Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In Praise of ISA's Job Board

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
I knew that the ISA Job Board was a great idea, but didn’t realize I would be able to utilize it so quickly. Like many of you, I am the sole proprietor of an appraisal practice. I consider my practice successful, but yet, there are always moments of feast or famine throughout the year.

This year has been unusual for my business in that every large collection and important client I have ever appraised for has come back with another need. If I did insurance for them several years ago, they now need an estate appraisal, they're donating a work of art, or they need another insurance update. As appraisers, no matter how busy you become, you never want to say "no" to a great returning customer and risk losing them in the future.

When a past client and now a trustee called early this March with a need for an estate appraisal for his father’s very large Western art collection (over 300 works), I panicked. In addition to Assets, a planned surgery right after Assets, my youngest daughter’s destination wedding in Charleston, and several other appraisals in the works, I really didn’t have the time to take on this new assignment….but how could I say no?

I decided to try the ISA Job Board and see what kind of help I could get. After posting for temporary research help, I received applications from six candidates. Out of those six, I found three appraisers who were familiar with Western art and working towards ISA accreditation and therefore needed qualifying hours of experience. None of this help came from the Dallas area and all work was completed remotely online. I have a template I use for appraisal report work descriptions with sections for comparables which I sent to each appraiser. They researched 10 works at a time, completed the template and included appropriate comparables for me to review and determine the final fair market value for the report.

With the help I received through the Job Board, I was able to complete the appraisal project under deadline while relieving my workload and stress. I also got to assist three appraisers who needed work experience in the field. For the next large job that comes my way, I plan on using the Job Board again. It is great to finally have qualified help on a temporary contract basis and the process could not have gone more smoothly.

Don’t just take my word for it. Your colleagues have had similar great experiences:

Wendy Gerdau, ISA CAPP, of Treasures Estate Concierge Services, California:

"The ISA Job Board has been a fabulous tool for my company. The researchers that applied for part time jobs have turned into full time valued members of the Treasures Estate Concierge Services family. I am looking forward to hiring many more individuals from the ISA Job Board. There is nothing better than ISA members supporting each other, a win-win." 

Linda Matthews, ISA, of Matthews Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico:

"The job board provided me a great opportunity to be a part of a massive art appraisal project, learn a great deal from a CAPP appraiser, get paid for what I love to do AND add a 130 hours towards my AM pathway. A veteran ISA appraiser posted the job, I replied to the ad and was hired. It was that easy! It was a fast way to find work, make money and most importantly learn from others so I can become a better appraiser. It was my first experience getting appraisal work from the job board posting but it won’t be my last!"

Suzanne Houck, ISA CAPP, Houck Asset Verification, Virginia:

"I wish there had been a job board targeted to the appraisal industry when I began my appraisal practice years ago. I love having the opportunity to scan for job opportunities in slow times and to have confidence when looking for help during times of appraisal overload. Even if I’m not looking to post or pick up work, I have enjoyed reading the job posts because I can often connect good candidates who might not have seen the board yet with positions. When looking for help, just knowing my fellow ISA members are reading the board gives me added confidence that I am targeting appraisers well- trained in appraisal methodology and ethics. This job board might be my favorite member benefit!"

Richard J. Meliska, ISA AM, Essex Estate Services, Evanston, IL:

"The ISA job board is a snap to use and postings couldn't be easier to enter. This is my second time using the board and I am looking forward to posting positions as I need additional help. Not only does the ISA have a great pool of talent, but the networking opportunities to find great talent is wonderful." 

If you are temporarily overwhelmed with assignments you couldn’t say no to or are currently underwhelmed with assignments and want to pick up a few extra hours, check out ISA’s new Job Board. You can advertise for ISA qualified help or promote special services you can provide to other appraisers in need. One of the great features of this online benefit is the ability to sign up for alerts when a new position or request is posted.

This is a great new member benefit exclusively created for our ISA members. I urge you all to try the Job Board. It will help you all to accept more assignments and provide further opportunity to meet and work with other qualified ISA appraisers.

- Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Design Patent in a Nutshell

Valerie Hale, ISA CAPP
When working with 20th-century design items, it's important to know how design patents and trademarks work and to use the correct terminology when describing these items.

Designers hold a bundle of rights to their designs, including intellectual property rights and the right to sell. Typically, production licenses are sold to large manufacturers, though the designer will still be able to control who produces the item and at what cost. Designers also hold trademark rights to their designs, which typically are renewable every ten years for an indefinite period of time. Most collectors of original modern design honor the creative process and want to own a quality item in its true form - these items are known as the "antiques of tomorrow."

When researching or reading a description for a 20th-century design item, you may encounter various terms categorizing the item. This article seeks to provide a quick reference guide for the meaning of these terms. When comparing items you also need to ascertain that you are comparing correct "vintage" or design type.

Original Issue

A design item that was manufactured during the initial period of production in the first conceived state.

Later Issue

An original design by the original manufacturer or currently licensed manufacturer, with minor modifications.

Example: The Eames molded chair has undergone some alterations over the years: the removal of rope edge, the curve of the back has become more inclined, upholstery is now glued to plastic shell. Also, since people are generally larger than they were in the 1950s, the Eames Lounge Chair is now available in the “big & tall” version, which is two and a half inches taller overall with an added seat depth of 1.75 inches. It's important to capture these design details to determine whether you are appraising an original issue item or one manufactured after a certain date.


An item issued after the original production period, typically for a specific reason or period of time. There are a few different categories of reissues:
  • Special edition: A reissue by a specific authorized entity of a design when the original edition is not longer in production or when there has been a slight change to the design or manufacturing process, for example, in the color of materials used. Special editions are usually marked in a way that denotes the reissue, depending on the manufacturer. They are known in the market as a unique entity, and hold value as a reissue or special edition.

