Today, getting art appraised can be as easy as getting a quote for term life insurance over the phone. It can take a matter of minutes to get a ball-park figure, or it can take longer to get a more detailed answer. To reach a larger audience, recently many art appraisers have chosen to join the electronic information super highway and move their businesses to the internet.
So now you can find out what the birthday gift idea your grandmother had for your grandfather way back when is it worth today more quickly and easily than ever before. Most art appraisers only require you send them a photograph of the piece, the original and answer a questionnaire. Some can give instant verbal appraisals over the phone or via email. They can estimate the value by the condition and authentication of the piece. Appraisers can even tell you how much a piece has depreciated as a result of something like water damage (or heaven forbid something like a spot of salad dressing on the canvas).
Maynard Elliot an appraiser who started Fineartappraiser.com has an online form to fill out the information about your piece and then get a timely response. His appraisal service is mainly for collectors securing their investment, insurance agents for customer appraisals, insurance companies for claims settlement purposes, to insure an item, contemporary, decorative or otherwise, art galleries and corporate collections, artists selling prices supported, educational resources, charitable institutions and donations and estates and trusts. Elliot has quite a distinguished background in Art History and Art Appraisals and his extensive study of art goes back 40 years.
Fine Art Appraisals online is also among the many companies offering this service. They charge $75 verbal appraisal and $175 written appraisal for all media including paintings, sculpture, prints and photography.
A well-known online appraiser is Ask the Appraiser on thacollectingchannel.com. They teamed up with Ebay in 2003 to better serve the community with services for appraisals of pieces for auctions. But it’s not just for Ebay. It’s a simple online service that comes with a tutorial to explain step by step the process. You can get an instant appraisal via email, or send a digital photo and description for a more detailed appraisal. They appraise such items as antiques (art, furniture, etc.), ceramics, coins/currency, collectibles, glass, jewelry and gems, sporting goods, sports (football equipment/memorabilia, basketball, soccer, horse racing equipment among other sports memorabilia), stamps and toys and dolls. For a nominal fee you can even ask them to check out an Ebay auction online and tell you what the item is worth.
Many of these art appraisers are members of The Association of Online Appraisers (AOA). It is a registered 501(c)(6) not-for-profit international association for personal property appraisers who are involved in offering online written appraisal reports (either as individuals or via an appraisal management company) through the use of digital images and Internet online reporting. Their mission statement is to promote and encourage professionalism and ethical conduct among online personal property appraisers. You can search for an appraiser online through their website: aoaonline.org.
Modern technology in the online industry could bring such services even closer with VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) solutions. Online appraisal could be as easy as a telephone chat via the internet in real time. Watch for it. It could be coming soon to an online appraiser near you…