What’s the value of your collection? Tips for hiring an appraiser

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Hiring a qualified appraiser is one step in protecting the value of your collection.

Fluctuations in the value of your collection can affect your decisions regarding insurance, estate planning and more. Are values climbing, falling or steady?

Resources available through online auction databases can help you research and track the value of your collection and the current market conditions. But what if you need a more precise valuation?

For this, you must hire an appraiser, and it is a good idea to consider an appraisal every five years or so.

When hiring an appraiser, consider these tips:

  • Seek out a recommendation from a knowledgeable and trusted source, such as your local insurance agent, a museum professional, fine art dealer or another collector.
  • Contact any of the three professional appraisal organizations for access to a certified appraiser:
    • Appraisers Association of America (AAA)
    • American Society of Appraisers (ASA)
    • International Society of Appraisers (ISA)
  • Evaluate your collection and its specific needs, especially if your collection consists of various types of objects. You may require appraisers with differing areas of expertise.
  • Review the level of experience for each appraiser you are considering. You should ask for a professional resume that shows education, qualifications and previous experience.
  • Ask if the appraisal you will receive is compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
  • Request a sample appraisal to review from any appraiser you are using for the first time.
  • Require the appraiser to explain the fee structure.
  • Fees should not be based on commission or directly tied in any other way to the value of the appraised item.

Protect your collection by having it professionally appraised and insured. To make sure your collection is adequately insured, contact your local insurance agent.


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