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Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays

Due to the upcoming Holidays, the ISA office will be closed on the following dates:

Monday, December 24, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 31, 2012
Tuesday, January 1, 2013

As a result of holiday office closures, we will not be posting on the blog until Tuesday, January 8th.

Warm wishes for the happiest of holidays and a prosperous new year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Are You Interested in Being a Guest Blogger?

Have you had an interesting or unique appraisal experience that you want to share with the readers of ISA Now?  To share your experience, just send it to ISA and we will post it.  Did you learn something interesting or new on a recent appraisal? Have you come across something unique or rare?  All of these experiences make for a great blog post.  Contact Tom Radde at, to submit your story or experience for the ISA Now blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Announcing the 2013 ISA Board of Directors

Each year, three board members retire and three new board members are seated. This year, because a current Board Member was re-elected for another term, only two Board Members retired from their service to ISA.  We would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of the two outgoing board members, both of whom played a significant role in the growth and direction of the ISA: Terri Ellis, ISA CAPP and Steve Roach, ISA AM. During the annual October Board Meeting in Chicago, the newly elected Board Members were seated and we said good-bye to the two outgoing Board Members.

Please join us in welcoming our newest board members, who are beginning their 3-year terms:

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP (re-elected)
Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP

At the close of the meeting, the election of new officers took place. Congratulations to the following:

Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP (second year of 2-year term)

Vice President:    
Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP (1-year Term)

Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP (1-year Term)

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP (1-year Term)

Continuing their terms are returning board members:  Aloysia “Nini” Hamalainen, ISA CAPP, Judith Martin, ISA CAPP, and Selma Paul, ISA CAPP.

The Board of Directors continues to work hard on your behalf to ensure that ISA remains the leading international organization for personal property appraisers!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dangers in Appraising

Appraising personal property is not fraught with danger like coal mining or sky diving, but it does present some unusual circumstances that are often ripe with potential hazards like sickness, physical injury, and unwanted stress.

For example, many appraisers are called into houses after damaged by fire or flood to estimate replacement or salvage costs for insurance.  The exposure to black mold, toxic fumes, and/or unsafe footing is very real.  The use of protective clothing, face masks, and breathing apparatus often isn’t available or doesn’t work.  Some appraisers report long term allergies or auto immune disorders.  Others deal with minor scrapes, cuts, and wet or dirty clothing.  (I’ve had more than my fair share of ruined clothes and shoes.)

Even everyday “normal” appointments in the best of neighborhoods can bear unwanted fruit—everything from bed bugs to hairy cats or dogs.  (Always check your attaché cases when you arrive back at the office.  You may be carrying guests!)  Speaking of cats and dogs—they’re not all lovable creatures that sit quietly on the floor and look up at you with big, loveable eyes as you inventory the domiciles of their owners.

Not all smells are pleasant either.  Smoke filled rooms to those unaccustomed can be real eye burners.  In fact I’ve been forced to strip (in my own house) after returning home from an assignment where the chain smoker loved to blow smoke in my direction.  (Their home is their castle.)  I think it’s done out of spite!  Other smells can be far worse, particularly where death has been incurred.  (I won’t even tell you how horrendous it can be, even though it has been seared in my sense memory forever.)

Often we are not the welcomed party seeking to assist the needy client in solving a minor problem.  We may be seen as the undesired but necessary “evil” inspector and valuator, part of a larger and more devious plot, like in a divorce settlement that has obvious opposing spheres.  Or we may be a reminder of an unpleasant experience like the passing of a loved one, the horrendous event of a calamity, or the need to raise money in a bankruptcy or for unforeseen expenses.

The personal property appraiser’s lot is not always congenial.  Hazards may be present and overwhelming.  They may be physical, mental, or logistic.  Many things are avoidable, but others are not. When all is said and done, however, I would much rather have done this for a living than almost anything else.

For the rest of the story…go to the November ISA Education Newsletter

Leon Castner, ISA CAPP
Director of Education

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest Blog Post: Copyright Law and Your Property

This past weekend, my mother, sister and I held a yard sale to dispose of our unwanted personal property. We offered clothing that did not fit properly, household items that no longer met our decorating taste, and appliances and electronics that had become obsolete and were since replaced with newer models. I was absolutely overjoyed that there are people in our locale that would exchange money, albeit a modest amount, for our surplus possessions with minimal effort on our part. Each of us dedicated our proceeds from the yard sale toward something we felt would benefit us more than holding onto the property. My newly found money is going in the piggy bank to save for repairing my iPad, which I managed to shatter in the driveway during our yard sale, but I digress. Our ability to resell our possessions may be in jeopardy due to an upcoming Supreme Court case.

On October 29, 2012, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument for the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The Court will settle a three-way split among the Circuit Courts of Appeals and address the question of whether it is legal for copyrighted goods, which are made outside of the United States and purchased lawfully (whether abroad or domestically), to be sold within the United States without getting permission from the holder of the copyright (Read the Questions Presented here).

According to the first sale doctrine, an owner may resell copyrighted property without having to seek permission if it was first purchased in the United States from the holder of the copyright. As stated in 17 U.S.C. § 109(a), “Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a particular copy or  phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.” Circuit Courts of Appeals have interpreted this provision as applied to goods manufactured abroad in three different ways.

Recently, the Second Circuit held that a foreign made product may never be resold in the United States without the copyright owner's permission. The Supreme Court has accepted review of the Second Circuit's opinion, and will resolve the three-way Circuit Split when it publishes its opinion in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. If the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the Second Circuit, people across the country may no longer be able to sell foreign made copyrighted goods they legally purchased without the permission of the copyright holder.

What might this mean for personal property appraisers? A significant percentage of appraisal business comes from clients wanting their goods appraised to know the proper asking price at which to sell their property and assistance disposing their items. If the Second Circuit’s ruling is upheld making it more difficult to resell property, appraisers stand to lose a large portion of their business. In addition, if property manufactured outside of the United States can no longer be resold without permission from the copyright holder, how might it affect the value of the items? Will appraisers be spending most of their time researching copyrights instead of searching the market for comparable sales? Could this mean an end to the weekend yard sale to pick up a little extra cash? Does this mean my iPad will never get fixed? If Apple holds a copyright on the iPad, I may never be able to resell it because it was made in China.

Kelly McNeil, ISA

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Congratulations to Our Course Attendees

ISA has concluded onsite courses for 2012.  The final onsite offerings of the 15 Hour Personal Property USPAP, Advanced Report Writing and Requalification courses were held in Naperville, IL and offerings of the 7 Hour Personal Property USPAP and Oriental Rugs courses were held in Dallas, TX. More than 120 individuals attended these five course offerings.

