FBI Warns Dealers, Collectors About Terrorist Loot

On Aug. 26th the following announcement was made:

The FBI is alerting art collectors and dealers to be particularly careful trading Near Eastern antiquities, warning that artifacts plundered by terrorist organizations such as ISIL are entering the marketplace.

“We now have credible reports that U.S. persons have been offered cultural property that appears to have been removed from Syria and Iraq recently,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, manager of the FBI’s Art Theft Program.

The Bureau is asking U.S. art and antiquities market leaders to spread the word that preventing illegally obtained artifacts from reaching the market helps stem the transfer of funds to terrorists.

In a single-page document titled ISIL Antiquities Trafficking, the FBI asks leaders in the field to disseminate the following message:

  • Please be cautious when purchasing items from this region. Keep in mind that antiquities from Iraq remain subject to Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions under the Iraq Stabilization and Insurgency Sanctions Regulations (31 CFR part 576).
  • Purchasing an object looted and/or sold by the Islamic State may provide financial support to a terrorist organization and could be prosecuted under 18 USC 233A.
  • Robust due diligence is necessary when purchasing any Syrian or Iraqi antiquities or other cultural property in the U.S. or when purchasing elsewhere using U.S. funds.

In February, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2199, which obligates member states to take steps to prevent terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria from receiving donations and from benefiting from trade in oil, antiquities, and hostages.

Before purchasing an item from suspected areas, ask questions and verify:

  • Which country did this come from?
  • Do you have the proper paperwork?
  • What is the provenance or history of the object’s ownership?

Check stolen object databases.  Proceed with caution.  For the full article and links to important resources:  ISIL and Antiquities Trafficking

Three Major Appraisal Organizations Unite to Alert the Public to Risks Associated with Engaging Uncredentialed Personal Property Appraisals

Circle of Trust

A Circle of Trust has been established by the three major professional societies for personal property appraisers to jointly promote education to the public regarding the importance of using credentialed appraisers.  They include the International Society of Appraisers, American Society of Appraisers and the Appraisers Association of American.  The joint announcement states:

Members of these associations earn their credentials through a stringent admissions, training and testing process, are required to comply with IRS and AQB guidelines, adhere to a code of ethics, and to complete continuing education requirements. These qualifications provide a level of professionalism that is unmatched, and ensure the public that appraisals performed by an accredited appraiser are among the most reliable appraisals available.

All three organizations strongly urge the public to verify the educational and experiential background of an appraiser prior to retaining their services, and to be wary of red flags that indicate an appraiser may not be objective in conducting appraisals. These include charging for appraisals based on the appraised value of an item, or offering to purchase an item the appraiser has appraised. Professional, competent appraisers always conduct appraisals at “arm’s length,” without self-interest.

The full news release and contact information for the three societies can be found at PRSYNC.

 

  

7 Best Practices for Gifting Art to Museums

Appraisals for Charitable Deductions in Southern California

 

Investment News has a good article titled “The Art of Legacy Planning – 7 Best Practices for Gifting Art to Museums”.  In the article they state that high net worth individuals spend an average of 17% of their wealth on art and antiques, a passion investment.   Part of managing this investment is planning for the future of the collection.  One option is to donate to a non-profit organization such as a museum.  To maximize the benefit from a donation these steps are suggested:

1. Create a plan with your client, legal counsel and an independent art adviser that includes the donor’s close family or other heirs as appropriate. Including family and/or heirs in the process can help clarify a donor’s intent, prevent future conflict and actively aid in preserving the donor’s legacy. The plan should include having the artwork professionally appraised by an accredited appraiser with relevant experience in the type of artwork being donated. The appraisal cannot be made earlier than 60 days before the donation. In cases where donors are concerned about whether the IRS may accept a valuation, such as when there are fluctuating markets for similar artwork, an IRS Statement of Value may be obtained for artwork valued at $50,000 or more to provide the donor with certainty.

2. Try to place artwork in museums that have missions and continuing collection interests that strongly align with your clients’ intent and contents of their collection. Clients often will know of strong prospects. But clients focused and passionate about their collection may not recognize how their collection will best fit with a museum’s broader collection, its goals and its limitations in space and other resources.

