Being in the business of selling, valuing, and appraising art, antiques, jewelry, and sculpture in Minnesota people contact us for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common questions we get are:
“How much is my painting worth?”
“What is the value of this old picture?”
“What is this antique worth?”
“Can you appraise this painting, sculpture, or antique?”
These questions are more complex than most people think. To properly answer them we need to dig a little deeper into determining the intent of the art appraisal and the market that needs to be researched.
For us to value your painting, sculpture, or antique, you need to ask yourself some very important questions to help us determine the best market to research.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself and be prepared to answer:
What is the purpose of the art appraisal?
In other words, are you interested in insuring the artwork, selling the artwork, or donating the artwork? Is the collection, artwork, antique, jewelry, or sculpture part of an estate? There are several more reasons that may not fit into these categories, but these are the most common. For these common appraisal questions, we look into different art markets to determine the appraised value. Often times these markets offer very different values, so it is important to think about why you want your painting appraised.
Selling the Artwork
The majority of our clients are interested in selling their paintings, sculpture, jewelry and antiques. For these instances we offer a complimentary auction estimate evaluation.
Estate appraisals are important in determining the value of an estate and can be done before or after inheritance. If you have a good estate plan, it is important to get the contents of your house appraised. It is important to hire a professional appraiser that can look at the general contents of a house and make sure there aren’t any objects that are not properly valued. Often times, some of the least expected items can have the most value. I have been to estates where the most valuable items were found in the attic or was a dish that was used to hold keys. It is impossible for an appraiser to know something about everything, but if there are a lot of different items like paintings, Asian antiques, porcelain, furniture and general antiques the appraiser should consult with outside experts to determine the proper value of the items. For estate appraisals that are used for estate tax purposes, we use fair market value.
The IRS defines Fair Market Value as “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”
To determine the Fair Market Value of a painting, sculpture, or antique we look into the secondary market, which is often the auction market. Our appraisal reports will include comparisons from auction listings to help build our case for valuing the artwork. IRS donation appraisals are arguably the most scrutinized appraisals so it is important to hire a professional appraiser to write the report for you.
Insuring a painting
We recommend getting an insurance appraisal if the painting, sculpture, or antique has an insurance value over $3,000. This is also a good conversation to have with your insurance company to see if they need an art appraisal report for certain objects in your collection. The market that we research for insurance value is the retail market, which is typically the highest price in the marketplace. We want to ensure that if something were to happen to your object, you could get an object of similar quality, age, and condition for the price the object was appraised for. Our appraisal reports are accepted by all the insurance companies and are considered legal documents. We have been involved with a lot of insurance claim cases and often times people did not get their collections properly appraised. This likely means that they did not get proper compensation from their insurance company when something happens. Make sure your paintings, sculptures, and antiques are properly appraised and protected from theft or damage.
Donating a painting
The IRS requires a professional appraisal report for any artwork, antique, or sculpture that has a value over $5,000. Donation art appraisals use Fair Market Value to determine the value of a painting, sculpture, and/or antique. For objects that have a fair market value over $50,000 there is a board at the IRS that will look over the report to ensure that it has an accurate value. This shows the importance of having a professional appraiser write a donation appraisal report.
CALL TO ACTION
We look into the resale value of the object. We will access all of our databases to determine what your painting, sculpture, or antique sells for in the open market. We aren’t particularly interested in what the artwork is advertised for online, but rather what the artwork actually sells for. The internet can cause a great deal of confusion in that you may find your exact same object listed for a wide range of prices online. We will navigate all of that confusing information to determine what the actual value is for the artwork or antique, and often times we will give you comparables to help you understand our valuation. If we give you the value of an artwork we will not purchase it from you. We strongly believe that there is a conflict in interest in valuing an object that we would then purchase and want to be transparent and unbiased in our valuation. You should always think twice about selling an object to anyone who values it and then offers to buy it.