Please join ISA in congratulating our recent course attendees:

Congratulations on taking important steps to further your appraisal industry knowledge, by taking courses through ISA!

Check back next month, for the 2013 course calendar!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Qualifies An Appraiser as An Expert or Specialist?

The terms “expert” and “specialist” are often used by appraisers in promoting their appraisal practices.   What do these terms mean within the industry and to the general public?  

Under the USPAP competency rule, a personal property appraiser may appraise a wide variety of objects within their field,  and the increasing market for appraisal services has prompted many members to advertise their practices.  Therefore, ISA provides some voluntary terminology to create proactive advertisements for members on the ISA website, individual member websites, and in other print and online sources.

1. A generalist is an appraiser who appraises a broad range of properties.  Generalists are critical to the appraisal profession, often appraising large estates and other complex assignments that encompass many areas of knowledge.  When necessary, a competent generalist consults with and acknowledges specialists and experts in creating a thorough appraisal report.

2. A specialist is an appraiser who primarily concentrates on a specific property and regularly performs appraisals of that property type.  A specialist often has additional education in a limited and dedicated field.  A specialist usually has more knowledge and experience than a generalist in a particular property type, but is not as knowledgeable as an expert in the field.

3. An expert is an appraiser with comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a highly concentrated field as a result of extensive education and experience.  Expertise is normally gained after many years of formal education, self-study, market experience, scholarly research, presentation and publication, or a combination thereof.  Only an appraiser working at the highest levels within a field should be considered an expert.

These suggested terms are not mutually exclusive and an appraiser may be any combination of a generalist, a specialist, and an expert.  For example, an appraiser can be a fine arts generalist, a specialist in American Abstract Expressionism, and an expert on Mark Rothko.  Or, an appraiser can be a generalist in Antiques and Residential Contents (ARC), a specialist in furniture, and an expert in Duncan Phyfe.

Carefully and accurately representing your appraisal service is required by USPAP and ISA’s Code of Ethics, and vital to both building public trust in the appraisal profession and effectively promoting your business.

A special thanks to the Taskforce on Expertise and Specialization members Kirsten Smolensky, ISA AM and Scott Hale, ISA AM. As well as Board members Selma Paul, ISA CAPP and Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP for their help in formulating the statement.

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP
Vice President, ISA
 An appraiser must: (1) be competent to perform the assignment; (2) acquire the necessary competency to perform the assignment; or (3) decline or withdraw from the assignment.  Competency Rule, USPAP 2012-2013 Ed., pg. U-11.  More detail concerning the Competency Rule is available in USPAP.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Registration Referral Contest Winner

During the registration period for ISA’s fall courses, a Referral Contest took place.  Each time anyone registered for an ISA course, there was an opportunity to include a member name in the “Referred by” field.  All members of ISA were eligible to participate. The contest ended on November 1st and we are pleased to announce the results.

Congratulations to Dennis Adomaitis, ISA! You have won a free registration to Assets 2013, taking place April 12-15 in Chicago, IL at the JW Marriott.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Learning Never Ends

Upon finishing the task of editing an appraisal, I glanced up the corner of my desk to spy a photograph of my six year old grandson in his kindergarten graduation cap and gown. For the umpteenth time I thought about how “stinkin cute” he is. Then I began to ponder the concept of education. Education starts so early in our lives and should (in my mind) never end.

I have had years of undergraduate and graduate art history study. I have worked in museums and galleries for over 25 years. I am a docent at a museum which houses works in my specialty area. Despite the education and the experience, every time I walk into a new client’s space to inspect unseen works, I still feel a sense of anxiety. For me every inspection and every appraisal proves the old adage of “the more you learn, the more you realize what you don’t know”.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy appraising so much. No matter how many artists and art historical movements I know, there seems to be a constant supply of new ones to learn and add to the list. Today there is so much information and new studies about the “important artists” particularly with branded works, but much less information or studies on artists or works in the middle market and below.

People tend to buy “what speaks to them” whether it’s a known, important, or even a good work - unless they are “trophy purchasing”.  When someone finds out that you are an appraiser, in their passion for their own collection (small or large), they will ask “have you heard of…”?.  It doesn’t always help to explain that there have been thousands of years and many countries and states with artists both professional and amateurs and no one can know them all.

My point in all the above rambling is this. When one decides to appraise (particularly fine art), they should appraise items for which they have specialty knowledge in.  By specialty knowledge, I mean an area that one has had a thorough education in and with working experience. One should never assume that they know it all or that all they have to do is look up a few comparables that look similar. One who puts themselves out there as a specialist should have a level of connoisseurship to understand which comparables are truly comparable and don’t just look alike (because sometimes there is a world of difference in value between things that appear to be the same on the surface).
There are many times when an appraisal assignment includes items that aren’t in the appraiser’s specialty area. I remember having items like antique clocks and wine in a few of my assignments. I may be able to tell time and enjoy drinking wine but I am not a specialist in those areas.

However, I do know specialists and am not afraid to enlist their help and give credit where credit is due. What results is an accurate appraisal which makes the client happy and keeps this appraiser out of trouble. I have also learned something new to tuck away for future use. Does it make me a specialist in clocks or wine in the near future? No way and I wouldn’t want to have to appear in court and answer questions about clocks or wine, but I do know a little more.

Being competent in methodology and report writing allows an appraiser to branch out with the aid of colleagues who are specialists in areas that we are not. However, in ones area of specialty there is probably so much more one can know to truly stand out as an excellent appraiser.  Lectures, webinars, google alerts, involvement with museums, historical sites, dealers and auction houses, specialty magazines and self-study are all ways to become better at what you do.

Will following my own advice give me less anxiety as I enter an inspection? Probably not; but I will probably have more confidence and enjoyment going forward in the process through completion of said appraisal.