3. Consider art museum policies and practices for donors and “deaccessioning” (removing items from museum holdings, usually to sell them). Mr. Welch pointed out that “many museums want to retain the ability to improve their collections through the acquisition of better examples. In such a case, a gifted artwork might be deaccessioned and the proceeds used to acquire a superior work. When that happens, the donor’s name of the original gift typically appears in the newly acquired work’s credit line.”

4. Consider museums that are members of monitoring or regulating associations. For example, the Association of Art Museum Directors requires a written policy for “deaccession principles, procedures and processes”. They also require that “funds received from the disposal of a deaccessioned work shall not be used for operations or capital expenses. Such funds, including any earnings and appreciation thereon, may be used only for the acquisition of works in a manner consistent with the museum’s policy on the use of restricted acquisition funds. In order to account properly for their use, AAMD recommends that such funds, including any earnings and appreciation, be tracked separate from other acquisition funds.”

5. Check the health of organizational finances by looking at Form 990 tax filings and/or charity rating agencies like Charity Navigator. One quick test is to look at total assets and total liabilities. Stable charities — like stable businesses — generally have assets exceeding liabilities.

6. Consider supporting museum operating costs as part of a donor’s commitment to their gift of artwork. Financially supporting the museum is another way of helping to preserve a donor’s legacy and a logical step in a client’s charitable, financial and tax planning.

7. As you draft an agreement for the gift, consider including a “statement of intent” that clearly and personally outlines the desires and expectations of the donor for their donation. Sharing this statement with family (and/or other heirs) and the beneficiary museum can help clarify intent, expectations and address any concerns of heirs or the museum. A statement of intent can also clarify donor intent for future generations and may help prevent legal challenges. Donors who bequeath their art collections to museums share an intimate part of their lives. Advisers can help provide guidance that will preserve and protect their client’s wishes, smooth the process and help establish their client’s legacy for the benefit of future generations.

Source: Investment News The first item on the list includes having your artwork professionally appraised by an accredited appraiser.  Credentials for qualified personal property appraisers are earned with their professional appraisal societies.

About the Author: Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP is a certified appraiser of personal property designated in Antiques and Residential Contents with the International Society of Appraisers. She is based in Southern California and serves the San Diego and Palm Desert regions.

Untying the Knot

You may have seen the fairly new television series on Bravo titled “Untying the Knot”.  It features a prominent divorce mediator helping couples split up their joint assets.

As part of the process, appraisers are brought in to value the personal property.  The level of value may vary slightly by state, however in California the appropriate level is “Fair Market Value”.  For television purposes, the appraisers are verbally reporting the values.  In real life, a written appraisal report must be provided.  It is important to choose an impartial and credentialed appraiser who may be called to testify at formal mediation or court.

In most cases, property owned prior to the marriage is separate and retained by the individual.  Individuals with large collections or family heirlooms may want to consider having their items documented and appraised as part of their pre-nuptial planning.

As an appraiser, I cannot give legal advice.  Please consult a professional attorney.

Resources:

What Should I Know about Divorce and Custody?” from the State Bar of California

Divorce or Separation from the Judicial Branch of California Courts

 

About the Author:

Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP is a certified appraiser of personal property designated in Antiques and Residential Contents with the International Society of Appraisers.  She is based in Southern California and serves the San Diego and Palm Desert regions.

 

Events for Personal Property Appraisers and Collectors in California

Heath Ceramics Factory Tour, Sausalito
October 17th, 10:30 AM  – 11:30 AM
Sponsored by AAA
 
Photography and Sculpture: The Art Object in Reproduction, Los Angeles 
October 25th, 9:30 AM  – 5:00 PM
A Getty Research Institute and Clark Art Institute Symposium 
 
Appraisal Research Workshop, Los Angeles
Getty  Research Institute
December 2, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Sponsored by AAA

Past event:

Foundation For Appraisal Education Seminar, Alameda
August 28-29
Sponsored by the FAE and Michaan’s Auctions
A fabulous opportunity to spend 2 days listening to lectures on a variety of subjects and meet appraisers from different associations. 
Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP with Loredano Rosin sculpture
Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP with Loredano Rosin sculpture
 
   

 

 

 

APPRAISAL FOUNDATION TO HOST 2ND PERSONAL PROPERTY ROUNDTABLE

The Appraisal Foundation will be holding the second personal property roundtable on September 23rd in Washington, DC titled “Envisioning the Future: Building Public Trust”.  Topics of discussion will be of importance to personal property appraisers and include qualifications, standards and oversight.  Panelists will include a wide variety of personal property disciplines, as well as auction houses, appraisal associations and law firms.

