Last updated on July 12th, 2023 at 08:21 pm

If you own a work of art, you will probably need to get an expert appraisal at some point. Whether you need to update your insurance, deal with inheritance taxes, sell the work as part of an estate sale, or give the work away as a charitable contribution, it’s important to ensure the art appraisal meets professional and legal standards.

A valid written appraisal document will help you determine the value of your art and receive appropriate reimbursement in the case of a future loss.

Who is Qualified to Do an Art Appraisal?

A qualified appraiser is a professional who has earned a designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization, such as the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), American Society of Appraisers (ASA), or Appraisers Association of America (AAA). They must have the expertise to meet the appraisal requirements set by the International Revenue Service (IRS). An appraiser must be able to defend their appraisal in writing and before a court of law if necessary.

Antique shops and commercial art galleries are generally not qualified to do a professional art appraisal on their own unless they have staff certified by the ISA, ASA, or AAA.

Here are a few things you should expect during a professional art appraisal.

What Should an Art Appraisal Include? 

A professional appraisal should generally include the following 10 elements:

  1. A Detailed Description. The art appraisal should include a detailed and accurate description of the art in question, complete with measurements and photos.
  1. A Statement of Reason. Most appraisals are done for a specific reason, such as to prepare for a sale, charitable contribution, or inheritance taxes. If nothing else, you may need the appraisal documentation for insurance purposes.
  1. A Statement of Limiting Conditions. Any appraisal findings will be subject to certain limiting conditions, contingencies, and liabilities. These should be listed out in the appraisal documentation.
  1. A Description of the Appraisal Method. The art appraisal should include a description and explanation of the appraisal method(s) used.
  1. A Statement of the Appraiser’s Disinterest. The appraiser should not have any financial or personal interest in the property or the parties involved. In addition, the appraiser should state the code under which the appraiser practices, such as the International Society of Appraisers (ISA).
  1. A Notation of the Condition of the Art Being Appraised. The appraiser will make a note of any damage that may have occurred because of negligence, natural disasters, the passage of time, or other causes.
  1. The Appraiser’s Commentary. The appraiser will generally provide additional commentary regarding the research methods used, valuation factors considered, and where the artwork should be placed within the artist’s market.
  1. A Summary of Provenance. In some cases, the history of the work may affect its value. For example, art that once belonged to a celebrity or was shown in a famous exhibition may be valued higher than art without this history.
  1. A Certificate of Appraisal, the Appraiser’s Qualifications, and the Appraiser’s Code of Ethics. Most appraisers practice under the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
  1. The Appraiser’s Signature and Any Dissenting Opinions. Some art collectors and property owners request opinions from multiple appraisers to obtain the benefits of combined judgment. In these cases, there may be differing opinions that should be noted in the appraisal document.

Art Appraisal in Seattle

Fruitcocktail has been providing residents of the Greater Seattle area with high-quality appraisals, estate sale services, and consignment assistance for more than twenty years. We bring a well-trained eye for design and quality as well as a passion for uncovering lost treasures.

We’re comprised of trusted Seattle appraisers who work to accommodate each and every unique situation to the best of our abilities. As an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers, Fruitcocktail Collectibles will meet every requirement to help you accurately determine the value of your art.

If you are seeking a Seattle appraiser to assess a work of art, get in touch with the experienced professionals at Fruitcocktail today.