a qualified person to perform an appraisal can be difficult, especially
if you dont live in a large metropolitan area. Many telephone
directories do not even show the service category art appraisers.
Because of this many individuals turn to personal property appraisers
who probably do not possess the expertise to appraise art objects, and
especially museum quality art objects.
The purpose and the anticipated value
of the art object are the most important factors in finding and choosing
an appraiser. If the appraisal is for insurance purposes and the value
of the collection is not great, then there are many options for the
collectors. If the appraisal is for donation or probate purposes and
the value of the collection is significant, there are fewer options.
For the insurance purpose with a collection
of medium value (under $100,000), the simplest solution is to ask your
insurance agent whether they have a recommended appraiser. Also galleries,
especially galleries that handle artists in your collection, may appraise
the art or at least know someone who does. And if you are a good customer
of the gallery, they may even appraise the work gratis.
For more significant works that are being
probated or being considered for donation, the task is more difficult.
Most gallery appraisers do not possess the qualifications outlined by
the Internal Revenue Service for artwork over $5000. If the donation
is of museum caliber, museums that include that artist in their collection
may have a recommendation of an appraiser associated with the museum.
Although the IRS will not accept an appraisal from the museum to whom
the art is being donated.
A second possibility is to contact one
of the major auction houses. Many of them have appraisers on staff who
may be qualified to offer an appraisal.
A third possibility is to contact universities
with graduate art history departments. Many of these professors also
do appraisals and possibly could authenticate the work if the collector
does not have proof or provenance of the art.
As a word of caution. Art dealers also
give appraisals. Most are honest, but some dishonest ones will lowball
an appraisal to attempt to secure the work at a low price. Secondly,
since an appraiser assumes liability with their appraisals, one should
question any appraiser who would offer to do an appraisal without visually
inspecting the work. This includes online appraisal services.
-- By being organized, you can save a great
deal on your appraisal. Set up an art file that keeps all of your
receipts and information on each of the pieces. The more information you
can supply the appraiser, the less time it will take to complete the
appraisal. This also includes old appraisals from other appraisers. --