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What to do before consulting an art appraiser about the value of a work of art.

There are six questions an appraiser will ask you about the work of art you are having appraised:

1.    Why? What is the purpose of the appraisal? An appraisal for insurance, donation, estate settlement, resale, or just curiosity.

2.    What? Type of object are you having appraised? Is it a painting, sculpture, drawing or print? Sometimes you may not know exactly what type of object you have. Prints are especially hard to determine, if the work is under glass.

3.    Who? Any information about the artist or maker and the date of the piece Check the painting for dates or the painter's signature. Look near the lower right hand of the painting on older paintings or on the back of a work by a modern artist.

4.    Where? where it was purchased and if you are the owner? Often times, a client may have a work of art from a family estate. Do a little research of your own. Is there a family story that goes with the artwork? Any information you have about the work of art may be important.

5.    How? How much is an appraisal going to cost? The cost of an appraisal depends upon your purpose for the appraisal. Fees begin at $25.00. If you are curious about an artwork you own, and are thinking about selling, a limited appraisal would be the way to go. Appraisals for insurance, donation or estate settlement are legal documents, and require extensive research and documentation.

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