Friday, December 2, 2016

Worthwhile Attractions during Assets 2017

While we’re excited to bring attendees of Assets 2017 (March 31 – April 3) programming of the highest quality, we also understand that the conference’s Chicago location would mean nothing without the opportunity to get out and explore the city, home to the ISA Headquarters.

First, for those seeking to expand their Assets experience, March 31 is the day of our Fine Art Tour and Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts Tour. Join your colleagues as they visit world-renowned locations like Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Art Institute of Chicago. Learn more on the Tours page.

Second, for those who find themselves with extra time on their hands, here’s just a few of the attractions worth visiting while in Chicago:

Millennium Park
From Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, which projects an ever-changing lineup of locals’ faces on its walls, to the 110-ton Cloud Gate sculpture (known lovingly as “The Bean”) by Anish Kapoor, this nearly 25-acre park features wholly unique outdoor artwork, monthly garden walks and year-round flower displays. While it’s within walking distance of the Palmer House Hilton, it also has convenient parking.

360 Chicago
Located on the 94th floor of Chicago’s famous Hancock Center (and formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory), 360 Chicago allows you to see up to 55 miles out and a total of four states.  With an interactive tour, dining, and unbelievable sights, this attraction recently gained an addition known as “the Tilt,” an enclosed platform that extends from the building at a 30-degree angle.

Museum of Science and Industry
Those who love museums – but want a quick break from fine and decorative arts – should consider this terrific site nestled in Hyde Park. A winner at the 2016 Time Out Love Chicago Awards, the Museum of Science and Industry is known for its interactive exhibits and noteworthy pieces, including a simulated coal mine, a vintage diesel-electric train, and a restored U-505 German submarine.

Music Box Theatre
This two-screen cinema is well-regarded for its consistently top-notch programming of documentaries, art-house films and restored classics. Located in Wrigleyville, the main theater regularly hosts Q&A’s with directors, while cult classics are given midnight screenings, all of which tend to be packed with enthusiastic cinephiles. It’s a movie lover’s dream venue.

The Green Mill
In the 1980s, owner Dave Jemilo restored the club to the original luster it had in the Roaring Twenties, when it was a regular hang-out spot for Al Capone and other infamous gangsters. Since being refurbished, it’s been a music connoisseur’s delight, with affordable drinks, a fantastic vibe, and a stage that features an array of wonderful jazz musician or bebop musicians. One night, you may hear an award-winning pianist, while the night after that may feature an indie group destined to be “the next big thing.” Sit down and let the music wash over you. You will not be disappointed.

These are only five of the terrific attractions you can enjoy while in Chicago. Whether you’re enhancing your Assets experience or extending your stay a few nights after, there’s always another site to see in the Windy City.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Expanding Your Comparables Resources: A Fresh Look at Sources

By Suzanne Houck, ISA CAPP

If you’re like me, you often get stuck in a rut with your tried-and-true comparable research sites. Lately, I’ve been expanding my resources, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few of my finds with you. Some may be familiar yet forgotten. Others, hopefully, will be new and helpful additions to your bank of research sites.

Everything But the House (EBTH)
This is a full service online estate sale model for everything in the home but the house (hence the name!). It provides photos, and active and realized prices from estate sales around the country. It is searchable by region, category, and can be filtered/sorted by best match or prices high to low. And… it’s free!

If your appraisal services include consultations for selling items but not actual brokering (including estate sales), this might be a good resource to share with your client. They handle sorting, cataloging, photographing, payment, pickup and delivery.

An online auction platform similar to Live Auctioneers, Barnebys has realized prices. You can submit an item for what they call a “free appraisal,” which goes to participating auction houses (and consequently provides you with an auction estimate rather than an appraisal). Like EBTH, this is free.

An online auction site with live auctions and past auction prices, this free service includes a sortable search function.

Bidsquare was launched with six renowned auction houses (Brunk Auctions, Cowan’s, Leslie Hindman, Pook & Pook, Rago, Skinner) who joined forces to provide buyers, sellers and auction houses with a place to sell high quality items. Many of their specialists are Roadshow experts; perhaps you’ve even met a few of them. I have found sales on Bidsquare that were not on Live Auctioneers, even in the case of auction houses that are represented on both sites. I’d advise checking both sites for comparables.

the saleroom
An online auction site similar to Live Auctioneers, this site is entirely searchable, has realized prices and photos (particularly of Asian items) and has a nominal fee for use.

