Damage/Loss/Fraud Appraisals and How They Grew

A Bitter Beginning

It was enough years ago so that I don’t want to even mention the date, but I was an intern in the office of the 80-year-old dean of fine art appraisers, James St. Lawrence O’Toole. He was at the stage of life in which he loved to visit with clients while his protégé  went about examining, measuring and, in our case at least, photographing the objects of our appraisals.

I’d only been out on a few jobs with my mentor, but the first of them had been the appraisal of everything in a small city museum, so I had a bit more confidence than perhaps I should have had after successfully researching colonial portraits and Chippendale chairs. I saw no trouble when we were called in to prepare a report for an English couple just come to the States where they’d found several of their antiques had been severely damaged in the crossing.

After turning in the appraisal to my boss, who checked it favorably, we were certain the clients would be pleased with our report. They were not. Politely, but quite firmly we were informed that the report did them no good because it was based on insurance replacement value only, but no mention of the damage or what they were to do about it. We were embarrassed and bewildered. We had failed, but neither understood how and what we were to do to remedy it.


The above is an excerpt from an article by Elin Lake-Ewald, Ph.D, ASA, RICS.

To read the complete article please click here:

Damage-Loss-Fraud Appraisals and How They Grew