Ask Ken: Appraisal Questions

What types of appraisals do you offer?

We offer appraisals for estate settlement, insurance, charitable donation, and general knowledge.  


How can you tell if the appraiser you are working with is reputable?

The best way to choose an appraiser is to see if they have done work for friends and acquaintances or other businesses that you trust.  Check their experience and specialties - make sure you can find out what these are. And, finally, see if they are a member of an appraisal organization and if their appraisals meet USPAP requirements.  Most importantly, take your time to do the research!


When should I get an insurance appraisal?

First thing, contact your insurance company and speak with them about which items in your collection need to be appraised and scheduled.  Also find out if there are limits on precious metals, jewelry, or individual objects.


How can an appraiser assist you when you’re the executor of someone’s estate?

A professional and experienced appraiser should be able to assist you by establishing values and a viable plan for selling and disposing of items.  But again, it’s worth taking your time to find a reputable appraiser so that you can get the best assistance with the process.


What is a favorite appraisal that you have done?

My favorite recent appraisal was the personal property of American author William Faulkner.  I appraised the contents of his former home in Oxford Mississippi, which are being purchased by the University of Mississippi.  It was amazing to think I touched the typewriter that was in his office and that was used to compose some of his work!


How are your day-to-day appraisals different than Antiques Roadshow?

Antiques Roadshow is a verbal appraisal.  Sometimes we only have 30 minutes to research and film, sometimes a bit more.  Regardless, even though you are surrounded with professional colleagues you can consult with, you always have a shorter amount of time for research.  When doing an official appraisal in my office the time is much less restricted. I can do as much research as I need to execute a complete appraisal.  I can also reach out to colleagues who can assist me through their specific specialties. Just recently I was working on a rare 18th century portrait by a particular artist whose work is extremely rare.  It took quite a bit of time and consulting to reach a proper estimate for the painting. As an appraiser, you have to be willing to search and spend proper time on an item to get the job done.


photo credit Antiques Roadshow | PBS