General Art Appraisal Process
You do not need to be in Toronto for me to be able to appraise your painting or object. Appraisals always start with images. You can email me the images, or share with me through Dropbox or Google Drive. It's always useful to get images for the front and back of the piece, and close-up images of any signatures if the appraisal is for a painting. I'll also need some additional information, for example dimensions or any provenance information, if it exists.
Once I have all of the information, I'll do the required research to appraise each piece. Appraisals in the fine-art market are similar to the housing market - both are based on recent comparable sales. Market research takes between 30 minutes and 4 hours per piece, depending on the sales records for comparable pieces. If a piece has many recent good comparable pieces with auction results, it will be closer to 30 minutes. If the artist does not have a strong sales record, or if I need to track down gallery owners to find comparable sales numbers it can take a few hours. I will let you know in advance if it may not make financial sense for you to get the appraisal. For instance, it does not make sense to spend $500 on an appraisal for a piece worth $350, especially since general home insurance typically covers assets under $5,000. I can provide a report indicating "decorative value only" which typically satisfies insurance companies if it turns out not to be worthwhile to have the painting or object appraised. In this case I'll only charge for half an hour. Often it will be clear that it is not worthwhile to appraise the painting or object, and a report indicating "decorative value only" is not required. In this case I won't charge you anything.
If we do go ahead with the appraisal you will receive a document outlining the value of your piece(s), written to industry standards, that can be used in court, for fair distribution, for insurance purposes, for estate purposes, or for tax purposes. The report will itemize each piece, list the value, and include a justification of the value based on comparable sales. Turnaround times depend on the size of the appraisal, but for small appraisals (less than 10 pieces) the current turnaround time you should expect is 4-5 business days.
My prices and particulars about different types of appraisals are listed below.