The role of appraisers of fine and decorative arts is often misunderstood by the general public.
Typically, a client seeking an appraisal believes he is asking a simple question: “What is my object worth?” To an experienced appraiser, understanding the reasons for an appraisal request is a critical aspect of the task. The specific circumstance for each appraisal influences the calculated value.
For most appraisal practices, the most common request for appraisals are generated by insurance requirements. Insurance companies, in the course of business, require a replacement value as of the date on which a loss occurred or the date on which an item is to be insured.
Internal Revenue Service
The calculation of estate and gift taxes often requires an appraisal to determine the “fair market value” of an item being donated to a charity or that is a part of an estate. The appraisal methodology and report format are defined in IRS regulations.
For litigation or arbitration related to divorce or contract disputes the definition of value is usually specified by a presiding judge or arbitrator.
For any of these circumstances, the appraisal report requires a specific line of reasoning. Included in these appraisal reports are references to authenticity of the item, comparable sales, specific markets, description of methodology, qualification of the appraiser and a certification that the appraiser is a “dis-interested/objective party.”
For those requiring the services of an appraiser for the above listed circumstances, there is no substitute for a properly and precisely executed appraisal. The cost of these kinds of appraisals is usually based on time charges.
For those who are simply attempting to satisfy their curiosity regarding the authenticity of an item or to identify the best examples in a collection, there is an alternative. Experts are often willing to provide information as a consultant. The service is especially useful in determining what should be subject to further investigation and actual appraisal.
Some experts, based on an inspection of photographs and documents, provide guidance on authenticity and value. The owner of a property is given an opinion on authenticity and a range of value under different circumstances: “insurance replacement,” “auction estimate,” “retail.”
Rugappraiser.com offers economic online options for those seeking information about their Oriental rugs: http://rugappraiser.com/services
Allen Kosub began his career in the rug business nearly fifty years ago, and has been appraising rugs since 1967. For more than fifteen years, he has been an accredited, senior member of the American Society of Appraisers and has been certified as a specialist in the field of oriental rugs. He has published articles, been the subject of newspaper articles, given lectures for museums, and taught courses for members of the insurance industry and appraisal profession.
Mr. Kosub currently serves as a consultant to architects, designers, collectors, Oriental rug dealers, banks and museums. His appraisal practice includes assignments for insurers, adjusters, banks, U.S. Customs, and the Internal Revenue Service. He has provided litigation support through expert testimony and consultation.