Art and antique appraisers are experts in a particular field, such as 19th century European painting or French Art Deco glassware, who can help owners ascertain the value of the unique items they own. There are a number of reasons to seek an independent appraisal. In addition to being helpful information, an expert appraisal can help satisfy court, tax and insurance requirements.
Reasons to seek an independent appraisal
1. For insurance purposes. Most standard homeowner's insurance policies have a set cap on how much they will pay for any individual item that is stolen or damaged in your home due to a disaster like a fire or a burst water pipe. If you have items, such as artwork or antiques that are valued more than this maximum payment amount, you'll need to purchase a separate policy, called a rider, for each of your expensive items. In order to determine the value, the insurance company will generally require a third party appraisal by someone experienced in working with that type of item.
2. To settle an estate. Another reason to hire an art appraiser is when someone dies and the court needs to find out how much the person's possessions are worth, so they can either be sold or fairly divided among the heirs. Appraisals are also used to help determine the amount of estate taxes that will be assessed by the state and the IRS. Even if there was a previous insurance appraisal, the probate court will generally require a current appraisal, as the value of artwork and antiques can vary dramatically over even a few years.
3. To ascertain the value of an item you are giving to charity. If you are donating an expensive piece of art or an antique to a charity or art museum, the IRS requires that items valued at $5,000 or more be appraised by an independent appraiser.
4. To determine value of assets for divorce proceeding. Yet another reason to hire an art appraisers is to get a current value of a piece or pieces of art so that the value of a couple's property can be determined and then divided.
Art and antique appraisers, like Lipton Inc, can be found online by searching the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), Appraisers Association of America (AAA) or American Society of Appraisers (ASA) sites. You can also ask at your local art museum or private art gallery. Your probate attorney may also have someone that he or she works with regularly for estate work.