    : The Isamu Noguchi Cyclone Rocking Stool produced by Vitra Design Museum, ca. 2001. In the original conceived form, very few of these items were produced. The design was subsequently altered to make a small table with a circular vs. rocking base point.

  • Retired design: A design that was previously retired, but is now being produced and issued again.
  • Emerge from retirement: A return to an original trait of an original design, now a reissue, or to be more technically correct, a later issue.

    Example: The Eames molded chair stopped production due to hazardous materials (fiberglass straws) and disposal issues in the late 1980s. The chair has recently been reintroduced, due to improved manufacturing and material safety. In between, Modernica as well as others produced unauthorized replicas or knockoffs.


An item that apperas, especially at first glance, to be the original item. Retail cost is often substantially less due to cheaper materials, cutting corners in construction, and design variations. Due to differences in construction from the original, knock-offs typically do not violate design patents.


In the general world of furniture and decorative arts, a reproduction is an exact duplicate executed with the intent to deceive. Sometimes, the term is more loosely defined to fit the user’s purpose. Sometimes used interchangeably with "copy" or "replica."


The same concept as a reproduction minus the intent to deceive. However, retailers may use the terms "replica" and "reproduction" more loosely or interchangeably. A good replica is made with the same instructions, material, and care as the original. Also known as a "copy."

Style of

Denotes an item that is made or appears to be like the work of a specific maker or designer. It can also apply when the item produced is close to a stylistic period or region. In 20th-century design, some replicas will be denoted as “Style of Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair.”

Manner of

An item that appears similar to a specific designer or school of designers, that reminds the viewer of that designer or school.


An item that is made or manufactured in honor of a designer or design. For instance, Knoll issued an 18k gold plated Bertoia Diamond Chair (ca. 1952) to honor the designer’s 100th birthday in 2015. The chair was developed in conjunction with the 50th (golden) anniversary of the Platner Collection. Tribute pieces are generally only available for a limited time. See also: Special edition.

- Valerie Hale, ISA CAPP

Appraisers Qualification Board Update

Todd W. Sigety, ISA CAPP
ISA TAFAC Representative
Based on updated criteria established by the Appraisal Foundation's Appraisals Qualification Board (AQB) and to ensure that ISA remains the leader in personal property education, ISA will be updating its membership education and experience requirements effective January 1, 2018.

These new requirements were created in response to increased demand and standards for professional appraisers. With these updates, potential clients will be certain that the ISA appraiser they're working with is credible, trustworthy and up-to-date on all appraising standards.

Read on for more details on how the updated criteria will affect the requirements for different levels of ISA membership.


If you currently have ISA’s Accredited Member (AM) or Certified Appraiser of Personal Property (CAPP) designation, you are already in compliance with the 2018 AQB requirements. You will also be considered a “qualified appraiser” under the AQB criteria. You will need to continue taking the 7-hour USPAP update every two years, as well as documenting your continuing education hours during requalification.

ISA Member

If you currently have ISA’s Member designation you will need to continue taking the 7-hour USPAP update every two years, as well as documenting your continuing education hours during requalification. You are encouraged to continue along ISA’s education pathway to achieve your Accredited Member (AM) designation in order to be fully compliant with the 2018 criteria.

If you do not advance to the AM level, you will still be required to complete ISA’s Requalification requirements every five years. At the ISA Member level, you are not considered an AQB Qualified Appraiser until you fulfill the requirements for the ISA Accredited Member (AM) designation.

If you earn your ISA Member designation after January 1, 2018, then you will be required to abide by the updated criteria. In addition to meeting ISA’s existing membership requirements, the following new requirements will be in effect:
  1. You will have three years to advance to the ISA Accredited Member (AM) level. If you have not earned your AM designation after three years, you will revert back to the Candidate level of membership.
  2. In order to advance to the Accredited Member (AM) level, you will need to complete 30 semester hours from an accredited college, junior college, community college, or university.

ISA’s education and experience criteria have been developed to encompass and include all of the AQB requirements. The new criteria will make your designations more credible and trustworthy to potential clients and users of appraisals.

Read more about ISA membership level requirements

Read the full AQB Personal Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria

- Todd W. Sigety, ISA CAPP
ISA TAFAC Representative

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Case for ISA: Four Members' Stories

Room at the table for young leadership; an exclusive focus on personal property appraising; a supportive network of fellow professionals and a clear, peer-supported path to credentialing - many ISA members cite these benefits as the reasons why the organization has experienced such dynamic growth in the past decade.

With over 800 members and growing, ISA is the professional organization of choice for the majority of qualified personal property appraisers throughout the US, Canada and abroad.

We asked new and long-time members to report what they value most about our society, why they joined ISA, and why they recommend ISA training and membership to colleagues.

Michelle Conliffe, ISA CAPP 
Michelle Conliffe joined ISA in 2013. Michelle holds an MA in American Fine and Decorative Arts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Within three years of joining ISA, Michelle earned her CAPP, ISA's highest designation. She has lead volunteer committees, served on strategic task forces, and last year, her fresh ideas and natural leadership skills were rewarded when she was selected by her peers to serve on the National Board of Directors. ISA's defined personal property focus, strategic plan for growth, and members’ diversity in geography and expertise initially attracted Michelle to our organization.

"In 2012, I made the difficult decision to leave an established auction house and go into business for myself as an appraiser. At the time, I did not know everything that would be required to launch my business, but I knew that I would need an accreditation that reflected the high standards I set for myself and my work.

