How Do I Get My Art Appraised?

When my sons, who are now older teens, were in elementary school, each end-of-the-year celebration included a carnival of games, face painting, bouncy houses, and a bake sale of deliciousness.

Both boys were talented artists in their own right, but my youngest really loved art most of all. He would draw for hours and hours on rainy days and at nighttime when he could no longer play outside. He even drew caricatures before he learned what exactly they were! His artwork was included in our communities’ annual art shows and showcased on the walls of his elementary school.

Since both of my sons were talented in art, I have framed many pieces of their work, and they are on my home’s walls alongside professional artists’ works. My home is like an art museum filled with:

  • Paintings (Miguel Frietas)
  • Professional fine art photography framed images
  • Fingerprint art from an unknown Chinese artist
  • Canvas wrapped art
  • Windowpane framed art (my cousin, who is also an artist, created this one out of an old home wooden windowpane and made it into a frame)
  • Textile art (framed pieces of fabric art with quilts and vintage clothing from my mom’s 1960s apparel)
  • Prints and posters (Again, from my mother’s 1960s art collection of high-quality prints and posters, including iconic artwork as well as rock and roll limited edition posters)
  • Framed art show paintings from both of my sons
  • Professional, candid portraits
  • Collages (I created them as I, too, am an artist, more of a writer and a musician, but I can craft too!)
  • Collectible, vintage framed Beatles Rubber Soul screen print mirror

It’s what I have so far, but I am an art collector, so I  am confident it will grow as the years go by. Speaking of years going by, I have recently put together a will so my sons won’t argue over who gets what, but I still need to get the artwork appraised to finalize it. Let’s find out what the experts suggest.

According to The Art Institute of Chicago, “The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries cannot evaluate or appraise works of art. However, we subscribe to a number of art price indexes and other databases that search auction results. Most of these indexes are available either in the Reading Room in print or accessible from the public terminals in the Reading Room,”. They went on to note the following reputable appraisers, “All of these societies offer “Find an Appraiser” tools online:

  1. American Society of Appraisers
  2. Appraisers Association of America
  3. International Society of Appraisers
  4. Art Dealers Association of America,”.

One of my closest friends owns an eclectic home goods store, and part of her specialty is helping seniors and empty nesters downsize and simplify their lives. Most of the time, this entails some type of estate sale. Sometimes, there are pieces of art or antiques that she does not have the credentials to appraise or put a cost to, so she hires an art appraiser.

An art appraiser is a professional who assesses the monetary value of artwork. They could work for people like my friend or museums on a commercial level, possibly for an insurance company adding a rider to their client’s policy, or private individuals looking to divide an estate up, such as in a divorce. A professional will be highly familiar with many styles of art as well as the market value of those pieces and be highly keen on identifying false or forged artwork.

What type of art needs appraisal

Okay, I know that as a mom, I believe that my sons’ artwork is amazing, but let’s get real here; the work won’t have an economic value worth as much as the sentimental value. What type of art needs appraisal has requirements more than being in the local art show. Not that that isn’t a huge honor! But let’s see what we do need to have appraised.

Here are some forms of art that would need an appraisal; they include but are not limited to:

  • Paintings (according to many sources, painting is the most popular media in global collections. About 83% of all collected art is painting, with a further 15% being drawings, works on paper, and collage)
  • Sculptures
  • Sketches
  • Animation Cells
  • Metal Work

Once you decide what needs appraising, the next is to catalog the art. How we do that will be explained in more detail below.

How do you inventory your art collection?

According to Forbes magazine, the following checklist will ensure correct cataloging:


  • The name of the artist or culture
  • The title or subject matter
  • The medium, such as oil or canvas, or watercolor on paper
  • The date created
  • The size
  • Any marks, signatures, or labels on the item of art, on the back of the item of art, or affixed to the frame
  • The history (provenance) of the item, including proof of authenticity, if that information is available
  • A record of any exhibitions at which the item was displayed
  • Any reference source citing the item
  • The physical condition of the item
  • A professional quality photograph of a size and quality fully showing the item, preferably an 8×10-inch color photograph or a color transparency, not smaller than 4 × 5 inches
  • The quality of the item within its type
  • Other physical and economic attributes that have a material effect on the value
  • The ownership interest valued, if more than one owner exists
  • Known restrictions on the item
  • Any other item, such a frame, associated with the item
  • The scope of work is necessary to produce a credible appraisal
  • Analysis of comparable sales, for a credible comparable sales valuation-based-sales comparison when necessary
  • Analysis of costs for a credible cost valuation, when necessary, including:
  • The effect on the value of any encumbrance, such as pledges as collateral.
  • The value of an item reflects the fact that the item is part of a collection of items, including:
  • Comparable sales of an assemblage of similar items as inventory or as a collection
  • Opinion on effect of sale of all of the items in a collection at the same time
  • The estimated time required to sell individual items of an assemblage at fair market value
  • The market effect of repair, restoration or other modifications to the item,”.

How do I get my art appraised?

In conclusion, when appraising your artwork collection, it is essential to remember to seek reputable appraisers, meticulously catalog each piece, and ensure all relevant details and provenance are documented for an accurate valuation.

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