Should you get your artwork regularly appraised?

With the art market constantly changing and the oscillating prices, appraising artwork on a regular basis has become a standard. The extensive report and documentation of a fine art appraisal provide insight into the artwork’s or collection’s value, based on the art market data and expert findings. Whether you are collecting as an individual or you are running a company collection, it’s essential to keep your documents on paintings, sculptures, and other works updated.

Regular art appraisal can be necessary for many different reasons. Collectors looking to insure their assets or donate work, those looking to establish a resale value, determine estate value or estimate their art prior to move or divorce all need their assets properly valued. Well-curated and substantial art collections can be used as collateral for financing and sometimes while learning the actual value of your art can also be a matter of curiosity.

Further, people who inherit art collections and wish to either sell or keep them will definitely need an updated appraisal. It’s a common belief that the value of art positively increases over time, but that is not always the case. In fact, some art styles that were once popular might not be in demand at the moment at all, and changing tastes often influences the market value of art. A professionally conducted appraisal will consider all the variables, such as each artist’s sales history, the current position in the market, as well as condition of every piece.

Conducting the first appraisal of your artwork should be done after you’ve accumulated a small collection. All of the pieces should be appropriately documented to facilitate the process, and the results will give the first insight into your investment. Even if you’re collecting out of sheer love for art, without looking to sell, appraising your collection and checking the condition of works is well-advised.

The majority of art experts agree that regular valuations of artwork should happen every three to five years, depending on the collection itself. Various fluctuations in the market, collecting trends and buyer demands will definitely affect the result, and it’s important to maintain the proper insurance coverage for your art. Some say that contemporary art can be appraised every one to three years in some cases, while classical art and furniture are generally more stable and require a five-year estimate should be enough.

Every seven to ten years, it would be smart to add a condition report to the appraisal to update on the collection’s cleanliness and general state. It’s a known fact that art can get tarnished by various factors or it can deteriorate over time, all factors that will affect the estimated value.

New collectors should definitely have all of their art appraised, but this does not have to be necessary for those who have large collections. Appraising artwork step by step is a good strategy if there are pieces that take priority over others, or there are groups of similar works in a collection.

Finally, when you decide that it is time to have your artwork appraised, make sure to hire a licensed professional. Expert appraisers have to take a test every five years to prove that they are familiar with the latest Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) changes. Your appraiser should be an expert in the field pertinent to your art as well. If you’re wondering where to find an appraiser, there are several associations that gather these type of professionals, including Appraisers Association of America, American Society of Appraisers and Art Dealers Association of America.

Once you get your art appraisal documentation, store it in a safe place, accessible to you and your family. It’s a good idea to keep all the appraisals conducted over the years, including both professional and personal photographs of the work in situ. Well-maintained paperwork can serve best as evidence in case of theft or as proof of history and appreciation of every piece and a collection as a whole.


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