Of the three major appraisal societies, ISA stood out for a few reasons. 1) The ISA community is focused primarily on fine and decorative art appraisals. 2) The membership has the widest geographical reach, giving me access to a large network of professionals that possess a broad range of expertise. 3) There is a path to growth within the organization that reflects the work and effort I put into it, rather than depending on an arbitrary length of service.

I have found first-hand that if you have a fresh idea or see a part of the organization that needs improvement, ISA wants to hear your voice. With this diversity of ideas, I know that ISA will continue to grow and thrive as the leading personal property appraisal organization."

Glenn M. Rand, ISA, EdD
Glenn M. Rand, EdD, joined ISA in 2016. As a seasoned educator with a doctorate of education and 12 published books in the field of photography, Glenn was looking for a professional organization that would reward the connoisseurship he brought to the field, allowing him to apply his advanced training toward acquiring his appraising credential. Glenn found ISA's unique Specialty and Advanced Studies Committee vetting pathway very attractive, because it allowed him to demonstrate his scholarship without compromising the advanced methodology training he knew he needed to feel fully qualified to begin a second career in appraising.

"Having had full careers in higher education, as an artist, as an author and having recently created a fine art services business, it was natural to see professional appraising as a future path.

Being familiar with appraisals from collecting art and my work with donations to museums, I realized that education and knowledge of prevailing standards would be required to adequately provide appraisal services to clients.

In reviewing the potentials for acquiring this knowledge base, it became clear that ISA provided the most inclusive educational programs and professional potentials. Through ISA, I have meet professionals willing to share their experiences, knowledge and collaboration, helping me chart my new career direction."

Darlene Hines, ISA CAPP
Darlene Hines joined ISA in 1998. Darlene holds ISA's highest appraisal designation, and is a past National Board member with almost 20 years of service in a broad range of capacities. She typifies the generosity of spirit unique to ISA that values supporting colleagues to grow and excel. She has recommended many employees to membership without fear of competition. Darlene's motto is "Givers Gain." There may not be a better illustration of the supportive culture that ISA encourages than Darlene's tireless example to "work together rather than compete."

"When I joined ISA in 1998, my husband and I owned an antique gallery and we were getting requests for appraisals. At the time, I was working toward a Master’s Degree, working full time, and raising three children. Determined to make the great adventure of becoming an appraiser work, I chose ISA for its strong ethical characteristics, options for continuing education, networking opportunities, and because it was simply the best organization in the field.

It's rewarding to speak of ISA to others seeking membership or expressing a zeal for appraising. I have referred many of my employees to ISA over the years, including a new member who I believe will be a rising star. I have also started a local appraisers' group with current ISA appraisers in Michigan. We meet for lunch and discuss the importance of credentialing, continuing education, and service to the organization. If I could help encourage appraisers to work together rather than compete, we would set a positive example for our businesses and ISA."

Pam Campbell, ISA CAPP
Pam Campbell joined ISA in 1994. Together with her husband, Bill, she operates one of Ft. Worth's most prestigious contemporary art galleries with a prominent national reputation. As a long-standing member of more than one professional appraisal organization, Pam migrated to ISA because she valued the society's exclusive focus on personal property appraising, and the superior local support and continuing education she found in her active local chapter.

"ISA offered a wealth of advantages to me as a personal property appraiser that I did not find in the other organization in my geographical area. ISA’s local chapter holds regular monthly meetings, with superior personal property-focused education, in addition to the opportunity to socialize with colleagues.

ISA coursework gets to the point, with a nuts-and-bolts approach rather than abstract concepts. The many courses offered by ISA beyond the Core Course allow members to continue to be excited about learning, with new courses constantly in development.

With ISA, I found a group of colleagues who were and remain welcoming, willing to collaborate, are generous with knowledge, and are interested in strengthening the appraisal profession."

Would you like to become part of the ISA family?

For those new to the profession, learn more about how ISA can help you launch a lucrative career in personal property appraising.

For seasoned professionals, view our complete list of ISA benefits designed to help you grow and succeed as a personal property appraiser.

If you’re currently a member of another appraisal organization, be sure to view our ISA Bridging Policy. Through December 15, 2017, your application fee is waived.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Kind of Shape is Your Report In?

by Michael Logan, ISA CAPP

Michael Logan, ISA CAPP
When was the last time you evaluated your appraisal report to see if it was meeting ISA and USPAP guidelines? When was the last time someone else reviewed one of your reports? Many people would say they haven't had a report reviewed since they took the Core Course 15 years ago or applied for CAPP. As you might suspect, things have changed a little since then. In fact, report requirements are constantly changing. Though many people may feel like what they are doing is fine if nobody is complaining, I'd like to encourage you to take the time to review one of your recent reports. I think it will surprise you. Also, if you don’t have a Core Course manual that is less than two years old (the 2016 revision is current), you need to get one.

As an instructor of the Core Course, Requalification and Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts, I have noticed many common errors made in reports in each of these classes. I've compiled them into a list below to assist you in making sure your reports are up to date and up to ISA standards.

What to Include

  • An ISA report must have three sections: 1) A cover document written in letter form on your company letterhead; 2) A body which includes the appraisal specific information about the items being appraised; and 3) An addendum, which can include many things but must include your professional profile or CV which is normally the last thing in the report. Refer to the Core Course manual for more details on what each section of your report should include.
  • The Core Course manual contains an Appraisal Checklist on page 20-2 and following. Use it to make certain you have included everything applicable.
  • The Core Course manual also contains a couple of sample cover letters for reports beginning on page 19. There's no need to reinvent the wheel - though you will need to change parts of these sample documents so they pertain to your report (names, dates, conditions, etc.), these letters provide great guidelines for what your cover letter should contain. The language in them has been specifically chosen for its brevity and meaning. When you make changes to the wording of these letters, you will want to do so carefully to ensure that you clearly state the required information for an ISA compliant report.
  • Include in your report, preferably in the beginning, a statement that says, "The objective of this report is to ___________ for the intended use of ________." For instance "The objective of this report is to estimate the replacement cost of the items for the intended use of obtaining insurance coverage."
  • Shoot for three good comparables if at all possible and explain your justified reasoning for the value conclusion.

