Depending on the type of art and the value, your collection can be an appreciable asset meriting a professional appraisal. The reasons for an appraisal fall under the categories of Insurance Coverage, Charitable Contributions and IRS deductions, Equitable Distribution (usually a divorce or estate), Estate Tax Liabilities and re-sale valuation. Most insurance companies won’t require an appraisal if the value is under $5,000; the IRS requires an appraisal if the donation exceeds $5,000. Appraisals can also be crucial in determining whether a work of art or an object you’re intending to collect is valued properly, avoiding buyer’s remorse. Keep in mind that appraisers are not qualified to authenticate; however, their deep professional associations with experts in the art field will result in a trusted referral.
Accredited practitioners follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) format and the Code of Ethics required by all professional appraisal societies, of which the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers and the Appraisers Association of America list qualified members for hire. If you’re a New York collector, the New York Fine Art Appraisers can link you with a local appraiser.
There are strict guidelines for what should be included in the type of appraisal you’re seeking. Whether it be for Retail Replacement Value (RRV), Fair Market Value (FMV) or any other, your valuation report will be customized to the specified intent, using industry relevant online, subscription-based art sales indexes such as Artnet, Askart or Artprice and price guide texts like Gordon’s, Hislop’s and Davenport’s. When not working with an art advisor, we recommend that you visit the websites in this paragraph to familiarize yourself with line items contained within a properly prepared appraisal report – at minimum. Above all, if your appraiser has a stake in the determination of value, there’s a likely conflict of interest. Avoid this scenario!