The popularity of television programs such as Antiques Roadshow where expert appraisers delight owner by providing an extensive analysis of an object along with its current market value has invigorated this industry. Appraisals have always been necessary for insurance coverage, charitable contributions, IRS deductions, equitable distribution of assets in a divorce or separation, estate taxes, and establishing re-sale valuations. Now there are myriad examples of online appraisals by so-called experts who, for a fee, will examine a photo of an object and offer a valuation.
Looking at the sale prices for similar works of art provide some guidance in determining value but condition, rarity, and market demand are also critical factors. A credible art or antique appraiser will have not only extensive knowledge of the market but also be knowledgable about the object and its maker. The process of becoming an accredited or certified art appraiser takes a minimum of three years experience. Membership in one of the appraisal organizations recognized by the IRS involves an extensive background and reference check plus completion of courses and passing an exam.