ISA and USPAP Guidelines

  • It is important to remember you are writing an ISA report and it must be in compliance with ISA and USPAP Standards. In fact, in your report in the USPAP Certification you certify that "This appraisal has been prepared in conformity with and is subject to the current version of The International Society of Appraisers Appraisal Report Writing Standard and Code of Ethics. In addition, my analyses, opinions and conclusions were developed and this report has been prepared in conformity with the current version (2016-2017) of the Appraisal Foundation’s Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)." You can be certain that if your report meets ISA requirements it will meet USPAP.
  • If you are used to using a format that came from some other source, don’t use it with your ISA logo or credentials. Often, report formats from outside sources don’t meet either ISA or USPAP standards. If you belong to another organization as well as ISA and use their guidelines for your report, then use your credentials from them on the report and in the USPAP Certification, not ISA's.


  • Check and recheck your terminology. Terms may have changed. We Determine Value, Estimate Cost and Calculate the Present Worth (or Value) of future income. No other descriptors will do!
  • Clearly define the market you are using. The markets are: Retail, Wholesale, Orderly Liquidation and Forced Liquidation. Within these markets are a variety of sources. Different items in an appraisal may require different markets.
  • Once you know the objective you must select the correct approach to value/cost. There are three approaches: the sales comparison approach, the cost approach and the income approach. Again, use the correct terminology. NOTE: Some terminology is different for Canadian appraisals. Choosing the wrong approach is one of the most frequent mistakes, especially for the new appraiser, followed closely by selecting the incorrect market for comparables; for instance using gallery asking price for fair market value comparables. Good for replacement cost, not so good for fair market value.

Formatting Your Report

  • Accept the help your spell check is offering. It won’t catch everything and you may occasionally need to override it, but it is worth a look.
  • Take good photographs (not always required but always a good idea).
  • Number all pages "Page x of y." Put them in the same font and size, and in the same location on each page.
  • Finally, remember you are writing for your client’s understanding. Make sure the report flows and is easy to read. If you use terms that may not be familiar to them put them in a glossary (another good item for your addendum). Don’t be repetitive. There is no bonus for extra pages.
Is the above everything you need to know? No, but it will get you well on your way to a quality ISA Appraisal Report that will set you apart from the pack. Remember, your report is often all your client knows about your work! You want to be sure it will stand up to scrutiny.

- Michael Logan, ISA CAPP

Ask an Instructor: Who Can Use Restricted Appraisal Reports?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to ISA's instructors. One of ISA's instructors will share answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to directorofeducation@isa-appraisers.org.

Question: I know that USPAP states that we cannot complete a Restricted Appraisal Report when there is an intended user other than the client, but what about when a brother and sister are the only intended users? Both are familiar with the property being appraised, and both have used appraisal services in the past. Is there a way to produce a Restricted Appraisal Report for multiple parties and remain USPAP compliant?

Answer: USPAP Standards Rule 8-2 is clear that when intended users include parties other than the client then a Restricted Appraisal Report cannot be used by the appraiser. That said, USPAP does allow multiple parties to engage an appraiser in an assignment. So, if both the brother and sister in the above example engage the appraiser as co-clients, then there would be no intended users besides the client(s). As such, a Restricted Appraisal Report would be permitted under USPAP in this particular situation.

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ask an Instructor: June Office Hours Follow-Up

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to ISA's instructors. One of ISA's instructors will share answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to directorofeducation@isa-appraisers.org.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the June 6 Office Hours webinar. I was very pleased with the great attendance and the thoughtful questions that our participants asked. I hope that everyone was able to learn something new, receive clarification on a particular point, or confirm that they have been doing something the right way. The next free Office Hours webinar is scheduled for December, but in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me or one of your ISA instructors for assistance. We’re happy to help! Here are a couple of questions and answers that were shared on the webinar:

Question: Is there a place on the ISA website to download the most recent checklists?

Answer: Yes! If you are an ISA member, then you can access the Forum on the ISA website. The Education section will have the most recent ISA appraisal report writing checklist available for you to download. The current version is the 2016 checklist. As changes will be coming for USPAP in 2018, the Education staff will update the checklist as needed and send to the membership to make sure our appraisal reports remain in compliance with USPAP.

Question: When a report is signed by more than one appraiser, are they equally responsible for the contents of the report even if they only contributed to one section (i.e. fine arts, furniture)?

Answer: As currently written in USPAP Standards Rule 8-3, each personal property specialist signing the certification is responsible for all aspects of the appraisal. This rule remains in effect through December 31, 2017. That said, this is one of the USPAP changes for 2018-2019. The adopted revision adds disclosure of roles each appraiser has in an assignment, limiting their responsibility to their respective role, not all roles/assignment results. This revision will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Thursday, June 29, 2017

See What's Hot in Design in Dallas This July!

Marcus Wardell, ISA AM
Come to Dallas for the three-day Modernism: Design, Furniture and Decorative Arts course, July 26-28! Classroom time includes lectures, discussions, films, PowerPoint presentations, resource guides, and the opportunity to connect with old friends, new friends and appraisal colleagues.

