Our Services

Overview of Appraisal Services


Penelope-Inspecting

We provide a wide variety of services both appraisal and non-appraisal related.  Some of the most popular appraisal types are listed to the right, as well as some other services. If you are looking for a service not listed, but believe we might be able to assist, please contact us so we can see how we can be of assistance.

Archive Appraisals

An archive appraisal is similar to an estate appraisal except that the artist is usually living and/or the archive is actively marketing its photographs. Many factors are taken into consideration in this type of appraisal including previous sales history, marketability and reproduction potential. This type of appraisal can be done for a variety of purposes including marketing the archive for sale and estate planning. The valuation basis is typically fair market value [see our definitions section under FAQ]

Damage Appraisals

A damage appraisal is usually required by insurance carriers when there is a total or partial loss to property.  This type of evaluation may take into consideration factors including the original purchase price, retail replacement value, the possibility and cost of restoration, and the value of the piece after restoration. It is also important to know whether value is to be determined before or after the damage occurred.  The valuation basis can vary depending on the scope of work agreed upon between the client and appraiser, but can include marketable cash value, retail replacement value, or fair market value.  [see our definitions section under FAQ]

Donation Appraisals

Donation appraisals are required by the Internal Revenue Service when a donation of one or more like items [i.e., a number of photographs] is worth more than $5,000. These appraisals require extensive write-ups including bibliographies, biographies, auction and retail sales information, a valuation analysis and complete descriptions, as well as illustrated addenda.  A donation for the current year must always be made prior to December 31st of the same year.  An appraisal can still be done after December 31st as long as the material has already been donated to the institution.  A signed IRS Form 8283 accompanies the appraisal for tax purposes. A donation appraisal is based on the fair market value [see our definitions section under FAQ] of the items donated.

Equitable Distribution Appraisals

An equitable distribution appraisal is based either on fair market value or marketable cash values [see our definitions section under FAQ]. This type of appraisal is usually required in the case of divorce or dissolution of a partnership.

Estate Appraisals

An estate appraisal is required when an artist or a collector dies and the estate must be given a fair market value [see our definitions section under FAQ] basis agreeable to the I.R.S. We provide this type of appraisal for individual heirs as well as whole estates.

Fair Market Value Appraisals

Fair Market Value is the price at which a photographs would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts. A fair market value appraisal takes into consideration all market factors, including auction and retail sales, and in particular, the most common market in which the photographs usually trade.  This type of appraisal is typically for informational purposes only.

Insurance Appraisals

Insurance appraisals are necessary in order to protect your collection from loss by fire, theft, damage, etc. Unlike household policies which often will not include valuable items at full replacement value [see our definitions section under FAQ], most valuable items policies require up-to-date appraisals based on current retail replacement value. We suggest that our clients update their appraisals at least every two years and try to notify them when one or more of their photographs has increased substantially in value.

Sales and Marketing Appraisals

These types of appraisals are similar to fair market value appraisals, and possibly archive appraisals, depending on the size and type of collection.  Like donation appraisals, these documents provide a thorough description of the collection, valuation information and analysis. As a marketing tool, the document provides the reader with an understanding of the collection’s importance, physical characteristics, and an explanation of the factors that affect value.  Although the valuation basis is typically on fair market value, you should discuss with the appraiser whether the marketable cash value [see our definitions section under FAQ] should also be taken into consideration.

Overview of Non-Appraisal Services

home-1The services below are some of our more popular non-appraisal related services.

Auction Consultation

Auction consultation includes previewing the auctions with our clients either in person at the auction houses or over the telephone with the catalogs. This service includes a physical inspection of the photographs under consideration, comparable sales research and purchasing at the auctions.

Cataloging Services

Our cataloging services are quite extensive and include researching all the details on a photograph [title, date, condition, signature, etc.], entering this information into a database, along with a reproduction and exhibition history, attaching an image of the photograph and appraising its current value. An informative report containing the desired information can then be printed out at the client’s request and a customized database can be provided at additional cost.

Collection Management

For a select number of clients we offer advice of what and where to buy or sell, how to frame and hang the collection, proper storage and conservation techniques as well as cataloging and appraising the individual photographs.

Lectures & Symposia

We are available for presentations on all aspects of appraising and collecting photographs.

Marketing Consultation

Marketing consultation includes advice on how and what to buy or sell and how much to pay. This service can also include our auction consultation.