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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.

Estate Appraisals & Insurance Appraisals



Appraisals for Estate or Insurance follow the procedure above, and I can tailor the document to insurance or estate requirements. 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. I'll also need some additional information, for example dimensions or any provenance information, if it exists.

This is the most competitive segment in the industry. My rates are quite low (you can see competitor rates here) and I offer among the quickest turnaround times. I have appraised thousands of pieces for estate or insurance purposes, including corporate collections with over 500 pieces. I previously appraised art for Waddington's Auctioneers and Appraisers, and so I have experience with appraisals for Canadian, Old Masters, Modern, and Asian Art. 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.

$200/hr.

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Divorce Appraisals & Court Appearances



Appraisals for divorce follow the procedure above, and I can tailor the document to the legal requirements for the fair division of assets. 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. I'll also need some additional information, for example unframed dimensions or any provenance information, if it exists.

Many appraisers will not do appraisals for the purpose of fair distribution of assets. This is because the case often ends up in court, and they would prefer to avoid having their expertise questioned. I provide divorce appraisals, and if I am required to testify, my rate is the same. If I am required to travel to testify, my rate is $2,000 per day plus any travel expenses incurred. My Ph.D. in Art history, work experience, and appraisal expertise can be useful in cases whenever the credentials of the expert testimony may be called into question.

$200/hr.

Sales Appraisal



If you do not need a legal document but just want to know the value of your piece or pieces I am happy to offer a fair market appraisal at a lower rate. It will take less time and it's less legal paperwork (none!) and more of the fun stuff (research!) therefore the hourly rate is lower. So this is definitely the best option if you want to know what your piece is worth for either in preparation for sale or simply for own interest.

This option will also come along with a recommendation of your best options if you are interested in selling. I have worked for top auction houses in the country, including Sotheby's, and I have a good understanding of which auction house would be the best fit for your piece.

$150/hr.

Home Visits



In normal circumstances I am available to visit a home to examine a collection in person. This can be helpful whenever it is difficult to take and send images. In light of government recommendations with respect to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I am not currently doing home visits. One alternative could be a Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype call - I can talk you through the process and take images of your pieces through video-chat.

$150/hr.

Consulting: Purchase or Sale



I have worked for some of the top auction houses both in Canada and world-wide, as well as in internationally recognized museums and universities. If you are interested in purchasing, I can advise on the value of a specific piece, and on the likelihood of your investment retaining its value. I can do this for both potential auction or gallery purchases. I can help navigate the (sometimes complex) auction process for individuals interested in purchasing for the first time either as an investment, as a gift, or for decorative / consumption value. I can guide you towards pieces / auctions based on your preferences and budget.

Likewise, if you are looking to sell, I can advise on how to position and market your piece in the current market to maximize the sale price. I can coordinate with auction houses and galleries on your behalf. I will negotiate important details like the reserve price, whether it is placed in a general or specialized/themed auction, the potential for reductions in auction house commissions (typically possible only for high-value pieces), or the asking price if it is being sold privately.

$150/hr.