Ettore Sottsass, Olivetti Valentine typewriter, 1969
This exciting course for appraisers will cover the history of modern design from the 1851 Crystal Palace Great Exhibition to the present day. It will provide an analysis of key designers and manufacturers of furniture and decorative arts during the Modernist period, with an emphasis on fair market values and replacement values. Socioeconomic and political factors, including World War II, the Cold War, and Sputnik I, will be discussed, as well as material technology and mass production manufacturing advances that have driven design trends and markets.

Eames plywood elephant child’s chair, 1945

In 2016, the European Fine Art Fair Report reported that the market for design items is surging at auction in the United States and Europe, with sales of $343.6 million last year.

There's been an explosion of design in the past 150 years, and this course will help you appraise all of it. Just think: An item designed in 1917 is now 100 years old and could be considered an antique!

Rendering of the
Red and Blue Chair by Rietveld
What else happened 100 years ago in 1917? Many crucial moments marking the beginning of the modern era and ushering in new and highly influential design and art trends, including:
  1. The Russian Bolshevik Revolution
  2. Architect and modern furniture designer Florence Knoll was born
  3. Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass was born
  4. Furniture designer Paul McCobb was born
  5. De Stijl was founded
  6. Gerrit Rietveld designed the groundbreaking Red and Blue Chair
  7. Marcel Duchamp created his piece Fountain
  8. Converse introduced the Converse All Star non-skid sneaker
  9. Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen (the Red Baron) started flying the Fokker Dr.I triplane
  10. Dallas Love Field airport was opened
Finally, in 2019, the Bauhaus will celebrate its 100 year anniversary since opening in Weimar, Germany. See how an understanding of the material culture of the past century can strengthen your appraising practice in Dallas this summer - register here!

- Marcus Wardell, ISA AM

Monday, June 26, 2017

How Do I Market My Appraising Business?

You’re an appraiser – you can spot a fake Picasso, tell the difference between Ming dynasty porcelain and Qing dynasty porcelain and recite the USPAP manual front to back. But do you know how to attract new customers to your business? With changes like the explosive popularity of social media and the addition of new millennial collectors to the market, growing your appraising business looks a lot different than it did even five or ten years ago.

To keep you up to date, here are a few tips and resources, and even a tutorial video, that will help you show off your ISA credentials and connect you with more clients.

Step 1: Attract More Customer Leads with a Compelling Appraiser Profile

When looking for an appraiser, the first thing many of your potential customers will do is search online. In fact, the Find an ISA Member search tool gets over 2500 page visits per month. What are visitors seeing when they come across your profile? The best way to get noticed is to make sure your profile is updated with all your most recent information.

To update your profile, simply log in to the ISA website and click “Manage Your Profile.” Add a picture, bio and your specialties to make your profile stand out. Don’t forget to add your location so customers near you can find you easily!

An example of a great profile in the Find an ISA Member search tool

For more detailed instructions on updating your profile on the ISA website, read our blog post with screenshots and more.

Step 2: Get Reading! Take Advantage of Free Marketing Guides

If you’re a member of ISA, you have access to the ISA Means Business Toolbox, which is a set of resources designed to give you all the information you need to connect with customers and market your business.

Step 3: Download Pre-made, Customizable Resources

To save you time, ISA has put together a number of downloadable resources that will help you get your marketing campaigns up and running within minutes. It’s as easy as clicking the download button and customizing as necessary.

  • Show off your credentials with ISA member logos, perfect for your website and social media
  • Create a professional advertising campaign with ready-made artwork with space for your logo and bio.
  • Let the public know why it’s important to choose an educated and certified appraiser with a brochure complete with your logo and business information.
  • Give a professional presentation on personal property appraising with a ready-made PowerPoint.

Step 4: Connect with Other Appraisers

Join us at one of our educational events, follow ISA on Facebook and Twitter, and get involved with the ISA Ambassador Program.

One of ISA’s best resources is its membership and collegial atmosphere, with many people ready to share what they know about appraising and marketing with you.

Need More Help? Watch our Marketing Resource Tutorial

We’ve put together a short video tutorial that gives you a tour of each of the benefits included in the ISA Means Business Toolbox, from downloading assets for your site to customizing your brochure. 

ISA’s goal is to ensure that each of its members has the tools they need to bring in customers and display their knowledge of appraising. We always have more tools on the way, so keep an eye on the ISA Now blog and the Toolbox for future updates. If you have a specific business need that ISA can help with, feel free to email us at info@isa-appraisers.org.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Why Take a Course on Japanese Prints?

Daphne L. Rosenzweig, ISA CAPP 
It’s not too late to join my two-day seminar, “The Appraisal of Japanese Prints” to be held in Sarasota, Florida, June 19-20, 2017. The course introduces the important cultural, historical, stylistic, technical and valuation factors that affect the appraisal of 17th to 21st century Japanese prints. As an author of numerous publications, frequent lecturer, museum consultant, and organizer of traveling exhibitions, my work in the field of Asian art has allowed me to build a wealth of knowledge around appraising Japanese prints that I am looking forward to sharing with all my students.

It's common for appraisers to come across Japanese prints during the course of a general appraisal of household contents, an estate division, insurance scheduling or intended donation. After taking my course, students will be well-equipped to offer their professional opinion on these items as necessary.

During our in-classroom days on June 19 and 20, we'll examine important provenances, influential designers and designs, formats, structures, major narratives, and condition factors, always with an eye as to how these factors affect the value of an individual print. Both new and experienced appraisers will find a perfect combination of connoisseurship and practical market experience in this engaging seminar.

