Friday, May 18, 2012

Working with an Appraiser - Tips from Kim

 In working with an appraiser, many questions might come to mind as to how they work with clients— from photography and inspection, appraisal methodology and  format, to billing, and timelines for completion.
For this article, let’s stick to the first question. You’ve made the call to an appraiser and made an appointment for her to come to your home and inspect your objects. To prepare for this visit, knowing what allows her to do her best work will benefit you both in terms of time and money.
Here’s a to-do list before an appraiser visits you:

             1.  Locate prior appraisals and authentications, original purchase documents, insurance policies if art is listed, and exhibition and publication history of art, as appropriate. If updating an insurance policy, confirm monetary levels at which an object needs to be scheduled. These levels vary from policy to policy.  Having these documents copied for an appraiser helps them by not having them research information that was already collected, e.g. the original purchase price and seller of a glass vase, the height of a tall armoire or deciphering an illegible signature. Having these documents ready allows  the appraiser to be efficient onsite. Also, the information in the furnished documents can be included in the current appraisal, eliminating the need to refer to multiple documents in the future.

2.       Confirm that large pieces can be accessed and photographed. If a large painting is in a cramped dark hallway, if at all possible, move it to an area where it will be easier to navigate with a camera. Move heavy furniture that blocks access to arworks. Unwrap items tucked away in closets and boxes.

3.       Lay out the smaller pieces to be appraised in a well lit area, on a shelf or table. Leave room on the table for the appraiser’s tools and documents.

4.       Open curtains to let natural light in. If your house is dark, provide extra lamps or lighting where the appraiser will be working.

5.       If the appraiser is going to walk through your collection and talk to you about each piece informally, you might consider some type of numbering system for each piece, so you can refer back to the pieces quickly and easily after the appraiser is gone.

If you have any questions or you want to discuss an appraisal, call me at 972-239-4620 or email me at

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