The roundtable will be conducted from 1:00 PM  – 5:00 PM and is free and open to observers.   A networking reception will follow.  For more details and registration, see the Appraisal Foundation website.

HOW OLD IS AN ANTIQUE?

As an appraiser, I receive calls daily from potential clients saying they have an antique to be evaluated.   If the caller is in their twenties, they may be speaking about something only 30 years old.   On the other hand, if I ask a room full of senior citizens how many of them think they are antiques, the majority of people in the room raise their hands.  It’s a matter of perception.

Although we may see varying descriptions, there is a U.S. government definition for an antique.  Guidelines were originally established by the U.S. Customs Service for import tariffs.   In the Tariff Act of 1930 an antique was defined as an object made before 1830, after which mass production became common.  In 1993, Title VI of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057), also known as the Customs Modernization or “Mod” Act, became effective.  These provisions amended many sections of the Tariff Act of 1930 and related laws.  Thus, there is a rule of 100 years old to describe something as “antique”.   

RESOURCES:

“Shopping For Antiques” from the Federal Trade Commission.

“Works of Art, Collector’s Pieces, Antiques, and Other Cultural Property” from U.S. Customs and Border  Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 

Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP is a full time personal property appraiser designated in Antiques and Residential Contents with the International Society of Appraisers. She is based in Southern California and serves the San Diego and Palm Desert regions.

Deadline Approaches for Appraisal Scholarships

The Foundation for Appraisal Education offers annual scholarships for personal property appraisers to further their education.  For the 2014-2015 year they are offering two scholarships for new appraisers (with less than 2 years experience) and two for experienced appraisers.  The deadline for application is May 30, 2014 and is approaching quickly.   For applications, guidelines and procedures go to the FAE website and click on “scholarship”.

Foundation For Appraisal Education

 

 

Educational Opportunities for Appraisers in California

It’s important for professional personal property appraisers to take continuing education courses.  Not only to sharpen our skills but to acquire education credits with our professional appraisal associations.   The following events will take place  over the next few months in California:

Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) for personal property appraisers, 7-hour update class:

May 10, Seal Beach, College For Appraisers

Workshop on the Identification and Care of Architectural Drawings and Photo-reproductions: June 18-20, Stanford University Libraries

Foundation for Appraisal Education Seminar, August 27-29, hosted by Michaan’s Auction House in Alameda.  Featuring lectures on modern, Asian  and California art as well as wood I.D., snuff bottles and Tiffany glass.  Additional post-seminar tours available on August 30.  Foundation For Appraisal Education

 

Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP is a full time personal property appraiser specializing in antiques and residential contents in San Diego and Palm Desert, California.

EVENTS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: PALM SPRINGS SHOWS

February will be a stellar month for shows at the Palm Springs Convention Center over President’s Day Weekend.

First is the 3rd annual PALM SPRINGS FINE ART FAIR, February 13 – 16, featuring post-war and contemporary art from over (60) galleries around the world.

Palm Springs Fine Art Fair
Palm Springs Fine Art Fair

Second is the 14th annual PALM SPRINGS MODERNISM SHOW & SALE , February 14 – 17, featuring (82) premier national and international decorative and fine arts dealers presenting all design movements of the 20th century.

Palm Springs Modernism Show
Palm Springs Modernism Show

Third, if you’re really into modernism there are ten (10) days of activities, lectures, shows and tours throughout the Coachella Valley, February 13 – 23, MODERNISM WEEK, featuring mid-century design, architecture, art, fashion and culture.

Modernism Week
Modernism Week

Come to the desert for a few days or a few weeks.  There’s something for everybody interested in fine art and modernism.