Let’s get physical! On-site appraisals for the win!

Before Covid-19, there was no question as to how appraisals were performed. An appraiser visited the site where the items of appraisal are located, did their work, then wrote up a report and submitted it to the person for whom the appraisal report was prepared.

Enter the pandemic and a world under lockdown. Online appraisals were already a thing, but as people turned to the internet for the sake of safety and convenience, they surged in popularity.

Online appraisals do have their niche but they are extremely limited. A major part of the appraiser’s role is the ability to physically examine items. Condition is often paramount, so damage or areas of repair are the first things I look – and feel, smell and listen – for. (So far I haven’t had yet to taste an appraisal item, though I’ve been known to rub a questionable pearl over my teeth 🙂

Let’s say you want to get Granny’s Minton Haddon Hall tea set appraised prior to selling it online. You find an online appraisal site offering a quick turnaround time, upload the information you have and attach photos of the tea set. If you are absolutely certain that every single piece of the tea set is in perfect condition, your measurements are accurate and photos sharp and crystal clear and you’ve included legible maker’s marks, you should be fine.

However, if you aren’t used to looking for flaws or repairs, or send poor quality images, then you are compromising the appraisal’s integrity. The online appraiser can only go on what you give them. No responsible appraiser will make assumptions about an item.

Not too long ago I watched an episode of Antiques Roadshow where a painting had been appraised online for $1500. The AR appraiser valued the same painting in the range of $15 000. Even taking into account market fluctuation, that is a considerable difference!

That’s all for this week’s blog. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me via the Contact form. Have a good week!

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