Why should I have my art appraised?
An appraisal can help you determine the fair market value of your art, and how to come up with a strategic price point for your art piece or collection.
For Charitable Tax Benefits
In order to deduct charitable donations of art, an official art appraisal is required by law. As certified appraisers we are authorized to complete and sign and your IRS Form 8323, which is a legal declaration of the fair market value of an art piece or collection. This document will protect the financial benefits you’ll receive as a result of your donation should you ever be audited.
For Art Insurance Purposes
If an art object is rare enough that it requires professional expertise to identify and value, many insurance companies will require an appraisal in order to insure an artwork or collection at its actual fair market value.
When shouldn’t I have my art appraised?
Professional appraisals require expertise by art historians with years of academic and field experience, as well as travel time to and from your home or business to view and examine the art in person, sometimes using expensive, fragile equipment such as scientific grade microsocpes. If your art object or collection is likely to be under $500, it may not be worth the cost of hiring the appraiser.
What kinds of art do you appraise?
Ancient art, African art, Asian art, classical antiquities (Greek, Roman, etc), ethnographic art, and post-War, modern, and contemporary paintings.
What kinds of art DON’T you appraise?
Contemporary tribal art, contemporary Native American art, prints that are replicas of paintings.
Could I get a quick estimate of the cost of my art piece or collection over the phone or via email?
No. As great as digital photography may be, a quick look at a digital snapshot cannot replace careful study of the work in person, by an experienced appraiser with the appropriate knowledge and tools. It is expressly against the code of professional ethics for appraisers to give out quick estimates without doing their due diligence.
I don’t want to enlist your services only to find out that my pieces cost less than the service provided, which will prevent me from making a profit when I sell my piece/collection. What should I do?
We don’t want this either! We will speak with you by phone and do our absolute best to ensure that this does not happen. If we believe your collection costs less than our services, as a courtesy, we may refer you to the appropriate marketplace for your art.
How can I trust your appraisal? Who enforces professional standards for appraisers?
In addition to our education and experience as art historians and art market specialists, we are also certified by the Appraiser’s Association of America, which requires us to regularly take continuing education classes as professional standards and practices evolve over time.
How can I tell if you or any other appraiser I am trying to vet is good?
See our guide to THE SIX PILLARS OF SUCCESSFUL APPRAISERS
Howard Nowes is a certified member of the Appraisers Association of America, Inc. [AAA]
All Howard Nowes Appraisals are prepared in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) set forth by the Appraisal Foundation in Washington D.C. and is bound by the strict Code of Ethics of the AAA.
Fine Art Appraisals
We will provide a professionally written appraisal for purposes of insurance, fair market value, charitable donation, estate tax or equitable distribution, according to your needs. Cost: $200 per hour including research, examination and travel time.
These appraisals will contain the following elements:
- Name and Address of Client
- Purpose of the Appraisal
- Intended use: Donation, Estate, Equitable Distribution, Insurance, Etc.
- Type of Valuation Used.
- Replacement Value, Fair Market Value, Marketable Cash Value, etc. and Definition.
- Valuation Approach used: Cost Estimate Approach, Income Approach, Market Data Comparison Approach, etc.
- Market in which valuation is applied; most common market (place).
- Market Analysis: Generic market History and possible projections for future activity.
- How objects were acquired -- especially for IRS purposes.
- Statement of Professional Qualifications of Appraisers. Curriculum Vitae.
- Date of Preparation of Appraisal and date on which objects were viewed. Effective date of Appraisal.
- Statement of physical inspection or method used in determining value. Any qualifications?
- Statement of "disinterest" on the part of the Appraiser.
- Statement that the Appraiser has not been "disqualified" by the IRS (for IRS Appraisals).
- Statement of Assumptions and Limiting Conditions.
- Statement of Fee Structure. (Statement that the Appraisers fee is not contingent on appraised value of objects.)
- Statement of belief in authenticity; that the appraised object(s) correspond to description(s) listed in the Appraisal.
