Appraisers and Licensing

You might be surprised to hear that there are no Federal or state licenses for personal property appraisers in the United States.   When it comes to placing a value on your antiques, art and household contents, anybody can say they are a appraiser.   If a personal property appraiser claims to be licensed, it is for some other aspect of their business, e.g. auctioneering, real property appraising, private investigation or even a city business license.

How are personal property appraisers credentialed and what standards do they follow?

Appraisers are credentialed by their professional appraisal associations.  The three largest associations with personal property appraisers are the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and the Appraisers Association of America (AAA).  In addition to testing, education and demonstration of appraisal experience, designated members must requalify every 5 years.  All members are bound by a Code of Ethics.

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is a set of guidelines published by The Appraisal Standards Board at The Appraisal Foundation.  It is the source of generally accepted standards and ethics for appraisers in the United States.  Appraisers must  take USPAP courses and keep current with the updates every 2 years.  In addition, the Appraisers Qualifications Board has developed voluntary minimum qualifications for personal property appraisers.

The IRS has established the following requirements:

  • A Qualified Appraiser has earned a professional designation from a recognized professional  appraiser organization for demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property being appraised, or has met certain minimum education and experience requirements.
  • The individual regularly prepares appraisals for which he or she is paid.
  • The individual demonstrates verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property being appraised.
  • The individual has not been prohibited from practicing before the IRS under section 330(c) of title 31 of the United States Code at any time during the 3-year period ending on the date of the appraisal.
  • The individual is not an excluded individual.
What should you do to make sure you are getting a qualified and ethical appraiser?
  • Choose an appraiser from a major appraisal society and check to see if they are current.  Certified and Accredited are the highest levels of designation.
  • Ask them about their experience, areas of designation and expertise.
  • The appraiser should provide a 3rd-party independent opinion of value, and not have a potential conflict of interest.
  • Choose an appraiser who is USPAP compliant and IRS qualified.

Perhaps personal property appraisers will be regulated and licensed at some future date.  In the meantime, the user of appraisal services should carefully consider their selection.

Education Calendar for Personal Property Appraisers

Personal property appraisers are always looking for opportunities to enhance their appraisal knowledge and earn professional development points.  As part of the Education Committee for the Antiques & Residential Contents Division at the International Society of Appraisers, I created the Educational Opportunities Calendar in 2004 and am currently the manager.

Included in the calendar are classes, symposiums and seminars from major appraisal societies, auction houses, museums, historical societies and colleges.   Offerings include antiques, collectibles, decorative art, fine art, jewelry, furniture, historical events, regional studies, USPAP classes and more.  In addition to the classes hosted in various locations, many on-line events are listed and highlighted in yellow.

Check the calendar for  events up to a year in advance.  For calendar submissions, please e-mail event information to me at kjablonsky@personalpropertyappraisals.com

Sesquicentennial Renews Interest in Civil War Collectibles

Civil War Sesquicentenial

The 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War takes place this year and continues until 2015.  There are many state and local activities scheduled to commemorate this historical event.

Appraisers need to be aware of special events such as this, and how they will affect the values for related items.   This multi-year anniversary of such an important historical event is expected to have an increase on values for Civil War artifacts and collectibles, at least temporarily.  Buyers and appraisers should also be aware that civil war artifacts are frequently faked.

More information on the planned events is available at the following websites:

Civil War Trust  http://www.civilwar.org/150th-anniversary/

Smithsonian Institution http://www.civilwar150.si.edu/

The National Archives http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/civil-war/

The National Civil War Museum

 

Top 10: Ten of the biggest auction sales of historic U.S. Civil War memorabilia

(source: Wikicollecting)