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

Wednesday, June 14, 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

Thank you to everyone who participated in the June 6th 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

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!

- Marcus Wardell, ISA AM

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

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, 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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ask an Instructor

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

Question: I’ve recently completed the online Requalification class. Is there anything else that I need to do or am I good for the next five years?

Answer: Don't forget to turn in your Requal packet to ISA Headquarters! The packet outlines everything you need to do in order to complete your requalification with ISA. If you don't have one, you can contact Catherine Toupin to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. If you're still not sure what to do, ask your friendly ISA Ambassador for help making sure you have all of your paperwork turned in.

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts Specialty Tour at Assets

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP
For those who appraise antiques, furnishings, decorative arts and jewelry, we have an extraordinary lineup of tours, lectures and breakout sessions scheduled for you at Assets 2017.

If you haven't yet, register now so you don't miss the opportunity to learn more about your areas of interest and connect with other appraisers with similar interests.

One of the most exciting events we have planned is the Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts Specialty Tour, taking place all day on Friday, March 31. As with the Fine Arts Tour, attendees will have the opportunity to visit sites throughout Chicago and hear educational talks from experts while seeing beautiful works of art and decorative objects up close.

The first stop of the morning will be Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, one of the most prominent auction houses in the nation. There, tour attendees will attend two of three breakout sessions in Furnishings and Decorative Arts, Jewelry and Couture. Leslie Hindman’s experienced experts will give lectures on luxury accessories and clothing, and touch on current trends in furniture, decorative arts, modern design and Asian works of art.

An Empire Gilt Bronze Mounted Mahogany Bureau Plat
sold by Leslie Hindman (source)

Next, we will enjoy a box lunch at the Art Institute of Chicago before taking the afternoon to explore its extraordinary collections, some of the largest in the world. We’ll spend the first hour of the afternoon exploring the collection of European decorative arts at the Art Institute. The Art Institute isn’t home to only fine art – it boasts an extensive collection of Continental glass and English, French and German ceramics, silver and enamels.

Elephant Candelabrum Vase (1757-8) from the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
at the Art Institute (source)
The afternoon will feature a special lecture designed for ISA by Dr. Alexis R. Culotta, PhD on the idea of provenance. Dr. Culotta will use examples from the museum’s collections to discuss how provenance research on antiques, furnishings and decorative arts can affect the value of those items. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because after the lecture, we will have time to explore the museum’s collections on our own.

Rosewater Ewer and Basin (c. 1596)
by Franz Dotte, Nuremberg, Germany (source)
I can’t wait to see everyone on this tour as we experience some of the best educational opportunities the city of Chicago has to offer!

Maureen S. Winer, ISA CAPP

Monday, February 20, 2017

Chicago: A World-Class City and Home of Assets 2017

Judy Martin, ISA CAPP
The month of February is going past in the blink of an eye and in a few short days, it will be March – the month of Assets. Chicago has had the most amazing winter that I can ever remember. There has been hardly any snow since November, and this weekend the temperature was in the 60s, which is unheard of this time of year. This weather trend makes me think that the weather will just be fabulous during Assets. By late March and early April, I think that spring will have sprung.

As a resident of the area, Chicago is looking great. There is so much to do while you are here, including visiting museums and art galleries, going shopping, and enjoying fine dining and entertainment. Aside from the enormous collections at the Art Institute (which we will visit on a specialty tour this year), you can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the DuSable Museum of African-American History, and many others. There are a number of great galleries throughout the city representing new and exciting artists, and you can find a full listing of the top ones here in TimeOut Chicago. For a touch of nature, visit the Botanic Gardens, open year round.

Sue, one of the most famous exhibits at the Field Museum

Chicago has been named one of the top cities for dining and foodies by many publications like the Washington Post, and that does not include only pizza and hot dogs (though we excel at both – Pequod’s Pizza is a local deep dish favorite). Chicago’s chefs are creative and talented, receiving national recognition. Rick Bayless’ Xoco is known for modern Mexican food, and other big names include Au Cheval, The Girl and the Goat (and other projects from Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard), Alinea and Fat Rice.

