Antique Furniture Appraisal

antique baby bed

There are a variety of reasons for someone to need antique furniture appraisal. The type of appraisal that you need is dependent on why you want the appraisal in most cases.

Types of Antique Furniture Appraisal

There are several reasons that a person may want to have their antiques appraised. Each requires a different type of appraisal and each may give the piece a different value.

Insurance Appraisal

When you have your antiques evaluated for insurance purposes, you will need to hire a professional appraiser. He will identify your antique, take pictures, examine your item, and do a variety of comparisons. The appraiser will consider all aspects of your item including:

  • Condition
  • Provenance
  • Desirability
  • Age
  • Rarity

He will then try to find similar items and the prices that they fetched at auction or the value given to them by dealers and other appraisers. After he collects all the information possible, he will assign a replacement value to your item based on what it would cost to actually replace it.

Generally the replacement value will be the highest value given to an antique. You should get a printed record of the value and how the piece was evaluated as well as pictures of your antique. It is important to keep this appraisal and the images in a safe place like a safety deposit box in case of fire or flood.

Appraisal for Fair Market Value

Fair market value is the price that a buyer and seller agree on based on their own appraisal of the item. Generally an antique dealer will base his price on his knowledge of the market, the condition of the item, and what he has paid for it. This value is usually not fixed and you can often bargain for a better price.

Appraisal for Estate or Tax Value

When you inherit an item the IRS may want an appraisal done. This appraisal will be based on how similar items have been evaluated, as well as common auction prices.

Finding an Appraiser

Finding a qualified appraiser can be difficult, especially if you live in a small town. If you are just looking for a ballpark figure for your own information then you may want to figure the appraisal yourself by comparing your item to other, similar items on the Internet. Some good sites to search are:

Online Appraisals

Some companies are willing to do online appraisals; usually for a fee. You will find that the cost of the appraisal is usually less than having a local appraiser evaluate your item but the value given to your item may or may not be totally accurate. This type of antique furniture appraisal is usually not sufficient for insurance purposes.

Some websites where you can find online appraisals are:

You should know that it is impossible to give a totally accurate appraisal without physically examining the item; therefore most Internet appraisals are only good for giving you an idea of the worth of something.

Finding a Local Appraiser

By far the safest way to get an accurate appraisal is to use a professional appraiser that is experienced in evaluating antiques. You can find an appraiser through the Appraisers Association of America. This site lists expert appraisers from all over the country as well as providing continuing education and support for its members. In order to be registered with AAA an appraiser must pass an exam and senior appraisers must have five years worth of experience.

Tips for Choosing and Appraiser

It can be confusing when it is time to choose an appraiser. You probably want to save money but without wasting it in the process. Get as much information as you can by talking to people who have worked with or hired the services of appraisers in yoru area.

  • Before you choose an appraiser you should narrow it down to two or three appraisers that are experienced similar items to yours.
  • Get references that you can talk to about the appraiser and follow up by calling the references.
  • Ask at banks, insurance companies, antique auctions, and antique stores for the names of recommended appraisers.
  • Never sell an antique to the person who appraises it. A reputable appraiser will not consider buying an item he is evaluating.

Take Your Time

It is important to take your time when you are looking for antique furniture appraisal. In most cases you will only get what you pay for. It is important to note that there are no licensing requirements for an antique appraiser; anyone can open an office and take out an ad calling themselves an antiques appraiser.

Ask for documentation of the appraiser's experience as well as references and choose the appraiser that is best suited to your needs as well as your budget.

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Antique Furniture Appraisal