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When an appraisal is required, several factors must be considered to eliminate potential conflicts of interest and to ensure accurate evaluations.

Appraisals should be generated by a professional who performs appraisals on a regular basis and has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized organization. The appraisal document must be USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) compliant.

The appraiser must be an individual with no vested interest in the items being appraised. Any appraiser involved in the purchase or sale of the item or similar items being evaluated is not recommended.

Appraisal fees should be based on a per item basis that is determined in advance. Fees based on a percentage of the appraised values are conflict of interest and are not acceptable. Fees based on an hourly rate, unless the total fee can be reasonably estimated in advance, are questionable.

The appraiser must be considered a specialist in the type of items being evaluated. Generalists who claim to have expertise in many areas, such as art, antiques, household goods, jewelry, furs, coins and stamps, should be avoided.

The appraisal must be USPAP compliant.

(The above has been reprinted from the “INFORMATION SERIES — GUIDELINES ON HOW TO CHOOSE A FINE ART OR COLLECTIBLES APPRAISER,” with the permission of its publisher: Art Services Hotline, a non profit organization.)

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