Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Appraisal?
An appraisal is an independent, unbiased opinion of value that often serves as a basis for a transaction. Professional appraisers value property with independence and objectivity.
What will an Appraisal tell me about my item(s)?
A written appraisal should contain the following elements:  artist, title, medium, condition, signature information, date information, dimensions, provenance, appraised value, and a summary of factors on which the appraisal was based. The appraisal report also includes statements about the purpose of the appraisal, as well as the appraiser’s C.V.
I am not sure I need an Appraisal…Can I find out whether I need one before engaging an Appraiser?
If you are not sure if your property is valuable or whether you do require an appraisal, seek information from galleries and auction companies, research at your local library as well as the internet. Then, from your telephone conversation with a professional appraiser, it might be clear that you do not need an appraisal. Or, the appraiser might come to your location for a minimum consultation fee to look at your artwork and determine whether an appraisal is needed.
Can an Appraisal be done from Photographs?
No, an appraisal cannot be prepared from photographs. Objects need to be examined first-hand. However, a photograph might indicate whether or not an object has enough value to warrant the expense of an appraisal.
What will the cost of an Appraisal be?
The cost of an appraisal depends on the size and type of your collection.  Appraisers generally charge an hourly fee for the on-site inspection and the research and preparatory time. In addition, there are nominal fees to cover photography and word processing/printing costs, travel beyond local area, and outside consultations where needed. (Qualified appraisers have formal education in appraisal methodology, as well as knowledge of their field; they may call on specialists for items that are unusual or outside their field, for which fees are typically charged.)
What information should I give the Appraiser?
You should advise the appraiser the purpose of your appraisal: i.e., for insurance coverage or claim, estate settlement or distribution, charitable donation, or for inventory/resale purposes. You should provide the appraiser with a description and quantity of the objects that you wish to have appraised.
How do I prepare for an Appraisal?
Gather information for the appraiser: all documents you have relating to the works: sales receipts, provenance information, previous appraisal information, conservator’s reports, exhibition catalogues. Paintings should be available for inspection; if possible, removed from walls. It is preferred that fine original prints be inspected out of their frames, which can be arranged. The appraiser may have assistants available for large objects and collections, which would be pre-arranged.
Will I be provided with Contract?
You will receive a Letter Agreement with an outline of the work to be done, an estimate of the time involved, and a request for a retainer.
What will the Appraisal Document include?
The appraisal report will be a formal, multi-page typed and bound document including detailed descriptions and photographs of each item, the names of the client and appraiser, the effective date of valuation, and value conclusion.