Some of the questions this course will answer include:

  • How can you differentiate heroes from villains, men from women? 
  • How has the West influenced Japanese prints, and what has the West learned from those prints? 
  • Who are the most important artists?
  • How do you detect and what do you do about reproductions?

Don’t forget there will be an additional field trip day on June 21, where I will be leading a tour of the fabulous collection of traditional and modern Japanese woodblock prints at The Ringling Museum of Art.

For a preview of what we'll learn in this seminar, The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, has wonderful video documentation on the making of a Japanese print. You can view each section at your own speed. I'm looking forward to seeing you in June!

- Daphne L. Rosenzweig, ISA CAPP

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ask an Instructor: Multiple Assignments

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to ISA's instructors. One of ISA's instructors will share answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to directorofeducation@isa-appraisers.org.

Question: I have a client who wants me to appraise an artwork for current market value, and I have another client who wants me to appraise the same work for market value. Can I ethically engage in the same appraisal assignment for more than one client?

Answer: The answer is yes, as long as you disclose to both clients prior to the assignment and both parties agree in writing. This is a two-part situation, as the disclosure and the written agreement are equally necessary for the appraiser to proceed ethically with the assignment.

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What Is USPAP and Why Is It Important to Hire a USPAP-Compliant Appraiser?

By Sarah Reeder, ISA AM

If you need a precious item of yours appraised – perhaps a painting, your grandmother’s ring, or an antique piece of furniture – you want to make sure you hire the best person for the job.

The International Society of Appraisers is committed to offering education and training to personal property appraisers so that they, in turn, can deliver the very best in quality appraisals to their clients. An essential part of this education and training is USPAP, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, of which all ISA members must be in compliance as part of their membership requirements.

This blog post will help you understand a bit more about what is required to be a USPAP-compliant appraiser and why it’s so important to choose one.

So What Is USPAP?

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is the official guidance document published by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) of The Appraisal Foundation (TAF). USPAP was adopted by the United States Congress in 1989 following the problems caused by the savings and loan crisis and defines a set of recommended procedures and ethical standards for appraisers. The document is revised and reissued every two years and the current edition is for 2016-2017. The current document is 395 pages long, covering an extensive framework of standards for appraisers to follow. Standards 7 (Personal Property Appraisal, Development) and 8 (Personal Property Appraisal, Reporting) are the two that directly address personal property appraising.

USPAP also contains a number of important Rules governing the professional behavior of appraisers separate from the Standards, including the Ethics Rule, Record Keeping Rule, Competency Rule, and Scope of Work Rule.

USPAP states, "The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) of The Appraisal Foundation develops, interprets, and amends the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) on behalf of appraisers and users of appraisal services."

What Does "USPAP-Compliant" Mean?

Appraisers who state they are USPAP-compliant have pledged to follow the regulations outlined in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice in their appraisal reports.

There is a 15-hour course with a written examination based on the material in the USPAP guidance document that appraisers must take and pass in order to state that they are current with USPAP. After passing the initial examination, appraisers must take a 7-hour update course every two years to remain current, or they will have to take the 15-hour course and examination again.

According to U.S. law, USPAP compliance is required for real estate appraisers, those who evaluate buildings and homes, but is only voluntary for personal property appraisers, who evaluate items such as antiques and fine arts within a house. However, all members of the International Society of Appraisers must be USPAP-compliant as part of their membership requirements.

Why is It Important to Hire a USPAP-Compliant Appraiser?

It's critical to hire a USPAP-compliant appraiser because USPAP protects the interests of the client.

One of the key features of USPAP is that the appraiser is not allowed to charge an appraisal fee that is based on the appraised value of the items included within the appraisal report. It’s easy now to see how this could lead to situations where an appraised value could be inflated to increase the appraisal fee, but historically this practice did occur.

To ensure your appraisal is done ethically and professionally, USPAP Rules require that appraisers, among other things:

  • Include a signed certification of non-bias and impartiality in their appraisal report
  • Prepare a detailed workfile to document the specifics of the appraisal
  • Meet competency requirements

If you’d like to view the detailed guidelines, you’ll find them here:

Finding a Qualified Appraiser

In conclusion, individuals seeking an appraisal of their personal property should always look for an appraiser who is USPAP-compliant. While voluntary, USPAP compliance is a mark of professionalism and ethical standards and serves to protect users of appraisal services.

To find a qualified appraiser in your area, use our Find an ISA Member tool, where you can search by zip code, specialty item, and more.

About the Author:
Sarah Reeder, ISA AM, is the owner of Artifactual History® Appraisal and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Appraisal Education (FAE). She is a generalist appraiser of antiques and art and specialist of Mid-Century Modern and 20th Century Design.

This blog post is part of a series that covers many of the topics and questions a new client might have and serves both as part of the ISA Means Business! Toolbox. You can email the link to this post or print out the information for a client asking about USPAP or for future clients beginning the research process of hiring an appraiser. This series was born out of the realization that it can be very difficult for those outside the appraisal world to obtain detailed, reliable information about appraising, and we hope that this post and the other posts in this series will help educate users of appraisal services so they are knowledgeable, empowered consumers who recognize the importance of hiring professional, USPAP-compliant appraisers.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Top 7 Reasons to Take a Course on Chinese Decorative Arts

Susan Lahey, MA, ISA AM
This summer, I have the pleasure of teaching a course for ISA on Chinese decorative arts from the ancient to the contemporary.

