What personal property do we appraise?

We appraise a number of types of personal property that are normally found in homes, museums, collections. The items that we appraise break down roughly into two categories: decorative arts and fine arts. They encompass both antique and modern items. We appraise items in a number of areas, depending upon the experience and knowledge of ourselves and a network of consultants and specialists. As examples, we appraise antique and modern furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, paintings, prints, textiles, collectibles, and many other sub-categories or specialty areas.

What is an antique?

In general, the accepted definition of an antique is an object that pre-dates the mass production of objects that began in the 1830s with the invention of the circular saw and other mechanized tools. U.S. Customs works on a sliding scale for recognition of a property as antique, stating that an object must be 100 years old.

What is decorative art?

Decorative art is generally defined to include functional objects. These objects may be – and generally are – beautiful as well. Decorative arts are sometimes called Applied Arts. Included in the areas of decorative art are furniture – both antique and collectible (or vintage); silver, brass, copper, bronze and other metal objects; quilts, samplers, and other textiles; vintage and couture fashion; porcelain, pottery, and other ceramics; cut glass, pressed and pattern molded glass; paper collectibles (ephemera), and collectibles from hundreds of categories.

Decorative Art would include such categories as:

Antique Furniture
Native American pottery
Antique baskets
American Folk Art
Antique Glass
Modern art glass
Antique Samplers
Antique Quilts

What is fine art?

The Getty Institute has defined Fine Art as

Physical objects that are that are meant to be perceived primarily through the sense of sight, are of high quality, requiring refined skill in creation, and typically using the media of painting, drawing, or sculpture. It may also refer to architecture and design. Although there is overlap, fine art is generally distinguished from other art forms based on the media, extent of skill, and the level of formal training required. It is distinct from “decorative arts” in that the fine arts are art in which the aesthetic or intellectual expression is more prominent than the utilitarian purpose. It is distinct from “crafts,” which are handiworks of media such as ceramics, glass, needlework, or any medium other than painting, drawing, sculpture, or architecture. It is also distinct from “commercial art,” which is created to serve commerce such as in advertisements or illustration.
Glossary from the Getty

Fine art differs from decorative art, not principally by the quality of the work but through the discipline of the matter. Fine art, in general, tends to exclude art forms that would be considered applied art or functional art (crafts).

This concept of fine versus decorative art is somewhat in flux in today’s world, with the term “Visual Art” beginning to be used, a more inclusive view of art, including textile arts in particular, as fine art objects.
The term “FINE ART” is also often used improperly to place a false emphasis on quality of an object rather than to define the discipline of the object.
Fine art can include such categories as:

What are residential contents?

Residential contents is a part of personal property that would include essentially all objects that would be part of the inventory in a home. A residential contents appraiser must be trained to recognize a very broad range of objects and must know when they encounter an item within a residence that evaluating that particular object may be beyond the scope of their experience and/or knowledge; at that point the appraiser will recuse him/herself from the appraisal of that particular property or properly affiliate him/herself with another appraiser who is qualified to appraise the particular item or collection in question.

Residential contents includes such categories as:

Video and Audio Equipment
Personal Computers and other Office Equipment
Decorative prints and posters
Metals (including normal household silver and silverplate)