Appraisals - Appraisers charge $150 - $300 an hour but with technology these days you can find almost anything online with a little bit of digging.
A local Auction was giving free appraisals, they do this every once in a while to get business. If they see you have something valuable, they will tell you that they can sell it at their auction and then they will get a sellers fee. Since I sell stuff on Ebay and we had a few signed art pieces that we couldn't read the names on and a vase that didn't have a name on it so we went to see if they could help us figure out how much they were worth. Well, on all of the art pieces they also could not read the signatures so on to the vase and…. they couldn't find anything on that either. I will stick with my own online searches.The only time I would pay for an appraisal is if I had an expensive piece of jewelry or something that I would need insurance on or for tax reasons.
To be an Appraiser you do not need a license. Most appraisers belong to appraisal societies which give courses for continuing education and teach the ins and outs of appraising.
Some legal jurisdictions have their own standards for the required level of education, certification, required exams, and hours of experience are needed. It’s up to you to investigate your appraiser to make sure he or she is the real deal. Most reputable professionals are affiliated with at least one of the three major appraisal organizations: the Appraisers Association of America, which focuses on personal property; the American Society of Appraisers, which includes specialists in real estate and other areas; and the International Society of Appraisers.
Know that if you do get something appraise the market can change quickly so if you had something appraised 10 years ago you will need to pay for a new one. This means it can go down in value or up in value! You should update your appraisal ever 3 to 5 years.
Here is some important information from The International society of appraisals
Do not accept an appraisal if:
- It is handwritten or unsigned.
- The fee is based on a contingency or upon the value of the property.
- The appropriate "purpose" and "assigned use" are not stated.
- The item is beyond the appraiser's expertise.
- The appraiser is not willing and able to defend it in court (subject to the appraiser's availability, and separate fee arrangement).