Applications (Apps) available through your smartphones, tablets, and iPads
There are plenty of Classified Ad-type apps that may prove helpful when determining regional and local asking prices for more depreciable items commonly found in the home (washers, golf clubs, dishes, etc.). For those of you who don’t have time or desire to frequent garage and estate sales and want to see more searchable classified ads, complete with photos and asking prices, consider the following apps:

Trove Marketplace: A place to buy and sell. For sellers it has a unique social feature, in which viewers can vote between two items that developers claim helps with future pricing.

Close 5: Great for reviewing asking prices for ordinary household items. Prices included on photos for easy viewing. No prices realized.

Offer Up: “Buy. Sell. Simple.” Requires clicking on the photos to see the asking price. No prices realized.

Letgo: “Buy and sell used stuff.” A Craig-classified sales (as in Craigslist). Not as easily searchable as the others, in my opinion.

I hope you find even a few of these resources useful. If you know of others, please share them in the comments. And if this subject interests, you be sure to attend the ISA Conference, “The Architecture of Appraising,” slated for March 31-April 3 in Chicago. Pip Deeley, author of How Data Will Keep Transforming the Art Business, will be presenting “Remodeling Business for the Future: Utilizing New Tools of Technology,” covering a range of topics from apps for image capture, collection management, the impact and potential of price data, and the latest developments in 3D scanning, virtual reality and visualization. We’ll see you there!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Meet the Next Director of Education

Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP
By Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP, President

On behalf of the International Society of Appraisers Board, I am delighted to announce that Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP, (member of ISA since 2009), has been appointed as the new ISA Director of Education, effective January 1, 2017.

Meredith earned her Bachelor's degree in Classical Studies and Art History from Duke University in 2000, and a Master's degree in Modern Art, Connoisseurship, and the History of the Art Market from Christie's Education in New York in 2001. She spent the next five years in the Christie's New York Antiquities Department as sale coordinator and cataloguer of ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Near Eastern works of art. During her time at Christie's, she worked on numerous high profile auctions, including the Doris Duke Estate, Ancient Egyptian Art from the Harer Family Trust, and the John W. Kluge Morven Collection of Ancient Art.

Meredith joined Heritage Auctions in 2007 as Senior Consignment Director in the Fine & Decorative Arts Department, overseeing two auctions each year. In January 2010, she became the Director of Appraisal Services, preparing formal appraisals for 40 specialist categories beyond fine art.

In addition to her duties at Heritage, Meredith participates as an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow on PBS, specializing in Antiquities, Glass, Silver, and Decorative Arts. She serves on the ISA Fine Art committee and is the lead instructor for the ISA accreditation pathway, Fine Art Course. Meredith is the recent past President of the Foundation for Appraisal Education and a guest lecturer at museums, institutions, conferences, and multiple civic organizations. In 2015, she was honored with the ISA Distinguished Service Award for her contributions and dedication to the field of personal property appraisals.

In asking Meredith about her new position she stated, “I'm honored to be appointed to this position. I have big shoes to fill, but I look forward to continuing Leon Castner's legacy. The entire education team is excited for 2017 and dedicated to assisting ISA members to be the top most appraisers in the industry”.

The Director of Education position for ISA is a three year rotating position. The Board would like to thank outgoing Director of Education Leon Castner for his years of service and contributions to the education of our members.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Real 'Name'-Changer

by Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP, Chair of Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts (AFDA)

Say goodbye to "ARC" and hello to "AFDA!"

I am thrilled to announce that the ISA Board has approved the Antiques & Residential Contents (ARC) Committee’s recommendation to change the name of the ARC division to Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts, otherwise referred to by its acronym AFDA.

Why the change? For years, I have believed that ARC did not properly reflect my appraisal business, nor that of most of my fellow appraisers. Sure, it is primarily an internal name and the general public is not aware of the title. Still, we are. So why does this matter? The answer is, we should be represented by a name that is consistent with our desired image; it should state our expertise and should last the test of time. The name should also represent the majority of our members.

The (former ARC) committee members agreed unanimously that a name change was necessary; therefore, we embarked on a mission to find the right name. Through much discussion and debate, and with welcome input from Libby Holloway, we chose Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts. It should be noted that we had an extensive discussion regarding our Gems and Jewelry appraisers; although they remain a part of the AFDA division, we recognize that we need to help them reestablish their own voice over the coming years. The Annual Conference Committee has made sure that there will be plenty of relevant presentations and breakouts to please our Gems and Jewelry appraising members at the upcoming Assets 2017 in Chicago, March 31 – April 3.

Many thanks to our committee membersBridget Donnelly, Kurt Soucek, Mary Alice Manella, Rudy Pena, Sanjay Kapoor, Lisa Duke and Catherine Sanky. If you would like to become a part of our committee, please contact me at