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
Chair, Fine Arts Committee

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Value in Education

ISA held the final onsite Core Course in Appraisal Studies offering, earlier this month: October 8-14, in Naperville, IL.  We would like to acknowledge those who attended; for taking this important step in not only toward becoming a member of ISA, but for furthering their appraisal industry knowledge:

The updated Appraisal of Fine Art course was held October 15-20 and had the highest attendance, in more than three years.  The following individuals participated in this course offering:

Please join ISA in congratulating our recent course attendees.  Check back with ISA NOW later this week, as we announce the winner of the registration referral contents!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Insider's Perspective and Guide for the CAPP Program

Now is a great time to begin your application for certification.  It is especially important in light of the new qualification standards that are being developed by the Appraisal Foundation.   I know that many appraisers are reticent about submitting their appraisals for certification review.   As appraisers sometimes we are uncertain about our own appraisal work because we haven’t had the chance to see appraisals that have been completed by our fellow appraisers.    If you follow USPAP and use the manual to prepare your reports for certification, there is no need to fear the appraisal certification process.  You can be assured that we are all following the same procedures and using the same process to come up with our valuations.

At ISA we try to make the process as straight forward as possible.  After you contact Michelle at headquarters you will be sent a packet with all the information you need to prepare your appraisal reports.  You are required to send in two types of appraisals, one Self Contained Donation Appraisal consisting of five items in your specialty (one of those items must have a value over $5,000) and one Insurance Appraisal that contains two of the items that you used in your Donation Appraisal.

After the appraisals are submitted, they are reviewed by three CAPP Appraisers on the Designation and Review Committee.  The appraisals are sent to the review committee with an identification number instead of your name in order to keep your identity confidential.  The appraisals are reviewed by each of the three reviewers and then they are returned to me so that I can summarize the comments before sending them back to you.  If the appraisal follows the checklist required for all appraisal reports and the comparables and the value conclusions make sense, then I get to congratulate you on your certification.  If there are some areas that have to be addressed then we talk about those areas so that you can correct them and submit the appraisals again.  Once you have corrected those areas and resubmitted the appraisals that should complete the certification process.  From beginning to end it should take no more than two to three months to complete your certification.   In a relatively short period of time you will be able to refer to yourself as a certified appraiser with ISA.

Now that I have explained the process, I would like to give you a few tips on how to submit your reports.  We are all creative people and every report that we write reflects some of our personality.   However, when you are submitting appraisals for certification it is best to keep it simple.  We also recommend that you pick appraisal items that you are familiar with and that you see every day in your appraisal practice. The manual provides an example or format outlining the elements of a correctly prepared appraisal.   If you follow the example in the manual it will make it easy for you and the reviewer to identify all the items necessary for a correctly prepared appraisal.   Each report should include the cover document, body and addenda.

The reviewers are looking at three specific areas when they are reviewing your appraisals.  They want you to be able to identify and describe the item correctly.  They want you to be able to choose the appropriate comparables; that is comparables that relate to what you are evaluating.  Lastly, they want you to be able to explain why you used those comparables to determine the value of the item and how those comparables relate to the final value conclusions.   If you can include all of this information in your appraisal then the certification process should be quick and smooth.  

My last recommendation is to complete the reports and then put them aside.  Don’t look at them for a few days.  When you pick them up again to review the content it should be fresh so that any errors will jump out from the page.  Proofreading your document is one of the most important things an appraiser can do.  Errors in spelling and punctuation can encourage the client to question your professional capabilities, even if you have identified and valued the item correctly in your appraisal report.

Finally I want all the ISA members to know that the Membership and Designation and Review Committees are here to serve the members of ISA.   We will do everything we can to make this an easy process.  I am always available to answer your questions or provide you with assistance on a submission for certification.  I can be reached by phone at 203-438-9228 or email at    Now is a good time to submit your reports.  I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Kathy Yellen, ISA CAPP
Chair Designation and Review Committee

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Education and Course Attendees

October is a busy month of educational opportunities for ISA, with six courses being held in Naperville, IL.  We are pleased to announce and congratulate the attendees of two of these courses, the Antiques and Residential Contents (ARC) course as well as the Core Course in Appraisal Studies.

The newly revised Antiques & Residential Contents course was held October 1-6 and had record attendance.  Course participants included the following, with many earning their ISA AM designation with their completion of this course:

Following the ARC course was the Core Course in Appraisal Studies from October 8-14.  Attendees of this course have taken a very important initial step toward furthering their appraisal careers.  These individuals include:

Please join ISA in congratulating our recent course attendees.  Check back with ISA NOW later this month for more on our remaining courses and their attendees.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I know the following is not totally appraiser/appraisal related, but it does point out that sometimes an appraiser has to put aside business and personal feelings and just help the client.  This was one of those times.

When I arrived at my client’s condo, she stated that she wanted me to help her dispose of her quilts.  She did not think her children wanted any of them and was sad about that.  As we talked, I learned that her family homesteaded in the Omak-Okanogan area near the Canadian border of eastern Washington.  She thought that the quilts were made by her grandmother Ellie, and her aunts.  The client was not sure about this, as none of the quilts were marked with initials, name or a date.  She did not want to sell the quilts unless she sold to someone who loved quilts and would care for them.  The client had photographs of the quilts that were good and showed professional attention to detail.  She had grandchildren that were young and liked the quilts but did not appreciate the history of the quilts.  The quilts were in good condition, and most were made in the early 1920’s.  One was a whitework quilt that had outstanding workmanship and design sense.  It also had an inset border of hand-made lace about one inch wide placed on all four sides of the quilt.  A knock out!

I asked about the time frame for moving the quilts out of her possession.  She replied that she felt pressured because she was rapidly going blind.  The condition is an unusual, but not rare, a disorder of cone-rod dystrophy.  It started about 10 years ago and has become progressively worse.  She has reached a stage where one eye has almost no peripheral vision.  She does as much as she is able to do and planned to go over to Seattle to see her grandchildren and children.  My obvious question was, “How will you get there?  Do you have a driver?”  She replied, “Oh no, I can walk.  I take the intercity bus to Monroe.  The driver knows me well.  My children pick me up and bring me back to Leavenworth”.

We talked a little more.  I suggested some alternatives, such as a local charity auction, American Quilt Study Group and others.  I knew that any buyer from AQSG would care for and appreciate the quilts.  I also suggested that I try to find a dealer that would buy the quilts or take them on consignment.  We discussed several options.  Basically, she really wanted her family to have the quilts.  I suggested she take the photos she had of the quilts with her to Seattle and talk about the quilts with her family.  She will contact me when she returns, hopefully with a solution.

Her directness and making plans for her property were an inspiration.  This 60+ year old woman is courageous and an example of true grit.  Must be that pioneer spirit coming through.

Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome to ISA

ISA would like to introduce, 26 new membership applicants for this quarter.  Please join us in welcoming these applicants to the Society.