Food at XOCO (credit)

Theater, comedy and entertainment are huge in Chicago. If you have time, you can catch Hamilton, and Billy Crystal is in town the weekend of Assets. Visit for full listings and information. Second City is the most well-known of Chicago’s comedy groups, and there are many other comedy clubs around the city to find up-and-coming stars.

For more information on events taking place in Chicago during Assets, TimeOut Chicago has full events calendars for March and April.

The Bean at Millennium Park

I have heard that some members are nervous about the violence in certain neighborhoods of Chicago–more specifically, impoverished areas on the South and West sides. While it is tragic and unfortunate, the turmoil is nowhere near the location of Assets. As a working person in the Chicago area, I drive and take the train in the city on a regular basis. I walk the city; I live the city. As with any large city, of course you need to be careful and aware of your surroundings. However, I assure our attendees that they will feel extremely safe in the Loop, a heavily-trafficked area frequented by tourists and native Chicagoans alike, as well in as nearby neighborhoods and anywhere mentioned in this post.

I hope to see many of you next month. I am so excited to see my old friends and make new ones. For those of you who know me, you know I love ISA and the people who are a part of the organization. Please join us for what promises to be an amazing time.

Judy Martin, ISA CAPP 

To learn more about or donate to groups working to cease violence in Chicago’s communities, visit BUILD Chicago and CeaseFire Illinois.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ask an Instructor

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

Question: I am completing my first appraisal and was wondering if someone at ISA might be able to look over the finished report before I send it to the client.

Answer: First of all, congratulations on your first appraisal job! Yes, the instructors and I are happy to assist you with your first appraisal as we know it can be a little nerve-wracking. The wonderful new ISA Ambassador program is designed to help members navigate ISA and the appraisal business in general, but ISA instructors are your best resources for questions on methodology and appraisal report writing. We are happy to review your reports and provide constructive feedback. That said, please allow us a few days to read your report and make suggestions. Same day or overnight turnaround is not always possible – though we will always try our best!

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Monday, February 6, 2017

Join us for the Fine Arts Tour at Assets 2017!

To my Fine Art colleagues,

Irene Szylinger, ISA AM
It’s always exciting when ISA holds Assets in a location known for its world-class art! It’s even better when we have the opportunity to learn from first-rate speakers about that art. On the Fine Arts Tour taking place on Friday, March 31 from 8:30am to 5:00pm, we will go behind the scenes at three excellent venues in Chicago: Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Art Institute of Chicago. If you haven’t signed up already, please do so now!

On our first stop at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Zack Wirsum, Director of their Fine Art Department, will speak about the current state of the art market with reference to recent auction results. There will be examples from their Modern and Contemporary Art (American and European) and Fine Prints collections on exhibit. Auction house valuations will also be discussed.

Our next stop will be the Museum of Contemporary Photography to hear two important lectures. One talk will be led by an experienced curator who will guide us through different processes of photography such as the daguerreotype, ambrotype and rayogram, using examples from the permanent collection. Cynthia Noble, a specialist in custom tours and an adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago, will guide our group on a second talk focused on the acclaimed fashion photographer Vivian Sassen’s exhibition UMBRA currently on display at the museum as well as the recent rise of fashion photography as an art form.

Viviane Sassen, Yellow Vlei, 2014.
Her work emphasizes the play of light and shadow and often approaches abstraction.

Finally, we will make our way to the Art Institute of Chicago. Even if you’ve seen the art and artifacts at the Art Institute already, the collections are so vast, there is always something new and undiscovered. Here, we will be treated to two private tours from Cynthia Noble and her team.

One presentation will tour the highlights of the fabulous permanent collection, which is home to over 300,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years and considered one of the best in the world.

Georges Seurat, Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte, 1884
one of many Impressionist paintings in the permanent collection

A second talk at the Art Institute will explore the Edlis/Neeson collection, comprised of 42 well-known post-war works of art recently donated to the Art Institute. The Edlis/Neeson collection is the largest gift of art ever given to the museum and features works by artists such as Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns.

Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1964
from the Edlis- Neeson Collection

After the talks, we will have time to discover other remarkable works at the Art Institute at our leisure.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you on this memorable tour in Chicago.

Irene Szylinger, ISA AM 
Fine Arts Chair

Monday, January 30, 2017

Introducing the ISA Ambassador Program

From members who joined only last week to veteran CAPPs, ISA is committed to helping every member feel valued. A large part of this commitment is ensuring that each member is given the tools to learn and develop as a professional appraiser. 

While the ISA website, especially the ISA Means Business Toolbox and Forum, is a great resource for most questions that arise, there are times when a member may want a more personal support system. To provide for those needs, ISA has launched the Ambassador Program.

ISA’s Ambassadors are members who have reached the AM or CAPP level of membership and are happy to share their experience and provide support on navigating the Society and the appraisal business in general. Ambassadors will guide members through the ISA Credentialing Pathway, the basics of starting a small business, and how to use ISA’s marketing tools to promote themselves. This dedicated Ambassador will provide one-on-one support to members by answering day-to-day questions and helping them achieve overall success in their professional appraisal career.

To request an Ambassador or to become an Ambassador, visit the Ambassador Program page on the ISA website.

If you have any questions about membership status, requalification deadlines and course registration, please feel free to call ISA headquarters at 312-981-6778. All questions about methodology and report writing should be addressed to the Director of Education at

Here’s to great success for each of us this year!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome to ISA!

The ISA is proud to introduce you to the newest appraisers to obtain an ISA membership. Please join us in publicly welcoming them to the Society!
Mary Kohnke
Bartlett, IL
Larissa Wild Gould
Eagle, CO
Olga Belyaeva
Chicago, IL
Charles Davis
Louisville, KY
Renee Banks
Linden, NJ
Elaina Grinwald
Dallas, TX
Laura Toops
Merrillville, IN
Amy Hoover
St. Louis, MO
Brendan Ryan
San Jose, CA
Shelah Allen
Tacoma, WA
Gabrielle Segal
New York, NY
Elin Hamalainen
Rockville, MD
Leah Carey
Toronto, ON
Lennie Pressman
New York, NY
Donnie Kim
Richmond Hill, ON
Charles Tinsley
Bedford, TX
Keith Rainer
Memphis, TN
Bianca Morabito
Boca Raton, FL
Sonjia Weinstein
Laramie, WY

Thursday, January 19, 2017

ASK AN INSTRUCTOR: Is blockage necessary on a large charitable donation report?

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

Question: I need help. Is blockage necessary on a charitable donation report?  I have a client who is donating a large number of prints by the same artist to a museum. I’m not sure if I need to apply a blockage discount, but it also doesn’t make sense that the client would receive a tax credit on the full amount.  What do you think?

Answer: My rule of thumb is that if I would apply blockage for the same property in an estate tax situation, then I would also apply blockage in a charitable donation situation. Remember – fair market value is fair market value whether you are writing an estate tax, gift tax, or charitable donation appraisal report.  The IRS has the same definition for fair market value in each of these situations, thus the value determined should be the same as well.  If it’s not fair for the client to pay taxes on a large group of property, then it’s also not fair for the client to receive a large tax credit on the same property. 

- Meredith Meuwly, ISA Director of Education

Thursday, January 12, 2017

President's Message 2017

Happy New Year!

May 2017 be the best year ever for all of your appraisal businesses!

Membership in ISA continues to get better every year, and 2017 will be no exception. ISA is the largest of the top three professional personal property appraisal organizations, with chapters and members across the United States, Canada and abroad. Being a member of ISA means increased opportunities for professional growth and business success through education and networking with affiliated professionals.

Our organization is a collegial one, filled with members who actively volunteer at all levels to help our organization continually improve its programming, educational offerings and business strategies for its membership. In addition, ISA has a strong Board of Directors. We are a group of nine of your colleagues, listening to your needs and creating programs that will help you become the most successful, competent and trusted appraisers in our industry.