- Clear division of appraisal when one or more than one appraiser is involved.
- Who did what? Inclusion of Curriculum Vitae of consulting appraiser.
- Thorough description of appraised objects.
- Measurements and weights when applicable.
- Brief biography of the artist when necessary.
- Provenance (if available).
- Exhibition and Publication History (if any).
- Statement of condition of appraised objects.
- Comparables and related analysis When necessary.
- Firm statement of Value -- not estimates, except when followed by detailed explanations of qualifications.
- Signature of Appraiser(s) and Tax ID number(s) when appraisal is prepared for IRS purposes.
- Statement of number of pages in appraisal
Charitable Contributions and IRS Requirements
Appraisals for Paintings, Antiques, and Other Objects of Art you plan to use as contributions for deduction should be supported by a written appraisal from a qualified and reputable source, unless the deduction is $5,000 or less. If you claim a deduction of $20,000 or more for donations of art, you must attach a complete copy of the signed appraisal to your return. For individual objects valued at $20,000 or more, a photograph of a size and quality fully showing the object, preferably an 8 x 10 inch color photograph or a color transparency no smaller than 4 x 5 inches, must be provided upon request. If you donate an item of art that has been appraised at $50,000 or more, you can request a Statement of Value for that item from the IRS. You must request the statement before filing the tax return that reports the donation. Your request must include the following: A copy of a qualified appraisal of the item. A $2,500 check or money order payable to the Internal Revenue Service for the user fee that applies to your request regarding one, two, or three items of art (add $250 for each item in excess of three). A completed appraisal summary (Section B of Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions.) The location of the IRS District Office that has examination responsibility for your area.
If your request lacks essential information, you will be notified and given 30 days to provide the missing information. You can withdraw your request for a Statement of Value at any time before it is issued. However, the IRS will not refund the user fee if you do. If the IRS declines to issue a Statement of Value in the interest of efficient tax administration, the IRS will refund the user fee.
The authenticity of the donated art should, when possible, be determined by the appraiser. Certificates of authenticity may be useful, but this depends on the genuineness of the certificate and the qualifications of the authenticator.
Important items in the valuation of antiques and art are physical condition and extent of restoration. These have a significant effect on the value and must be fully reported in an appraisal. An antique in damaged condition, or lacking the "original brasses," may be worth much less than a similar piece in excellent condition. More weight will usually be given to an appraisal prepared by an individual specializing in the kind and price range of the art being appraised. Certain art dealers or appraisers specialize, for example, in old masters, modern art, bronze sculpture, etc. Their opinions on the authenticity and desirability of such art would usually be given more weight than the opinions of more generalized art dealers or appraisers. They can report more recent comparable sales to support their opinion.
Since many kinds of hobby collections may be the subject of a charitable donation, it is not possible to discuss all of the possible collectibles in this publication. Most common are rare books, autographs, manuscripts, stamps, coins, guns, phonograph records, and natural history items. Many of the elements of valuation that apply to paintings and other objects of art, discussed earlier, also apply to miscellaneous collections.
Publications available to help you determine the value of many kinds of collections include catalogs, dealers' price lists, and specialized hobby periodicals. When using one of these price guides, you must use the current edition at the date of contribution. However, these sources are not always reliable indicators of FMV and should be supported by other evidence. For example, a dealer may sell an item for much less than is shown on a price list, particularly after the item has remained unsold for a long time. The price an item sold for in an auction may have been the result of a rigged sale or a mere bidding duel. The appraiser must analyze the reference material, and recognize and make adjustments for misleading entries. If you are donating a valuable collection, you should get an appraisal. If your donation appears to be of little value, you may be able to make a satisfactory valuation using reference materials available at a state, city, college, or museum library.
Most libraries have catalogs or other books that report the publisher's estimate of values. Generally, two price levels are shown for each stamp: the price postmarked and the price not postmarked. Stamp dealers generally know the value of their merchandise and are able to prepare satisfactory appraisals of valuable collections.
Many catalogs and other reference materials show the writer's or publisher's opinion of the value of coins on or near the date of the publication. Like many other collectors' items, the value of a coin depends on the demand for it, its age, and its rarity. Another important factor is the coin's condition. For example, there is a great difference in the value of a coin that is in mint condition and a similar coin that is only in good condition. Catalogs usually establish a category for coins, based on their physical condition--mint or uncirculated, extremely fine, very fine, fine, very good, good, fair, or poor--with a different valuation for each category.
The value of books is usually determined by selecting comparable sales and adjusting the prices according to the differences between the comparable sales and the item being evaluated. This is difficult to do and, except for a collection of little value, should be done by a specialized appraiser. Within the general category of literary property, there are dealers who specialize in certain areas, such as Americana, foreign imports, Bibles, and scientific books. Modest value of collection. If the collection you are donating is of modest value, not requiring a written appraisal, the following information may help you in determining the FMV. A book that is very old, or very rare, is not necessarily valuable. There are many books that are very old or rare, but that have little or no market value. The condition of a book may have a great influence on its value. Collectors are interested in items that are in fine, or at least good, condition. When a book has a missing page, a loose binding, tears, stains, or is otherwise in poor condition, its value is greatly lowered. Some other factors in the valuation of a book are the kind of binding (leather, cloth, paper), page edges, and illustrations (drawings and photographs). Collectors usually want first editions of books. However, because of changes or additions, other editions are sometimes worth as much as, or more than, the first edition. Manuscripts, autographs, diaries, and similar items. When these items are handwritten, or at least signed by famous people, they are often in demand and are valuable. The writings of unknowns also may be of value if they are of unusual historical or literary importance. Determining the value of such material is difficult. For example, there may be a great difference in value between two diaries that were kept by a famous person--one kept during childhood and the other during a later period in his or her life. The appraiser determines a value in these cases by applying knowledge and judgment to such factors as comparable sales and conditions.
Professional Qualifications for Howard Nowes
Curriculum Vitae - Resume
Director, Art for Eternity Gallery, New York, NY
303 E. 81st Street 2005 to present
Private owner of street-level fine art gallery and director of www.howardnowes.com, an on-line fine art gallery. Directly involved in selling and buying fine art objects, consultations, authentication, vetting and other curatorial services.
Certified member of the Appraisers Association of America, Inc. 2013 Prepares appraisals according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and is bound by the strict Code of Ethics of the AAA.
Director, Howard Nowes Ancient Art, New York, NY 1996 to Present
New York art expert engaged in buying, selling, appraising and authenticating fine art on a global basis. Produced two print sales catalogues per year in addition to gallery shows and events. Founder and director of www.howardnowes.com, an on-line fine art gallery.
Former associate of Sothebys.com. Sotheby's is a world leader in the auction of fine art collectibles
Director, Greg Manning Galleries, West Caldwell, NJ 1994 to 1995
Responsible for direct sales and purchases of Ancient, European, Oriental, Pre-Columbian and Tribal art. Negotiated with vendor for consignments and direct purchase.
Associate Director, Harmer Rooke Galleries, New York, NY March 1993 to May 1994
Duties were to research and write lots for auction catalogues including estimates of value.
Royal Athena Galleries, New York, NY June 1989 to January 1993
USPAP Course, New York University, NY June 2003 & Nov 2013
Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice [USPAP] has been written by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation, authorized by Congress as the source of Appraisal Standards and Appraiser Qualifications.
Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY September 1984 to May 1988
BA Degree in History of Art with a Minor in Business
Sothebys, London, England August to December 1988
17th & 18th Century Decorative Arts Course. Intensive study of 17th and 18th Century European Decorative Arts. Participated in visual identification tests & cataloguing exercises.
Art for Eternity
Howard Nowes Ancient Art
New York, NY 10028
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Office Phone: (212) 472-5171
Cell Phone: (917) 733-4165
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