Lydia Abbott – Toronto, ON
Christopher Arbutine – Largo, FL
Anthony Bradfield – Houston, TX
Peggy Calhoun – San Antonio, TX
Belinda Chun – Toronto, ON
Jeremy Crickenberger – Rockport, TX
Donald Cummings – Tulsa, OK
Rochelle Dugan – West Palm Beach, FL
Stephen Frazier – Ashland, OR
Denise Gerson – Coconut Grove, FL
Jane Karotkin – Austin, TX
Michele Kelley – Monmouth Beach, NJ
Brianna McGettigan – Hatboro, PA
Lynette Michel – Mercer Island, WA
Rachel Monckton – Toronto, ON
August Monteleone – Cicero, IL
Paula Necula – Vaterstetten, BY
John Paynter – Winchester, KY
Dena Rigby – Seattle, WA
Kevin Segall – Los Angeles, CA
Catherine Solomon – Austin, TX
Peter Spooner – Duluth, MN
Lauren Stump – Orlando, FL
Michelle (Shel) Trost – McHenry, IL
Roseanne Ullman – Lewis Center, OH
Alicia Weaver – Lakewood, CO

Congratulations on taking this important step in furthering your professional career and welcome to ISA!

If you would like to recommend someone for membership, please forward their contact information to Sara Porter:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Results are In

We are pleased to announce the results of the 2012 ISA Board of Directors Election. Three positions were available this year and we are delighted to welcome two new Members as well as a re-elected Member.

Congratulations to ISA’s two newest incoming Board members:

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP (Colleyville, TX)
Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP (Tucson, AZ)

and to returning Board member:

Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP (Beaufort, SC)

Thank you to all the members who participated in this important process by taking the time to submit your votes.  Also, special thanks to the three local Chicago area members, Ellen Kornhauser, ISA CAPP, GG, Kim Morrison, ISA AM and Cathy Peters, ISA CAPP for coming into the ISA office to supervise the ballot counting process.

Christine, Libby and Karen will become officially seated at the next ISA Board of Directors meeting on October 27 in Chicago. Officer elections will take place at that time, with results to be announced shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Generosity of Others

We would like to send a big thank you to the following local Chicago area ISA members, who generously gave up a portion of their Monday afternoon to come into ISA headquarters and count election ballots.

Ellen Kornhauser, ISA CAPP, GG
Kim Morrison, ISA AM
Cathy Peters, ISA CAPP

Thank you, for helping to make this process run so smoothly and efficiently!

Be sure to check out next week’s blog post for the results of 2012 ISA Board of Directors election.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What’s in a Profile?

I was recently talking with Tom Helms, ISA CAPP about our new website. Tom, who is a strong marketer, felt the new website was an excellent new tool for our members, yet in our discussion we also felt many ISA members were not taking full advantage of all offered options.  The new ISA website can assist our members in marketing their appraisal practices and gaining new clients.  According to our website analytics, the ISA website is getting nearly 30,000 total page views per month, with 6,000 coming to the ISA home page, and 2,700 moving on to the Find an Appraiser page.

The new website has been active since January and the responses from most ISA members, as well as non-members have been extremely positive.  Just the other day at the outstanding Foundation for Appraisal Education/Quinn’s seminar, an ASA appraiser mentioned how she liked the new ISA website and particularly liked the easy “Find an Appraiser” search functionality.

The latest site options which enhance an appraiser’s online profile and ability to gain new clients include the profile pages, the member spotlight, and news.  When we had the new ISA website designed, one of the main interests of the board was to not only promote ISA but to enhance the accessibility and profiles of our member appraisers. After all, ISA has many of the best personal property appraisers, and we wish for all website visitors to be aware of this and to easily locate them through our search function.

When developing the online member database and profile pages we wanted to make the search as accessible and easy as possible for the end user.  On the home page is a simple appraiser search box by location and key word.  But that is only half of the equation; once the visitor/potential client searches, and a list of appraisers is returned, the selection process begins. Information listed in the member profile area may make the difference between making contact with a potential client or not.

Have you updated your profile with an image, links to your website, LinkedIn profile or Facebook page?  Have you completed the bio section, and are you aware of the ability to include hotlinks and even some minor HTML code to enhance your profile page?  Visit your profile page to ensure all of your contact information is updated and correct. List multiple contact points such as phone, cell, website, email etc.  Many members have updated their profile pages, while unfortunately many have not. If you have not done so, you are probably running at a disadvantage to those who have.  If you have not updated your ISA online profile, I recommend you search through some member profiles that have been updated with images, links, contact information and HTML and compare.  If you have not updated your ISA member profile for the Find and Appraiser search, you might wish to ask yourself the question, if you had the option to call between two appraisers, one with an incomplete profile, and one with a complete listing taking advantage of all of the options, listing information, hotlinks, etc. who would you call?

The Member Spotlight function is a text box in the member profile area and when completed will place your content and image on a random rotating basis on the ISA home page as well as many of the secondary pages of the website.  It is easy to do, just type a few short sentences into the Member Profile test box on the members profile background page and save, and the website does the rest.  Imagine many of the 6,000 visitors to the ISA home page seeing your image and specialty area and clicking through to your full profile.  Again, this function of the website was developed to promote our member appraisers, it is free and is available with your membership at the ISA, ISA AM, and ISA CAPP levels.

Under the News tab there are four options, ISA News, Member News, Member Updates and the Calendar.  The news tab was also developed to promote ISA members.  The Member News page contains special news about our appraisers. Currently listed are member’s accomplishments and media notes and publicity.  We have news about new jobs, profiles in the media, videos, and lectures by our members.  I encourage ISA members (and don’t be modest) who have newsworthy achievements to submit to ISA staff for posting on the website.  Additionally, if you have a blog or newsfeed you would like to promote on the Members News Feeds page, please send the link to ISA staff.  We currently have 6 blog feeds, but can accommodate many more

The overall website is seeing nearly 30,000 total page views per month, the ISA homepage is averaging around 6,000 views per month, and perhaps more importantly, nearly 2,700 of those monthly visitors click through to the Find and Appraiser search.  With those types of numbers (and it is the ISA board’s desire to keep the visitor numbers growing), can you afford not to have a current and updated member profile on the ISA website?

Please feel free to contact me or ISA staff member Tom Radde at, if you have any questions about updating your profile on the ISA website.

Todd W. Sigety, ISA CAPP
President, ISA Board of Directors

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to win a free registration for Assets 2013

ISA is currently holding a contest for members.  How do you win? Encourage your fellow colleagues and friends to sign up for any of the upcoming fall courses.Then have them include your name in the “Referred by” field, when they complete an online registration.  The ISA member with the most referrals will receive a free registration to Assets 2013: April 12-15 in Chicago, IL.

No limit to referrals.  Registrant must attend the course for the member referral to count. Only one conference registration will be awarded to the ISA member with the highest number of referrals.  In the event of a tie the award will be decided by a drawing.  Winner announced by December 1, 2012. All members of ISA are eligible to participate.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Are You Registered Yet?

Registration is open for ISA’s fall courses!  Courses are being offered in Toronto, Ontario, Naperville, IL and Dallas, TX.

Requalification – September 28-29 (Toronto, ON)
Antiques & Residential Contents – October 1-6 (Naperville, IL) - Newly Revised
Core Course in Appraisal Studies – October 8-14 (Naperville, IL)
Appraisal of Fine Arts – October 15-20 (Naperville, IL) - Newly Revised
15 Hour Personal Property USPAP – October 22-23 (Naperville, IL)
Advanced Report Writing – October 24-25 (Naperville, IL)
Requalification – October 26-27(Naperville, IL)
7 Hour Personal Property USPAP – November 8 (Dallas, TX)
Oriental Rugs – November 9-10 (Dallas, TX)

Click here to register for an upcoming ISA course.

If you have questions about an upcoming course, please contact ISA at 312.981.6778. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


This is a friendly reminder that the deadline for returning completed ballots for ISA’s upcoming election is rapidly approaching. Ballots must be postmarked no later than September 7, 2012. Be sure to cast your vote for the candidates running for election to the ISA Board of Directors:

Terri Ellis, ISA CAPP
Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP
Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP

There are three positions available, each for a three year term. Please be sure to take part in this important process, and vote.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Share Your Experiences and Be a Guest Blogger

Would you like to be a guest blogger on the ISA Now blog?  It’s easy, just send the story or experience that you would like to share to ISA and we will post it for you.  Did you learn something interesting or new on a recent appraisal? Have you come across something unique or rare?  All of these make for perfect content for a blog post.  Contact Michelle Stearns, Education & Credentialing Coordinator at, to submit your story or experience for the ISA Now blog.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Discovering Treasures

In my role as editor of Coin World, I continue to be amazed at the treasures that still lurk in attics and storerooms, still waiting to be discovered.  As appraisers, each project provides us the chance to uncover something amazing.

It seems that nearly every month, a rare coin comes out of the woodwork and is introduced to the coin collecting community.  Sometimes it is an example of a rare variety – more in the realm of the expert numismatist than the average person.  Take the case of an 1817/4 Capped Bust half dollar that was unearthed by a New York contractor in 2005 while he was raking fill dirt. When raking the soil he heard a “clink” and after consulting with experts, he learned that it was a rare overdate variety. His rare half dollar sold at a 2006 auction for $253,000 (and later resold at auction in 2009 for $109,250).

Last week in Philadelphia in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money – the world’s biggest coin show – rare coin auctioneer Stack’s Bowers offered original plasters and bronze casts for Hermon MacNeil’s 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar.

Artist models like this are reminders that seeing a glimpse of the process of creating a coin’s design can help one better understand the finished product. Yet, amazingly, these plasters were almost disposed of at one time. After MacNeil died, the contents of his studio were reportedly hauled to the dump and some items were saved by a neighbor. The casts were purchased at a garage sale as a curiosity in 2001, with the purchaser thinking that they might somehow be related to a coin.

While to today’s coin collectors it sounds impossible that historically important — and economically valuable — items would be discarded so carelessly, many artist studios of the past century have suffered undignified fates.

In MacNeil’s time, sculptors rarely preserved their process work — work that supported the creation of a finished product for a commissioned piece. The competition to design new coins in 1916 where the U.S. Mint invited outside artists was no exception. Researcher Roger Burdette wrote in 2006, “Time has not been kind to either the visual or written record of the 1916 design competition.”

Some of these numismatic treasures surely remain waiting to be discovered — in bookstores, garage sales, and estate sales.

The rewards for finding these are great, as they are expensive today. In 2009 three plaster models by Chester Beach for the 1921 Peace dollar competition (he lost to Anthony De Francisci and the Peace dollar was produced from 1921 to 1935) sold at auction for nearly $20,000.

The coin collector premium for the numismatic work of sculptors is substantial. For comparison, more typical plasters by Beach of profile portraits from the 1920s and 1930s sold at auction in 2009 at the $100 to $200 level. The Beach studio was left relatively untouched after his death and its treasures were revealed only after the Beach family home was put on the market several years ago.

That is one of the wonderful things about working with fine art, rare coins, antiques and collectibles: there are always new things that are waiting to be discovered.  It certainly keeps things fun for us appraisers!

Steve Roach, ISA AM
Treasurer, International Society of Appraisers

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Scholarship Recipients

The Board of Directors of the Foundation for Appraisal Education is excited and proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 scholarship awards! This year, the Foundation provided education opportunities for (8) individuals that were carefully selected by the Scholarship Award Committee.  Our successful fundraising efforts over the past two years have enabled us to award additional scholarships for 2012, and we couldn’t be more pleased!  After the initial round of previously announced scholarships, the Foundation was able to accommodate three additional awards including a special scholarship to our upcoming seminar sponsored by Quinn Auction Galleries.  The applicants who were not selected in the first round became candidates for these additional scholarships. It has been a banner year for the Foundation!

Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. Scholarship in Fine & Decorative Arts:

Amelia Green (ISA ARC Course) $1,500.00

Experienced Appraiser:

Laura Nelson (ISA Fine Arts Course) $1,000.00

Suzy McGrane-Hop (ISA Assets 2013 Conference) $1,000.00

New Appraiser:

Danielle McAllister (Canada) (ISA Core Course distance education) $1,000.00

Kamille Parkinson (ISA Fine Arts Course) $1,000.00

Additional General Scholarships:

Carol Wamble (CAPP Requal) $450.00

Larra Nebel "Using Comparables in Appraisal Practice" $395.00

Judy Martin Scholarship for the 2012 Quinn Seminar:

Amanda Williams $375.00

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Ballots for ISA’s upcoming election were mailed to voting members last week! Be sure to check your mail box as these are time sensitive.  The Nominating Committee, chaired by Marian (Mo) Aubry, ISA CAPP, worked diligently putting together this year’s slate. There are three Board positions available, each for a three year term.

We’re pleased to announce the following candidates are running for election to the ISA Board of Directors:

Terri Ellis, ISA CAPP
Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP
Karen S. Rabe, ISA CAPP

Please participate in this important process. Be sure to vote and return your completed ballot, postmarked no later than September 7, 2012.

