Facts about Appraisals

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What is an Appraisal?


     An appraisal is an unbiased independent objective opinion of value of an object by a qualified professional appraiser based upon observable data relative to the appropriate market(s), value approach, valuation date, and other factors.  

Do You Need an Appraisal?


     An appraisal is a key element in protecting your interests, often serving as the cornerstone in a financial transaction.


About Appraisals


    Written appraisals are important legal documents, which accurately describe an object and establish its value for a variety of purposes. These may include:


Insurance: To determine the appropriate replacement cost, most commonly at retail, of an object in order to correctly provide for insurance coverage.


Loss and/or Damage Claims: To determine the value of the object(s) lost or damaged and/or the amount of loss, if any, in value as a result of the damage. Utilized to aid or facilitate claims settlements.


Property Division: To determine the Fair Market Value of the object(s) in order to assist in the equitable distribution of property in a will.


Charitable Donations: To determine the Fair Market Value of the object(s) given to an accepting organization or institution in order to aid in establishing the donor's income tax deduction.


Informational and/or Market Related: To determine the Value of an object in anticipation of potential sale, or to determine the Value of an object under consideration for purchase, or to determine the Value of an object simply to know what it is worth within a specified market, or to determine specific information about an object such as maker, age, country of origin, condition, etc.


Estate: To determine the Fair Market Value of the object(s) in connection with the preparation of estate tax returns, or to assist in estate planning, and/or to aid in the distribution of assets.


Financial: To determine the Fair Market Value of an object for asset management, loan collateral and related financial and legal matters.


What’s in an Appraisal?


     Properly prepared appraisals are individual written reports and are not simple price lists. The specific content and format of each appraisal report varies according to the individual function and purpose of the appraisal, but each appraisal should contain the following information:

  • Name and Address of the Client

  • Purpose of the Appraisal

  • Intended use: Insurance, Donation, Estate, Equitable Distribution, etc.

  • Type of Valuation Used, i.e., Replacement Value, Fair Market Value, Marketable Cash Value,etc., and definition of the value.

  • Valuation Approach Used

  • Market in which the valuation is applied

  • Statement of Professional Qualifications of the Appraiser.

  • Effective date of the Appraisal.

  • Statement of physical inspection/examination by the appraiser.

  • Statement of "disinterest" on the part of the Appraiser.

  • Statement that the appraisal fee is not contingent upon the appraised value of the object(s).

  • Thorough description of appraised objects, including measurements and weights when  applicable

  • Provenance (if available).

  • Exhibition and Publication History (if any).

  • Statement of condition of the appraised object(s).

  • Statement of Value

  • Signature of the Appraiser.

  • Statement of number of pages in appraisal.

About Appraisers


     Choose a qualified appraiser who has been professionally trained and tested by a recognized appraisal association, has experience and education in the field of the object(s) to be appraised and is knowledgeable in the legal, financial, and technical requirements of the appraisal. Personal property appraisers are not licensed and anyone may call himself/herself an appraiser no matter what their qualifications (or their lack thereof). It is therefore crucial to enlist the services of a qualified appraiser.

    Our practice is limited to appraisal of antique and modern silver.  For collections involving property in other fields or disciplines we are happy to recommend colleagues who have equivalent expertise in their areas. We encourage clients to seek appraisers who are members of one of the non-profit appraisal organizations that test members and who require adherence to strict ethical standards.