frequently asked questions

WHAT IS AN APPRAISAL?

An appraisal, as defined by the Appraisal Standards Board in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is the "process of developing an opinion of value."

WHAT IS AN APPRAISAL REPORT?

The appraisal report is the actual report in which the opinion of value is stated. Appraisal reports can be written, which is always preferable, or oral. Both, according to USPAP, are subject to the same reporting requirements.

ARE APPRAISERS SUBJECT TO ANY STANDARDS OR GUIDELINES?

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), first published in 1987, makes recommendations and sets guidelines for a properly prepared appraisal report, including how the appraiser should communicate his or her opinions and conclusions.

HOW DO APPRAISERS CHARGE?

Fees are based on an hourly, daily, or project rate and never on a percentage of the value of the property. Factors such as the amount of time spent onsite and the time needed to research and prepare the appraisal report should be discussed and agreed upon before the work begins.

WILL THE APPRAISER TELL ME IF MY ARTWORK IS AUTHENTIC AND NOT A FORGERY OR COPY?

Appraisers are not authenticators, and appraisals should not be considered certificates of authenticity. In the case of a valuable artwork in dispute, the appraiser will typically call in a third-party expert, such as a scholar, museum curator, conservator, associate of the artist or (if possible) the artist himself or herself.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY COLLECTION APPRAISED?

Most collectors reappraise their collections every three to five years. In a volatile market, it may be wise to appraise your collection more often, as values may have increased or decreased significantly since the previous appraisal.

WHO SEES THE APPRAISAL REPORT?

Only the person who hires the appraiser sees the report unless it is specified in writing who else may see it – e.g., a lawyer, family member or the executor of the estate.

DO ALL ART APPRAISALS DETERMINE THE VALUE OF ARTWORK IN THE SAME WAY?

An appraiser may be asked to provide different valuations for different purposes. For example, for insurance purposes, the appraiser may determine the Retail Replacement Value (RRV), which is the amount required to replace the artwork with another of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance and condition within a reasonable length of time, including any applicable taxes, commissions and premiums. For tax purposes, the appraiser may determine the Fair Market Value (FMV), which is the price that the artwork would sell for on the open market between a willing buyer and a willing seller, with both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts. For other purposes, the appraiser may be asked to determine the artwork's Marketable Cash Value, Liquidation Value or Salvage Value.