the IRS requires it as well for charitable donations.
When you hire an appraiser, keep in mind that while the charges may appear steep, you are paying for their education, knowledge, and expertise. They are not only trained and knowledgeable in what is being appraised; they are trained and knowledgeable in the correct way to put together an appraisal.If you want it done right, do your research and hire the right appraiser.