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I visited a gallery the other day and heard from the dealer a very disturbing story about an appraiser that will certainly now be inserted in Artful Dodgers: Fraud and Foolishness in the Art Market. Chapter 7 of the book is titled What’s Wrong With Appraisers? Plenty, as you’ll eventually read when you get your copy. When will that be? Soon.  

It seems the dealer had a client who was interested in purchasing a painting, but said he would like to have it appraised by an independent appraiser first. “That will be fine,” responded the dealer. “Get whomever you want.”

Unfortunately, the buyer called someone other than me. The “appraiser”–who holds certification from the International Society of Appraisers–examined the painting and prepared an appraisal report. She then called the gallery and said, “My client only paid me $600 and I think you should also send me a check. After all, thinking that it would help you sell the painting, I raised the value.”

That, in my opinion, is a very clear ethics violation and reflects very badly on what I refer to as TPAs–True Professional Appraisers. Unfortunately, as you’ll also read, there are very few of us. Obviously certification or accreditation by one of the three major appraisal societies, even training in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice  (USPAP) is not a guarantee of quality service. I state in the book that I don’t believe that more than 10% of those who hold themselves out to be appraisers are any good. The other 90% includes a great many who have some training, hold certification and state they practice in compliance with USPAP.

In my town, there are two “certified” art appraisers and I have been asked several times by attorneys, insurance companies or art owners to review their reports for various reasons. Shocking. One (the individual who stars in the story above) was clearly guilty of appraisal fraud in one assignment and both have demonstrated to my satisfaction in their written reports that they don’t understand the various types of value and when they should be applied.

So what is one to do if an appraisal is needed?

That’s easy——CALL ME: 1-800-884-3254.

I am in my 40th year of appraising!

It’s not a celebration, IT’S A GUARANTEE.









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