Best of luck to each candidate!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recognizing 7 Hour USPAP Course Attendees

ISA held a 7 Hour UPSAP course in Naperville, IL on July 26 and we are pleased to recognize the following course attendees.

Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP – Leavenworth, WA
Anne Blumer, ISA AM – Danvers, IL
Thomas Burnison – Lakeside, MI
Nan Ruth Chardoul, ISA CAPP - Grand Blanc, MI
Eileen Eichhorn, ISA AM – Decatur, IN
James Finlay, ISA AM – Vancouver, BC
Karen Halboth, ISA AM – Williams Bay, WI
Darlene Hines, ISA CAPP – Bloomfield Hills, MI
Suzy McGrane-Hop, ISA CAPP – Cedar Rapids, IA
Rebecca Nix, ISA AM – Windermere, FL
Jean Renick, ISA AM – Cincinnati, OH
Daphne Rosenzweig, ISA CAPP – Sarasota, FL
Dora Valdes-Fauli, ISA AM – Coral Gables, FL
Beatrice Weiskopf, ISA AM – Northbrook, IL

Please join ISA, in congratulating these course attendees; in the successful completion of this course and for taking an important step in maintaining their education and industry knowledge!

 If you would like to learn more about upcoming ISA courses, click here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Foundation for Appraisal Education announces Decorative Arts Seminar

Showcasing a cast of nationally known decorative and fine arts experts as speakers, The Foundation for Appraisal Education, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting ISA, is offering a decorative arts seminar at Quinn's Auction Gallery in Falls Church Virginia on September 6th and 7th of 2012, beginning with a reception on the evening of September 5th.  With the support and underwriting of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, the Foundation is offering a diverse educational seminar which is open to all appraisers as well as the public.

The program features a wide variety of subjects which would be of interest of generalists, experts and connoisseurs of decorative and fine art. The seminar will include sessions on Mid-century furniture,  current trends in Asian Art, the changing times of Art Pottery, valuation of prints and fine art, contemporary glass, netsukes, legalities around ivory and migratory birds, and folk art, just to name a few.  Features speakers include David Rago, Lark Mason, Suzanne Perrault, Ken Farmer, Dale Sorenson, Oscar Fitzgerald, Matt Quinn and others.  Not only do attendees have the chance to meet with these nationally known experts, but many subjects involve areas for which education and training is often difficult to find.  Where else can you learn about the legalities of buying and selling ivory and feathers?  Where else can you see and handle one of the country’s foremost collections of netsukes?  This seminar promises to not only be educational but lively and fun!  Evening receptions are being planned to provide an opportunity to meet and talk with speakers and other seminar attendees.

The seminar registration fee is reasonably priced at $375.00, with $200.00 of that registration fee being a deductible contribution to the Foundation for Appraisal Education.  This not-for-profit organization promotes the advancement of education related to personal property appraising.  The Foundation offers educational grants for the purposes of appraisal education as well as scholarships to individuals for fine art and decorative art appraisal education, and it strives to educate the public about fine and decorative arts appraisals.  The Foundation routinely provides grants to ISA and many ISA members have been recipients of their scholarships.

This seminar promises to be one of the best of the year, and is expected to sell out quickly.  With only 100 seats available, plan to register early.  For the registration form and for additional information, see the website for the Foundation for Appraisal Education at  or contact Quinn’s Auction Galleries at 703-532-5632.  A block of hotel rooms is being held for out of town participants and accommodations are not included in the seminar registration cost.

For more information on this release, please contact Vicky Nash Shaw, President of The Foundation for Appraisal Education at 312 924-1832.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Win a Free 2013 Conference Registration!

ISA is happy to announce a new contest for members! The winner will receive a free registration to Assets 2013, being held in Chicago, IL April 12-15, 2013 at the JW Marriott Chicago.

How It Works
Encourage fellow colleagues and friends to sign up for any of the upcoming on site fall classes, being held in October or November, and have the individual registering include your name on their online registration.

Upcoming Fall courses include:
Antiques & Residential Contents:  Oct. 1-6 (All New Revised Course)
Fine Art:  Oct. 15-20
Core Course:  Oct. 8-14
Advanced Report Writing:  Oct. 24-25
Requalification:  Sept 28-20 (To be held in Toronto, ON), Oct. 26-27
USPAP 15 Hour:  Oct. 22-23
USPAP 7 Hour: Oct. 8 (To be held in Dallas, TX)
Oriental Rugs:  Nov. 9-10 (Brand New Class to be Held in Dallas, TX)

No limit to referrals.  Registrant must attend the course for the member referral to count. Only one conference registration will be awarded to the ISA member with the highest number of referrals.  In the event of a tie the award will be decided by a drawing.  Winner announced by December 1, 2012. All members of ISA are eligible to participate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ISA Announces Slate of Candidates

We’re pleased to announce the following candidates are running for election to the ISA Board of Directors:

Terri Ellis, ISA CAPP
Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP
Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP

Special thanks to the Nominating Committee, chaired by Marian “Mo” Aubry, ISA CAPP, for working diligently to put together this year’s slate. There are three Board positions available, each for a three year term.

Ballots will be mailed to all voting members near the end of July. Please participate in this important process – be sure to vote and return your completed ballot by the September 7th due date.

Best of luck to each candidate!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Announcing 15 Hour USPAP Course Attendees

ISA is pleased to announce the June - 15 Hour Personal Property USPAP course attendees:

Jane Brumfield – Boise, ID
Patricia English – Houston, TX
Erin Fossum – Seattle, WA
Gwyn Kaitis – Joliet, IL
Anne Kelly – Dallas, TX
Mary Khamis-Rowe, ISA CAPP – Indianapolis, IN
John Leonard – Addison, IL
Katherine Manning – Barrington, IL
Patricia Meadows, ISA – Dallas, TX
Alison Neumann – Naperville, IL
Maureen Obannon – Las Vegas, NV
Megan Obannon – Las Vegas, NV
Cathy Peters, ISA CAPP – Naperville, IL
Gary Piattoni – Evanston, IL
Amy Piotrowski – Toronto, ON
Susan Reutern – Prokuski – Santa Fe, NM
Elizabeth Ruffner – Signal Mt., TN
Joanna Stearns, ISA CAPP – Las Vegas, NV
Sean Susanin – Chicago, IL
Krysta Telenko – Sudbury, ON
Karen Thomson – Montreal, QC
Lori Weidow – DuBois, PA

Please join us in congratulating these course attendees, in their successful completion of this course!  If you would like to learn more about upcoming ISA courses, click here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ISA Announces June Core Course Attendees

ISA held the Core Course Appraisal Studies in Naperville, IL: June 18-24 and we are pleased to recognize the following course attendees.

