As mentioned in the previous post, an appraiser contacted me about appraising the current value for a 1997 work recently donated by a collector to a major museum. In response, I asked for an appointment to have a phone conversation. The phone call felt more like a necessity than an option. Thank goodness we opened the discussion. I was concerned about asking for the phone call, but the appraiser actually appreciated the nuanced conversation the phone call offered.
My primary goal was to help the appraiser to establish a current value using whatever information she requested. Hopefully it would justify an appreciated value since 1997. I had a number in mind, but didn't want to say so until the appraiser considered the factors I thought relevant to this situation.
While prices for recent work may be a consideration, the appraiser needs to compare recently SOLD work. That is just the way it works.
The images of my artwork on my website were instrumental to the conversation with the appraiser. I do leave "sold" work on my website for documentation, but remove the prices. However, I know the retail prices from my Inventory Records.
Initially, the appraiser was looking only at my jewelry, perhaps because of the size of the individual beads, or it was the first page she landed on.
In my mind this was not a good comparison since I considered the Worry About Worry Beads Coming Undone to be sculpture, and not jewelry at all. The conversation moved to sculpture for further evaluations. On the sculpture page, there were many examples of work that had sold in recent years. These provided better value comparisons.
Next we moved to the teapot page to establish that Worry About Worry Beads Coming Undone was profoundly influential on the design for many of my teapots that had sold at similar or much higher prices.
My objective was to establish the importance of the Worry Beads as a seminal artwork that had an important influence on the design of several teapots.
Since the Worry Beads were completely unique, there was no identical work to compare.
Finally, I mentioned that the Worry Beads sculpture was composed of 12 individual and unique worry beads, plus the wire "tassel." So one perspective could consider a value for each individual element and what I would charge for repair or replacement.
To conclude the conversation, the scary part, she asked me to estimate a number. I gave my current valuation, but still don't know the final appraised value....perhaps she went higher or lower, but I do know she appreciated the extra information from our phone call to inform her decision.
In summary the appraisal value was determined by these main factors:
- Type of work: sculpture.
- The specific work was seminal to subsequent work.
- Retail prices for sold work with somewhat similar attributes (e.g. materials, size, concept, novelty).
- Cost of replacement or repair by artist.
- Establishing that other work sold for much higher prices.
- Reputation of the artist.
If an artist/maker is represented by a gallery, the appraiser may have contacted the gallery instead of the artist. Since no gallery currently represents my work, the appraiser contacted me directly.
A secondary goal for my conversation with the appraiser involved some learning about appraising artwork in general. The 2014 SNAG Professional Development Seminar in Minneapolis will have lectures by an appraiser, collector, and curator all discussing "Collectors, Collections and You."
Stay tuned for more PDS information. Opportunities related to this program are on the horizon. This will be a series of lecture offering great insight into establishing value for our art and craft. Save the date Friday April 25, 2014. The PDS is open to the public to attend.Harriete Estel Berman