The course takes place June 21-23 in Sarasota, Florida, with a field trip day scheduled at the beginning of the course followed by two in-classroom days. The course will help appraisers become familiar with a wide range of Chinese decorative arts, including jades, bronzes, snuff bottles, cloisonné, ivories, textiles, lacquerware, and ceramics. Context and history are key elements of the course, as we will discuss how Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism shaped the aesthetics of Chinese art, how the decorative arts evolved through dynastic and Imperial Chinese history, and what the current art market looks like and how to identify fakes. 

If you haven’t registered for the course yet, sign up on the ISA website!

A decorative jade vessel

On the course’s field trip day, participants will take a special tour of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, as there are two special exhibitions visiting there in June. The first is Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, showcasing nearly 100 Chinese bronze objects used to conduct religious rituals, record significant events, and represent elite status from the Shan through Han dynasties (1600 BCE to 220 CE). We will also visit the exhibition Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, an outdoor collection of 12 bronze sculptures by one of the most renowned Chinese sculptors and installation artists, Ai Weiwei. 

Ai Weiwei's Zodiac Heads

In addition to these two special exhibitions, we will also visit the newly-opened Center for Asian Art at the Ringling, which permanently houses more than 2,000 examples of Chinese ceramics and traces the history of Asian art and culture from the Mediterranean and Eurasia to the New World through the Silk Road and trade development. Objects in this collection emphasize the dialogue between the ancient and the contemporary in Chinese art, such as a 19th century limestone scholar’s rock flanked opposite Zhan Wang’s 21st century stainless-steel Artificial Rock #124.  

Dragon detail from porcelain object

Don’t miss your opportunity to take a tour of outstanding collections of art and develop a strong knowledge base around Chinese decorative arts. 

With that, I present to you:

The Top 7 Reasons to Take a Course on Chinese Decorative Arts
  1. Have the opportunity to handle bronzes, jades, textiles, ceramics, cloisonné and more examples of Chinese decorative arts
  2. Learn strategies for identifying fakes
  3. Understand how Chinese art and philosophy impacted Western art
  4. Enhance your appraisal and research skills through learning about resources, dealers and the current market and collecting trends
  5. Learn about manufacture techniques for good, better, best distinctions in all media
  6. Broaden your horizons. As they say, “Every generalist appraiser should also develop a specialty.”
  7. Connect with appraisal colleagues while in sunny Florida!
What are you waiting for? Sign up for the course today!

Scholarships for ISA’s education courses are available through the Foundation for Appraisal Education, with applications due May 1. There is also a $200 discount available for those who register for both the Chinese Decorative Arts course and the Appraisal of Japanese Prints course in Sarasota this summer. Contact ISA headquarters at 312.981.6778 to receive this discount or for more information.

- Susan Lahey, MA, ISA AM

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Assets 2017 in Review

With another successful installment of Assets behind us, we'd first like to extend our gratitude to those who made the conference possible, including the Board, the Annual Conference Committee, and all the speakers, attendees and sponsors.

Assets is always a reminder that our members are the most important part of ISA. The best part of conference is seeing the connections made between our members and the enriching conversations that come from those connections.

Thanks to the dedicated work of the Annual Conference Committee, this year's programming and educational offerings were outstanding, with highlights including the ISA member panel, breakout sessions, presentations on appraising an archive and estate sales, specialty tours around Chicago, and more.

ISA member panel

We also made a major announcement at Assets about a new member benefit: the ISA Job Board. The Job Board is a place where members can post or find appraisal work, including both remote and in-person opportunities. If you need temporary assistance with a project or are looking for opportunities to grow your appraisal skills, visit our site for more information!

Looking to relive your favorite moments of Assets 2017? Don't forget to tune in on April 18th at 2pm central time as Christine Guernsey presents a webinar full of Assets 2017 highlights. The webinar is complimentary and you can register here. And don't forget to "Like" ISA on Facebook and visit our page to see photographs from the meeting.

The ISA Board thanks everyone who helped make
Assets 2017 a success!

The awards brunch was held on Monday, April 3, where we recognized the members who have contributed positively to ISA throughout the past year. We'd like to congratulate the following award recipients:

Distinguished Service Award
Maureen Winer, ISA CAPP

Distinguished Service Award: ISA Instructor
Kirsten Rabe Smolensky, ISA CAPP

Lamp of Knowledge Award
Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP

Rising Leader Award
Kelly Juhasz, ISA
Sanjay Kapoor, ISA

FAE Award
Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP

Outgoing Leadership Award
Steve Roach, JD, ISA CAPP
Marian Aubry, ISA CAPP

President's Award
Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP

Lifetime Achievement Award
Judith Martin, ISA CAPP

We'd also like to recognize the recipients of the Life Member Award:
Charles Barry Goldstein, ISA CAPP
Daphne Rosenzweig, PhD, ISA CAPP

As well as welcome our incoming class of new ISA CAPPs:
Brady Dreasher, ISA CAPP
Lisa Garcia, ISA CAPP
Amy Goodell, ISA CAPP
Lisa Hudspeth, ISA CAPP
Holly Nelson, ISA CAPP
Jeffrey Pearson, ISA CAPP
Darlene Wong, ISA CAPP

Save the Date! We'll see you at next year's conference, March 9-12, 2018 at the Westin Pasadena in Pasadena, California. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Third Track: Generalist Sessions at Assets

Elise Waters Olonia,
In a matter of days, we’ll be gathering at this year’s Annual Conference. You may have heard some buzz around the term “The Third Track,” referring to our generalist break-out groups on Sunday, perfectly suited for those who specialize in appraising estates. The term "Third Track" certainly creates intriguing visual imagery, especially in the historically rich town of Chicago!

Although we won’t be meeting in Union Station, some of us who focus on estates share a few of its attributes. For example, estates can be the ultimate gathering place for antiquities, intriguing artifacts and endless stories. Like Union Station, there may be underground treasures to discover. When an estate needs evaluating, there’s usually some bustling and fast movement, depending on the client’s itinerary!