Ninya Lee Greek – Boulder, CO
Kay Helker – Platteville, WI
Lyn Huck – Houston, TX
Gwyn Kaitis – Joliet, IL
Anne Kelly – Dallas, TX
Katherine Manning – Barrington, IL
Ashley Mays – Sacramento, CA
Patricia Meadows, ISA – Dallas, TX
Maureen Obannon – Las Vegas, NV
Megan Obannon – Las Vegas, NV
Susan Reutern-Prokuski – Santa Fe, NM
Elizabeth Ruffner – Signal Mt, TN

Please join ISA, in congratulating these course attendees; in the successful completion of the course and for taking an important step in further their education and industry knowledge!

 If you would like to learn more about upcoming ISA courses, click here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

FAE Announces Scholarship Extension

The Foundation for Appraisal Education board is pleased to announce a two week extension to the annual scholarship application period!

Applications will be accepted thru Monday, July 16, in order to give everyone an opportunity to submit their applications. The scholarship award recipients will be announced on or around July 31.

New this year, an additional scholarship in the "Experienced Appraiser category" has been added to the three existing scholarships.

The application may be found on the FAE website.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Announcing New ISA CAPP members and Membership Applicants

ISA would like to announce and congratulate our newest ISA CAPP members for the second quarter of 2012:

Michael Logan – Kingsport, TN
Richard Wisner – Charlotte, NC
Susan Sturdivant – Dallas, TX

Congratulations on all of your hard work and this outstanding achievement!

Also, we would like to introduce, 20 new membership applicants for this quarter.  Please join us in welcoming these applicants to the Society.

David Altherr – Clarkdale, AZ
Christopher Bailey – Springfield, IL
John Brown – Ellwood City, PA
Jane Brumfield – Boise, ID
Thomas Derric – Jacksonville, NC
Jacquelyn Dewdney – Des Moines, IA
Janette Doering – Canmore, AB
Elizabeth Edwards – Toronto, ON
Derrian Fentress – Roswell, GA
Lyn Huck – Roswell, GA
Gwyn Kaitis – Joliet, IL
Anne Kelly – Dallas, TX
Jeanette Langmann – Vancouver, BC
Katherine Manning – Barrington, IL
Ashley Mays – Sacramento, CA
Victoria Nickell – Austin, TX
Terry Oldham – St. Joseph, MO
Ronnie Prince – Aventura, FL
Susan Reutern-Prokuski – Santa Fe, NM
Elizabeth Ruffner – Signal Mt., TN

Congratulations on taking this important step in furthering your professional career and welcome to ISA!

If you would like to recommend someone for membership, please forward their contact information to Sara

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Books, Books and more Books

A few months ago I was sitting in my office looking at the amount of books I had in the bookcases. I knew that they were only the books that were out on the shelves, and there were more in the drawers and under cabinets.   It seemed so overwhelming for some reason and I got to thinking about the need for books in my world today.  I was actually considering selling some, giving some away or even tossing some of the price guides I seem to have the need to hold on to forever.  I could clean my office, it would look like a human being worked here and that being (me) had a head on their shoulders.   But as things seem to go, I didn’t get around to cleaning off the bookshelves that particular day or week and there they stayed.

Thank Goodness.

 In the past two months I have had to do valuations that involved many pieces of property.  One project had over 500 pieces which had to be identified, evaluated and valued.  That is quite a few pieces of property to cover.   The problem with this project was that many of these pieces were Victorian and early 20th Century glass.  Now, you see where my books came into play.  Luckily I have loads of good books on glass and I needed almost everyone on the subject of this type of glass.  I needed to identify the glass if it was Hobbs, Fenton, McKay, Westmoreland, Wavecrest, and on and on.

Sure you can go to the internet and do your identifications by clicking and clicking, saving, printing and reading.  But you know sometimes that takes more time than sitting with your stack of books, opening to the pages you need and doing some actual reading.   Good books have great information and they can answer a mountain of questions before you start to make mistakes that you don’t even realize you made until it is too late.  For example,  how to tell if the milk glass is an original 19th Century or a reproduction.  Or, is that unmarked painted butter dish by Northwood? Is that Tiffany candlestick complete or is something missing?

I know it might not appear that most glass items from the 19th Century are very important in today’s marketplace.  But, you know they are to those who collect and cherish these items.  If they are some ones parent’s collection and you have to help them divide the property you better be on target as to what you are looking at before you start to value.  It can be overwhelming at first but when you find your rhythm you start to move along pretty quickly.  Once I found the type of glass I was valuing, finding the values was rather easy and quick.

It is not just glass that causes this kind of problem, it can be lamps, figurines, vases,  pottery and all sorts of decorative items that somehow are stored in the estates I work with.  After all these years of looking at things my brain can only hold so much at the ready and sometimes it needs a reboot.  Thank goodness for my books . When I go to them, they trigger that particular file in my brain database and automatically refreshes my knowledge that I know I had somewhere in that flash drive otherwise known as my mind.  

So my word of caution is this – be careful when you clean out your library, the one you give away or sell might just be the next one you need for your project.

Judith Martin, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Final Reminder: Call for Nominations

Have you submitted your nominations for the upcoming ISA Board of Directors election?

Nominations or letters of intent and a resume are due to Marian “Mo” Aubry, ISA CAPP by this Friday, June 15!

There are three vacancies which must be filled, and we are seeking candidates who will lead and inspire our membership. Each vacant position is for a three-year term. The ISA Board meets four times a year, two via conference call and two are in person, with one taking place at the annual conference and the other in Chicago at ISA headquarters.

If you are looking to lead and to become more involved within ISA, this is the perfect opportunity.

Please contact:
Marian “Mo”, Aubry ISA CAPP
Chair, Nominating Committee
941-921-4237 or 941-544-6806

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Be a Guest Blogger on ISA NOW

Would you like to share your insight, expertise or an interesting experience that you have had while out in the field? Have you recently appraised a unique or rare item? Tell the ISA Now readers about it and share your story. We want to hear from you, our readers; send your story to Michelle Stearns, Education and Credentialing Coordinator at:, to be a Guest Blogger on ISA Now!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reflection on Assets 2012

There is something about attending the annual ISA conference that is energizing!