Over the past couple of years, we have heard your desire for programs and products that bring you more assignments, grow your business and generate more public recognition of the ISA credential. To that end, ISA has improved our Find an ISA Member tool, increasing your exposure to the public by allowing site visitors to search for an appraiser by credentials, location, specialties, services and what they appraise. We have provided access to marketing templates and business forms and worked hard at raising public awareness of the characteristics and value of a qualified appraiser.

ISA is committed to supporting its members, from building their businesses to improving credentialing, methodology skills, and giving our members a distinct advantage over their competition. Last year we introduced the ISA Means Business Toolbox, designed to help members create and maintain thriving, up-to-date appraisal businesses. The Toolbox includes marketing tips, templates for promotional materials and business guides that offer practical recommendations on how to deal with competition and access the gatekeepers who can send the best appraisal assignments to you. Best of all, the ISA Toolbox is absolutely free to all of our members.

I am proud to say that ISA members, more than any other organization, excel in connecting and helping each other, even across great distances. To further increase those member-to-member connections, GoToWebinar is now available to all of our Chapters as a way to allow “distance-challenged” members a way to participate remotely in monthly Chapter meetings and keep in touch with other appraisers. Our Canadian and North Texas Chapters use this video-conferencing system successfully and highly recommend it to other Chapters. If you would like to incorporate this technology into your Chapter meetings, please contact Michelle VanAlstyne at our headquarters office to get set up.

Our newest members are as important to us as our longstanding members. We want all of our new members to feel welcomed, understand our credentialing procedures, and learn how they can become actively involved in ISA. Based on the success of ISA’s Mentor Program, we have expanded our outreach services to now include the Ambassador Program. Ambassadors (AM and CAPP members) volunteer to help new members navigate ISA and all the tools our organization provides for their success. Our Mentors (ISA instructors) are always available to answer methodology questions and give advice to anyone who is in the process of becoming accredited with ISA.

As part of ISA’s commitment to expanding networking opportunities for its members as well as enriching its credentialing process, we will be launching a new Job Board at Assets 2017. Through this Job Board, experienced appraisers can find temporary, contracted help from trained appraisers to assist with research, editing and writing for large projects. ISA appraisers working towards AM status will be able to count the hours worked on these assignments toward their credentialing-hour requirements.

Assets, ISA’s annual conference, is the most important opportunity our members have for advanced appraisal education and networking. I highly encourage all of you to join your fellow appraisers at The Architecture of Appraising, Assets 2017, March 31 – April 3 in Chicago. This year’s conference is shaping up to be our best yet!

Our Assets 2017 program includes several new aspects this year. A third Sunday breakout track has been added for Generalists, along with the current Fine Art and Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts breakouts. This Generalists track was added to address the needs of those who want more specific product knowledge and to learn more about successfully running estate sales. Information on luxury and estate jewelry is included in the program to better meet the needs of our members who appraise jewelry. During the conference, we will also update members on the new credentialing requirements coming from The Appraisal Foundation which go into effect January 2018.

We have also added a new pre-conference class running from March 30 to March 31 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on the A-Zs of being an Expert Appraisal Witness. The class is presented by SEAK Inc., the expert witness training company. Class size is limited and it’s filling up fast, so register soon! ISA members will receive a special discount on the course fee.

The night of Thursday, March 30, will include a pre-conference cocktail hour with a panel of estate planners and attorneys as well as appraisers who work closely with The Appraisal Foundation and estate industry. They will discuss what new directions estate planners and attorneys are headed in 2017 and how best to work with these professionals.

Along with all the new conference upgrades, your favorite aspects of Assets will still be there as you mingle and catch up with friends and colleagues. Please visit the website for more details and contact this year’s Chair, Elise Olonia, with any questions you have about our program.

ISA’s goal is to have a membership full of successful, active and engaged members. It’s 2017 and there has never been a better time to be a member of ISA.

Wishing you all the best,

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
President, ISA Board of Directors