Aitchison's Appraisals

of fine art

Our Qualified Appraisal Process


The types of personal property we appraise include - 

  • Fine Art: Paintings, sculptures, photographs, works on paper, prints and digital media.
  • Furniture and Decorative Arts: ceramics, silver, glass.

Our goal as your appraiser is to provide an independent and objective opinion of value based on our extensive research and professional expertise that will certainly meet your needs - and hopefully exceed your expectations! 

The first step consists of a discussion between us to determine the nature of the appraisal you require. Once that is established, we will make an appointment to come view the property to inventory, measure and catalog the assets. If it is not possible for us to physically inspect your artwork, high quality photographs will suffice. Once the determination is made of what is potentially worth appraising we will draw up the contract for the appraisal. We will then conduct the research - the culmination of which, will be your final appraisal report. 

We provide the following types of appraisals according to your individual needs - 

  • Collection Management - Personal property appraisers are generally called on during a crisis following one or more of the "Four D's" (death, disaster, debt and divorce). All of these occurrences are stressful and make it difficult to focus on organization. It is a good idea to arrange for your collection to be cataloged prior to such an event.
  • Restricted Appraisal (MCV) - would you simply like to know what your artwork is worth and need advice on the marketing and sale of the item?
  • Insurance (RRV) - would you like to insure your art/antiques?
  • Damage and Loss (RRV) - has an artwork of yours been damaged or destroyed and you need an appraisal to give to your insurance company?
  • Estate (MCV) - would you like to bequeath your artwork to your family?
  • Donation (FMV) - are you in need of an appraisal for a tax deduction for a work that you would like to donate to a charitable organization?
  • Equitable Distribution (MCV) - needing help dividing assets in a divorce settlement?
  • Visual Inventory - A thorough walkthrough of your home documenting each room and its contents to store in a safe place off site in case of damage or disaster. It is effortless to report your missing or damaged assets to an insurance company if you have a visual inventory.

Authentication - Appraisers specialize in valuation not authentication. We will appraise your work of art and should the need arise that you require authentication we will guide you through that process and connect you with the pertinent expert for your work's particular genre.

Definitions of Value

(Source: Appraisers Association of America)

  • Retail Replacement Value (RRV) - This is the highest value, usually for insurance purposes and is defined as the highest amount in terms of US dollars that would be required to replace a property with another of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance and condition with reasonable length of time in the appropriate and relevant market. When applicable, sales and or import tax, commissions and or premiums are included in this amount.
  • Fair Market Value (FMV) - is usually for IRS purposes and is defined by IRS Section 1.170 and 20.2031(b) as "the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts." According to Technical Advisory Memorandum 9235005 (May 27, 1992), fair market value should include the buyer's premium.
  • Marketable Cash Value (MCV) - This is a net value usually for equitable distribution, resale or estate planning purposes. It is defined as the net value a willing seller realizes after disposing of property in a competitive and open market to a willing buyer. Both the buyer and seller must be reasonably knowledgable of all relevant facts, and neither being under constraint to buy or sell. Marketable cash value takes into consideration insurance, dealer commissions, advertising, travel and shipping that may be involved in the sale.

​​​​​​Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
​                                          ~ Rumi