An appraisal document is a signed document with images included that establishes the value of your artwork. It is prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Appraisers Association of America, Inc. and to comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. As of August 17, 2006 there are new I.R.S. guidelines pertaining to "qualified appraisals" and "qualified appraisers". Gift and estate appraisals must now be completed by an appraiser who has "earned an appraisal designation from a recognized appraiser organization" and must be "conducted by a qualified appraiser in accordance with generally accepted appraisal standards....consistent with the substance and principles of USPAP"
Appraisal documentation includes a full description of the artwork, images, biographical information on the artist, provenance (when available), an assessment of quality and condition as well as retail, private and/or auction records for comparable artwork.
This type of appraisal reports the amount/value that would be required to replace a work with another of similar age, quality, origin and condition within a reasonable length of time in an appropriate and relevant market. Copies of this type of appraisal can be furnished to your insurance company for your scheduled fine arts policy in case of losses due to fire, theft, damage, flood, etc.
As defined by the IRS, an FMV appraisal is "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 a reasonable knowledge of relevant facts."
Other types of appraisals can be written and tailored for specific circumstances when required for estate taxes, object donation to a recognized museum or institution, collateral, and liquidation of property and forced sales. All appraisals are held in strict confidence. Written appraisals and copies of such are furnished to you and only to you.
Ellery H. Kurtz, AAA - Certified Member, Appraisers Association of America, Inc. Specialist in appraisals of 19th and early 20th Century American Art - American Art Appraisal
Appraisals are not simply someone making an educated guess as to value. True appraisals are based upon comparative price research, using published international auction records for all works by the artist, dealer’s prices, lists and verbal quotations for other works by the artist, the appraiser's personal knowledge of private transactions concerning the artist’s work and market activities of collectors, dealers, and institutions interested in the artist's works.