Ask 10 people on the street what an appraisal is and how an appraisal is done and you will get 10 very different answers. The common thread heard is that an appraisal tells you "what it is worth" and is usually obtained by "asking/calling a dealer." In the simplest of terms this is generally correct. However, please don't contact us or any professional appraiser requesting a phone or email appraisal because if you need the appraisal for legal, tax, business, insurance, replacement, damage, loss, charitable gift, gift, estate, equitable distribution and/or other professional reasons a phone or an email appraisal will prove to be very inadequate.
A professional appraiser cannot appraise your silver without personally inspecting it. Please don't waste your time asking for an appraisal based solely on your description or photographs. When you deal with a trained professional appraiser, one who belongs to one of the personal property appraisal associations (AAA, ASA, ISA), you will receive a documented comparative analysis as a written appraisal. A professionally written appraisal comes at the conclusion of a series of very specific and uniform steps which include: personal inspection, research, documentation and a comparative market study. A professionally written appraisal will conform to a standard called USPAP or Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Your appraisal when done properly can take a considerable amount of time so be prepared to compensate the professional appraiser accordingly. Also be sure that the appraiser specializes in the types of items being appraised.
When you ask for and get a verbal or a "seat of the pants" written opinion this is not an appraisal, it is only a guesstimate. When asking a dealer for their opinion, remember they have to balance what they tell you. The dealers guesstimate usually falls somewhere between what they would buy it from you for, what they would sell it to you for and what they think will make you happy. This is not an objective opinion and so the declared value could be way off either way.
Appraiser Request Form
If you need an appraisal of your silver/gold flatware, holloware, jewelry and would like the name(s) of professional appraisers in your area please complete the following form: