How to Hire an Appraiser

Many people spend years collecting precious objects or works of art, yet have no idea of their collection's current value. An independent appraisal is important in determining the amount of insurance coverage needed. The cost of adding coverage to your homeowners' policy is often minimal.


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    Check with a local museum or your insurance agent. They may have a list of recommended appraisers.
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    Contact the American Appraisers Association, the International Society of Appraisers or the American Society of Appraisers to find a local appraiser who specializes in your area of collecting.
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    Ask for the appraiser's qualifications. Does the appraiser follow Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and have they signed a Code of Ethics? How much experience do they have? Ask for a resume and references.
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    Ask how the appraisal fees are determined. Most appraisers charge by the hour or by the day.
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    Get an estimate. If an appraiser has been working for some time, he should have an idea of how much time it will take to complete an appraisal of your collection.


  • Make a list of the items in your collection with pertinent details and purchase receipts. Make copies of relevant information for the appraiser, which will allow him to conduct the appraisal more quickly and result in the appraisal costing less.
  • Once your report is completed, get an update every 2-5 years, depending on the kind of collection you have. The more the collection's value varies, the more often you should have appraisals done. If you are still adding to your collection, you may want more frequent updates.
  • The cost of updates is lower than the first appraisal because the appraiser should have most of the data on record already.
  • You may wish to send the appraiser's resume to your insurance agent to make sure the appraiser meets the qualifications of your insurance company before you hire him.


  • Appraisers should not charge based on a percentage of your collection's value. Charging on a percentage basis compromises the appraiser's independent objectivity.

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Categories: Art & Antiques