A Collector’s Guide to Appraisals

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A Collector’s Guide to Appraisals

Published Jul 2022
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While you may not want to think about valuable goods being stolen, damaged or lost, in reality these things happen all too often. Whether you hold fine art, jewelry, antiques or even classic cars, having a current appraisal of these items is essential.

An appraisal provides the necessary documentation to substantiate your collection’s existence, condition, and value. It can also help ensure your valuable items are insured to their current replacement value, which protects against market fluctuations and value loss.


Fair Market Value

You commission an appraisal for your art and collectibles, the valuation methodology will depend on the purpose of the assessment.

  • Fair Market Value is the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, if neither felt like they had to buy or sell and both have reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.1 This value is often used for appraisals or if you want to sell the item. If the item is part of a pair or set, consideration may be given to its increased value as being part of a pair or set.


What to Look for in an Appraisal

A comprehensive appraisal report includes:

    •    Client’s name and address

    •    Appraiser’s contact information and qualifications

    •    Purpose of the appraisal (insurance, estate, etc.)

    •    Method of valuation (market comparison, cost approach, etc.) and the market in which valuation is applied

    •    Type of valuation and its definition

    •    Relevant dates, including date of inspection, appraisal and report issuance

    •    Assumptions, disclaimers, and limiting conditions

    •    Thorough description of objects, including artist, origin, style, media, marks, signatures, measurements, age, condition, and provenance

    •    Firm statement of value (not a valuation range)

    •    Valuation support, including comparable examples, market analysis, and sources


In addition, the appraisal document should be printed, not handwritten, and should always be signed by the appraiser.



Choosing an Appraiser

A qualified appraiser has a formal education in appraisal theory, methodology, principles, and ethics. He/ she should also have specialized expertise in the material being appraised. For example, an appraiser specializing in contemporary art may not be the best choice to appraise an Impressionist painting.

If you would like to find out more about protecting your collections and other valuable possessions, leave your contact details via the 'Contact Me' button below and our representatives will get in touch with you.



  1. IRS publication 561
  2. Appraisers Association of America, Definitions of Value, 2019

@2022 Chubb. The contents of this document are for informative purposes only and do not constitute advice. Please review the full terms, conditions and exclusions of our policies to consider whether they are right for you. Coverage may be underwritten by one or more Chubb companies or our network partners. Not all coverages and services are available in all countries and territories. Chubb® and its respective logos, and Chubb. Insured.SM are protected trademarks of Chubb.

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