There are a variety of appraisals within the marketplace and those in the industry define them as: Business Valuation, Real Estate and Personal Property appraisals. While there are overlapping elements to these appraisal fields, there are specialties within each of these fields. For example, Real Estate could be broken down into commercial and residential or Personal Property could be divided into Airplanes and Fine Art.

While preliminary education for different types of appraisers may be similar, experience in the field and different methodologies employed can be worlds apart. A complete restoration on a 1965 Beechcraft Baron twin-engine propeller plane and restoring a 1965 Mark Rothko oil painting could have vastly different consequences on value. To find out if Art of Estates is right for your project, please call or keep reading.

Personal Property Appraisals

Fine Art The term “Art” is used by the IRS and includes paintings, sculpture, watercolors, prints, drawings, ceramics, antique furniture, decorative arts, textiles, carpets, silver, rare manuscripts, historical memorabilia and other similar objects.  Art of Estates appraises fine art, decorative arts, precious metals and historical papers encapsulating the above “Art” category that the IRS broadly uses for their terminology.

Our industry however often defines fine art as paintings in a variety of media, prints (lithography to photography), bronzes, mixed media and the new media forms we are beginning to see take shape in the contemporary market. In the case of important works within a collection, additional authentication may be needed in order to provide an accurate and dependable value if the proper provenance does not already exist. Art of Estates has experience in performing this level of assistance.


Design & Fashion Designs of the Mid-Century era is the term we’re using to describe the emergence of design from the Bauhaus and International movements exhibited in the 1930s at World Fairs in the United States. Scandinavian designs drove aesthetics and structures with their arching curves and machine-like rationalism with form and function meeting in the middle. Ray and Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll, Herman Miller, George Nakashima and many other famous were a part of this era. Whether you have a marshmallow sofa or Chieftain Chair a Sputnik Chandelier or an Atomic Clock, Art of Estates has you covered.

Hermes and Chanel have largely been leading the way in the market of fashion purses and hand bags, but also luggage with the inclusion of Louis Vuitton. Fashion clothing of vintage clothing like that of Alexander McQueen or Pucci can have high collectability and value in the market.

Native American The majority of traditional Native American pottery was created by female artists and often carried familiar attributes through family lineages. Early San lldefonso Pueblo black on blackware pottery works of Maria Montoya Poveka Martinez gained early notoriety now her redware has as well, but works by Tony Da and Margaret Tafoya and many others can often be equally important. While many 20th Century artists have strong notoriety, like that of the fine art world, a contemporary collector’s market of non-traditional pottery has emerged for artists like Al Qoyawayma.

Asian Art In today’s collections we are seeing a rise in Asian (sometimes referred to as Oriental) works of art found in old and newer collections. Jade, cinnabar, porcelain, ceramic, cloisonne to silk drawings, watercolors and prints. While we have and will continue to appraise these items, it is not uncommon for our company to reach out to translators in our field to provide additional insight into the wide ranges of property we may encounter.

Antiques A loosely used term by today’s standards, but a very common element in most collections, referring to property that is over 100 years old. We’ve examined a vast array of china cabinets, bed frames, buffets, tables, desks, clocks, settees, chairs and chests just to name a few. However, antiques don’t just include wooden furniture–there are pianos, lamps, dolls, sterling silver epergnes, spinning wheels, gothic altar candelabras, fishing lures and a whole lot more that we’ve appraised for our clients.

Decorative Arts A somewhat ambiguous sounding category, but a very common element in most collections. Crystal, glass, porcelain, ceramic, wood, silver, brass, mosaics and mixed media works often displayed in cases, buffets, cabinets and on side tables. Most people have commonly been exposed to the more common Goebel Hummel figurines, Murano glass, millefiori paper weights or Artus Van Briggle, but often mixed in these collections we find works by Gertrud & Otto Natzler, Rene Jules Lalique, Daum, Viola Frey, Robert Carston Arneson or Dale Chihuly.

Firearms While there are a wide range of guns in the market and held within private collections, Art of Estates has prepared elaborate reports on historical firearms from the 19th and 20th Century. Rifles, hand guns and pistols are not outside the scope of our report writing.

Residential Contents Like the “Arts” category the majority of residential contents fall into a category that our company can appraise.

Additional Things to Consider Estate property should not be overlooked by the trustee or executor as inconsequential or overly complex for an appraisal or our appraisal team’s qualifications. Only in highly unique cases, do we need to bring in a niche professional to detail an item that may have uncommon appeal or unfamiliar attributes.

We are not GIA certified, nor do we have the equipment to perform the task needed to determine the values or weight of diamonds. We do however have a network of gem and jewelry accredited appraisers we work with depending on the region of our inspection. A watch from the 19th Century may have new or missing jewels (gear parts) which may affect its overall value. Conversely, a gem and jewelry professional would not take on the evaluation of a limited edition Picasso linocut print since they are not trained in the fine art field.

Frequently, trustees and executors make the mistake of dismissing value early on in the preliminary process of touring the residential contents only focusing on important paintings, automobiles or precious metals. However, the aggregate value together can be quite substantial. This is particularly important with IRS estate tax appraisals. There can be a vast array of items found in every location on a property. Sam Walton was a multi-billionaire when he passed away, and though his home contained some modest residential contents amounting to very little, a personal property appraisal was still required and performed on all his belongings.