The Importance of Art Appraisals

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The value of art can vary based on many factors. Although a name that is well known can seriously increase the value of an object, condition, workmanship and prevalence are factors that are just as important. Unless you’re highly knowledgeable on a given topic and have experience spotting fakes, art can be extremely hard to verify and you may consider soliciting the help of an experience art appraiser.

An art appraiser not only determines the value of a piece of artwork, but the appraiser also proves authenticity. Art appraisers are neutral non-conflicted professionals who value art for a living, and who work on your behalf. Typically, an appraiser is certified by a regulatory agency.

Art appraisals are also beneficial if you if you have items of value to donate, insure or sell. An art appraisal is a professional opinion that documents the quality and value of a work of art. The appraisal can be written for a variety of purposes, such as for tax purposes or to determine the replacement cost. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) provides standards for writing appraisals.


As the value of artwork change over time it is important to maintain the proper level of insurance coverage for a collection. For purposes of estate planning, a current inventory of your art collections can be invaluable. Often people do not realize what they have and what and how they wish to distribute it until they have an itemized list in front of them. As well, there are often taxation issues which you may want to consider.

Find the right type of appraiser for your art work. Make certain that they are thoroughly familiar with your artist or the style and era of the piece of art. It is usually best to do the appraisal in person if the art has potential market value. Check for members of a professional organization such as ISA, AAA or ASA. These members stick to strict professional ethics and their appraisals are recognized throughout the United States.

A few final tips to consider when hiring an appraiser. First, never use an online appraisal service. Since the appraiser is not looking at your art piece in person, the value is highly inaccurate. Second, never let an appraiser offer to buy your antique because he may give you a price that is marked way lower than book value in order for him to get a deal. Also, be aware that some appraisers charge a few hundred dollars per hour. So do your research before investing in an appraiser that could be less than professional.

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