“Get on board” and take a look at the Sunday program. There are three Generalist sessions which may get you on track if you don't specialize in only Fine Arts or Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts! In the first session, James Jackson from Jackson’s Auctions will address those interested in the basics of general appraisals and estate liquidation in today’s market. The second session features our experienced instructor Mickey Logan and his student Carol Matesic, who will discuss their personal challenges with identifying comparables for unique items. Concluding the session, Carol Meyers Madden, writer and expert for EstateSalesNews.com, will share her knowledge on expanding your business through estate sales.

Enjoying education at Assets 2016

If you’re currently working with estates or considering this “Third Track” for the first time, be sure to consider attending one or more of these informative and enriching sessions. These experts have many stories to share and answers for your questions! See you there!

Elise Waters Olonia, ISA AM
Conference Chairperson

Monday, March 20, 2017

Constructing Relationships at Assets 2017

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP
Annual Meeting Committee Member
Since I became a member of ISA, I’ve never missed an ISA conference or left one early. Why would I miss learning and relaxing with my friends and colleagues from every part of the appraising world?

From the first day of Assets 2017 to the last, I am planning on taking advantage of everything the conference has to offer, including the outstanding social and networking events we have scheduled. If you haven’t already, register for the conference and special events, and view the full program.

Assets 2017 starts off with two specialty tours taking place all day on Friday, one focused on Fine Arts and the other on Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts. You will have to choose one or the other, but luckily we have blog posts (linked above) from myself and Irene Szylinger with details about each of the tours.

After the tours end, we'll enjoy a opening reception back at the Palmer House Hilton, and directly after that, a New Attendees Reception to welcome everyone experiencing Assets for the first time.

Both specialty tours will visit
the Art Institute of Chicago.
Along with all of the wonderful educational opportunities on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we have many opportunities during the day and afterward to connect with your fellow appraisers. Sunday offers a Networking Lunch and Learn, which gives us the opportunity to get to know ISA sponsors, Affinity Business Partners, and committee leaders. At the end of the day, we will gather on the sixth floor foyer for a silent auction benefiting the Foundation for Appraisal Education (FAE), which will raise funds for ISA members and increased educational opportunities.

On Monday, the day begins with a CAPP Appreciation Coffee event – I’ve worked hard to achieve my designation, and I will be enjoying refreshments and mingling with others who have done the same.

We have so many extraordinary and dedicated volunteers, from our Board President to those who serve on local and national boards and committees, as instructors, and supporters of ISA, and they deserve our thanks and recognition, so I never miss the Awards luncheon and the chance to thank them.

And don’t forget – Chicago has great shopping, entertainment and sightseeing. See you at Assets!

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How to Build Your Foundation at Assets 2017

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP
This year, our theme for Assets is “The Architecture of Appraising: Building on a Solid Foundation.” We chose this theme because any successful career in appraising starts with a strong base of knowledge.

With that in mind, we have designed our Assets 2017 program to give you the essential basics you need for your business as well as an in-depth look at crucial topics.

I've highlighted some of our planned programming below, but be sure to visit our mobile-friendly site to view full session descriptions and speaker bios. And if you haven't yet registered, do so now! Trust me; you don't want to miss it.

Saturday Programming Highlights

On Saturday, April 1, our program will focus on current trends in the appraisal business, including how technology has vastly increased opportunities for buying and selling works. In the morning, Evan Beard of the US Trust (and formerly a U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer) will give an overarching perspective on how millennials, Gen-Xers, baby boomers and millionaires are affecting global markets. Later in the day, Pip Deely of the art startup CollectorIQ will speak on the latest in apps, databases and imaging tools that can enhance the appraisal process and keep you up-to-date in your business.

The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, home of Assets 2017
Part of understanding current trends in appraising is building a career while dealing with the challenges of the current art ecosystem and beyond. On Saturday, a panel of experts from Chubb Personal Risk Services, the Estate Planning Law Group and the Art Institute of Chicago will dive deeper into receiving referrals from and building relationships with gatekeepers from the insurance, estate and museum industries.

With Joshua Kaufman, ESQ, an expert on art law, we will discuss fakes, forgeries and when to connect with a lawyer on issues of provenance and authenticity.

Sunday Programming Highlights

As we progress to Sunday’s educational programming, we will focus on building skills like appraising an archive, which ISA’s own Leila Dunbar will guide us through in the morning. She’ll note the types of organization, methodology and valuation needed for such a project, as well as how to work with archivists, curators, and collectors.

For an invaluable exploration of the basics of the appraisal business, Sanjay Kapoor of ISA will moderate a panel of ISA CAPPs, Perri Guthrie, Judith Martin and Diane Marvin, who will answer your how-to questions as well as share their experiences and best practices.

ISA member panel (clockwise from left):
Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP, Judith Martin, ISA CAPP,
moderator Sanjay Kapoor, and Diane Marvin, ISA CAPP
Sunday will conclude with a number of breakout sessions exploring topics related to Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts, Fine Art and appraising in general even further.

In the Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts category, Alexander Eblen of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will discuss authenticity issues in jewelry and timepieces, and Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP, and Jacqueline Snyder, ISA AM, will dive into a lecture on finding comparable items when the item you are appraising is unique, has no market, or the artist is unknown.

Those interested in Fine Art can hear Professor Henry Adams speak on art forgery, and Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP, and Lisa Lowy, ISA AM, will give a similar comparables lecture to the Fine Art crowd.

View our full session descriptions and speaker bios.

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP