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Featured Article/Paper Number 10

by Dr. J. Darragh M. Elliott, M.Sc., Ph.D.

"Questions Answered; Notes about our Featured Articles; & How to Contact and Link to Us."

Since we went online almost a year ago, we have grown to be one of the largest sites on the Internet for Fine Art and Print Appraisers. People like you, visit our site twenty four hours a day and e-mail arrives from all over the world. And our monthly featured articles are continually downloaded daily.

As the educational year is now commencing again in North America, instead of placing another article on our site this month, we feel the need to ask you, our viewer, a question. Have we helped you ? The purpose of our articles has been to try to provide a benefit to people who read our site. In this area, we have written about many methods used to acquire collectibles, the business mannerisms of being an artist as well as using our site as a guide for all businesses. We've also noticed that many people, besides interested individuals, who are connected with corporations and major educational institutions visit our site regularly. If you have found our articles to be of interest and/or are of benefit to you, we would like to hear from you. Please let us know by email if we've been able to help in some way, shape or form. You can easily click on this email link and your email will pop up so you can send us your thoughts.

: We are not limited to just paintings and prints and are continually asked to appraise many unusual items that for the most part fall under the category of objet díart. As noted on our site, we also have expertise in a number of other areas, but where we have absolutely no knowledge of a particular item we will advise you. This is not to say that we are unable to do the research for you, but where items are completely out of our area of expertise, we will always advise you beforehand. While we are not experts in every item that has ever existed, we have our own major research library, and update this on a continual basis. Where we are not necessarily immediately cognizant of a particular item, we have the tools at hand to quickly locate information about it. Many of our reference books are not readily available at public libraries or even university libraries since they are primarily designed for use by appraisers, museums and public art galleries. Also, because they can be very expensive to acquire, with many printed only in languages other than English, and are used primarily as a reference source, they are not in demand by the general public.

: After visiting our site, some people fill out the form at the end of the site to request a quotation for an appraisal and forget to include their e-mail address or simply type it incorrectly. These forms arrive at our site via our own Business Internet Service Provider and your email address is not shown since it is a form you are filling out. Therefore, in order to be able to reply to you, you MUST include your e-mail address correctly. A few people have also interpreted our site to mean that we provide free appraisals. We can not provide free appraisals, but we will do some research to see if the item to be appraised has the value to warrant it being appraised and insured. If it does not, then we will advise you. If it does, then we will advise you of the cost to do the necessary research and write the appraisal.

Payments are always made in advance of the research being undertaken and the appraisal written. For obvious reasons, appraised values are never given out before payment has been received.

: Our library is quite extensive, and our appraisals are not only manually researched but electronically researched as well. Value of a work and the artists are thoroughly researched. This provision allows us to not only provide within our appraisals our considered opinion of value for an item, but the supporting documentation that is found is also included within the appraisal and is provided under Supporting Documentation. This is where our appraisals can differ from many other appraisals, since we do not just provide a figure off the top of our heads. Therefore, our appraisals can be some of the most comprehensive within the whole appraisal industry.

: Verbal appraisals serve to satisfy oneís curiosity as to a potential value, but they are worth no more than a puff of powder in a strong wind. Other than the foregoing, they have no value at all. If someone gives you a verbal appraisal, listen very carefully to exactly what they say. What they say may be something quite different from what you think that they are saying. Here they may say your item is worth $X. This means nothing. $X for what purpose? Or they may say that if you were to put it into an auction it might bring $X. Here again, this might be the auction selling price, (it is not a retail selling price). But donít forget that you have a commission cost, an insurance cost, possibly packaging and shipping costs and so on. You are not going to net the same amount as the selling price.

: While with most appraisals it is easy to obtain insurance on a particular item, the difference and most important point lies in the fact that will it be disputed or not in the event of a claim? If the appraisal has been prepared by a person or company who buys or sells the particular item in question, then will it become a contentious or litigious issue if a claim ever occurs? This can easily be the case if it is ever suggested that the person or firm who prepared the appraisal did so with the intent of playing the numbers game for the purpose of replacing the insured item through their own auspices in the event of a claim. As independent appraisers, our purpose then is to provide an appraisal that to the best of our ability will be completely satisfactory to any insurance company anywhere in the world. Appraisals as to value, that will not be disputed in the event of a claim where the insurance company facilitates the settlement of the claim. It is always important to keep in mind that no one wants to pay more money than necessary for anything. This is also very true and only follows good business practices for any insurance company. Consequently, if an insurance adjuster can reduce a claim through any excuse possible, he or she is going to make every attempt to reduce the claim. Then it can come down to the question, is the claim large enough to be worthwhile to litigate, and are you prepared to tie up your money as a result of the initial loss, previous premiums spent, and at the same time, spend more money to recover your loss? Insurance companies are well aware how much money it costs to litigate a claim and may bet on the fact that with smaller claims, it is not worthwhile to the insured to sue them. Consequently, it only makes good business sense for both the insured and the insurance company to obtain an appraisal that is designed to avoid a confrontational issue being created as much as possible.

: Over the last year, we have added many interesting links to our site. If you have a site, or if you are connected with a corporation, or educational institution that has an Internet site, we would like to hear from you. We will soon be redesigning our links page and will be breaking this down into five categories. These categories will include, corporations that are supportive of the arts, educational institutions, art resources, artists and other links of interest. We would like to invite you to join with us and provide a reciprocal link to our site. Our aim here is to provide a substantial resource to everyone who has an interest in art with the only provision of not accepting adult or x-rated sites. More information can be found here.


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