The enthusiasm of the conference attendees was obvious from the moment I stepped into the foyer of our hotel until the closing awards luncheon.  The overall mood was upbeat, the facilities relaxing.  Break time was held in a covered patio where there was an array of fresh fruit, tea, coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, ice cream and a variety of tempting pastries.  The atmosphere was conducive to mingling and catching up on our colleagues activities.  The buffet luncheons offered something for everyone, and an opportunity to enjoy the warm atmosphere of Tempe weather and the occasion.  It was a perfect atmosphere for meeting and greeting.

It was good to learn that many attendees took advantage of the opportunity to take the Requalification course and/or the 7-hour USPAP.  What a convenience to be able to attend ISA’s annual conference and take two required courses right after the conference.  Now, wasn’t that easy?  Over 30 of you took the ISA Requalification Course and nearly 30 took the 7-hour USPAP Course.  That is amazing.  I congratulate you all, especially those thirteen hearty souls that took both classes.  Whew!  You must have felt this was the week that was.

On Saturday, an important event occurred that was received with enthusiasm.  ISA President, Todd Sigety introduced the new ISA Logo and how you can use it on your emails, business cards, stationery.  You will even be able to use the logos that state your credentialed level for your promotional materials.  To find out and see more click here.  This is only available in the members only section. Todd is a president that delivers on his promises.  I know he would appreciate your thanks for overseeing the development of the spiffy new logo.

Start planning for Assets 2013.  It will be held in Chicago April 12-15 at a site that will be within walking distance to many things that are famously Chicago.  See you there!

Sally A. Ambrose, ISA CAPP
ISA Board of Directors

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Call for Nominations – Reminder!

A reminder the Nominating Committee is accepting applications from members wishing to be considered for the ISA Board of Directors.  Three vacancies must be filled and we are seeking candidates who will lead and inspire our membership. Each vacant position is for a three-year term.

The ISA Board meets four times a year, two via conference call and two are in person, with one taking place at the annual conference and the other in Chicago at ISA headquarters. If you are looking to lead and to become more involved within ISA, this is the perfect opportunity.  Please submit letters of intent along with your resume to Marian “Mo” Aubry no later than Friday, June 15, 2012.

Please contact:
Marian “Mo”, Aubry ISA CAPP
Chair, Nominating Committee
941-921-4237 or 941-544-6806

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ISA Announces Core Course Attendees

Last week, ISA held the Core Course Appraisal Studies in Toronto, Ontario and we are pleased to recognize these course attendees.

Linda Book – Toronto, ON
Tracey Capes Elliott – Toronto, ON
Elisabeth Edwards – Toronto, ON
Madeleine Forcier – Montreal, QC
Emilie Grandmount Berube – Montreal, QC
Anja Karisik – Toronto, ON
Merete Kristiansen – Vancouver, BC
Jeanette Langmann – Vancouver, BC
Duncan McLaren – St. Catharines, ON
Tannie Ng – Toronto, ON
Germaine Pataki-Theriault – Frederickton, NB
Ed Phillips – Toronto, ON
Melissa Poliah – Toronto, ON
Ian Rawlinson – Saskatoon, SK
Ann-Louise Seago – Toronto, ON
Krysta Telenko – Hamner, ON

Join ISA, in congratulating these course attendees; in the successful completion of the course and for taking an important step in further their education and industry knowledge!

 If you would like to learn more about upcoming ISA courses, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ISA Annual Conference Recap

Perhaps I am biased, but in my opinion ISA hosts the best personal property appraisal conferences.  Period.

During my time as an ISA member and board representative I have had the opportunity and pleasure to attend many major personal property appraisal conferences. With that experience I have excellent points of reference for comparison.  Like ISA, most appraisal organizations present excellent speakers and interesting topics at their conferences.  Much can be learned at most of these events and conferences.  Our conference in Tempe included Brian Roughton, Director of American and European paintings from Heritage Auctions, Jane Milosch, Director of Provenance Research Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institute, Joel Coen, a Silver Star Fellow at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Malcolm Barber, CEO and Group Managing Director of Bonham's, and Rose Mofford, former Governor of Arizona to name only a few.  In addition to the great speakers, we also saw continued sponsorship and exhibitors from Bonham’s, Quinn’s Auction Galleries, Clars, Heritage Auction Galleries,, and Robertson Taylor International Insurance. A generous education grant was provided by the Foundation for Appraisal Education. Additionally, we had a photographer set up in the lobby area to take professional headshots for a very reasonable fee.

The speakers and program at Tempe were excellent, but, in my opinion, what really separates ISA conferences from those of other organizations is our outstanding members.  At ISA conference, we offer much more inclusive networking opportunities, professional camaraderie, social interaction and even partying.  These networking and social opportunities are of course present during the planned portions of the conference, but there is much interaction and activities planned after hours as well.

For example, did you know the Friday evening Foundation for Appraisal Education’s Reading Between the Wines event was broken up by hotel security for being too loud?  We had so many appraisers at the Journal selling event many were flowing into the hotel suite bedroom and out into the hotel hallway.  Hotel management and security personnel at the Mission Palms were very courteous and professional and quickly relocated the party (both people and the complimentary “refreshments”) to a restaurant for the rest of the evening.  How many other appraisal organizations can make the claim of partying like college students! Next year, when we are in downtown Chicago at the JW Marriott (save the dates, April 12-15, 2013) we will need to find more suitable space to hold this popular and growing event.  My main point beyond the sheer fun and enjoyment of the evening is that during ISA conference our members are very active and inclusive. We find ways for our members to interact and develop lasting appraisal contacts and professional relationships.

This year the conference crowd was extremely positive about the conference itself, and the advances and growth of ISA over the past several years.  I have been to the last 9 conferences and I believe the encouraging mood and positive outlook of our members at Tempe has never been better.  At times the buzz in the crowd between events was absolutely electric. You could easily sense the excitement of our members.

In addition to the outstanding program, we had an excellent business meeting where we discussed some of ISA's recent accomplishments and some plans for the future.  This included discussions of our new website and administrative content management system, the digitization of member records (over 125,000 individual records have now been scanned for access by staff), our solid financial performance and position where we are now operating from a position of financial strength, an upcoming formal financial audit by an outside CPA/Auditing firm, new and updated educational programs, new committee structures, pursuit of errors and omissions insurance program for members, and of course our new logo and graphic standards (to member applause) and development of a new advertising campaign for 2013.  The new logo is intended to be a powerful, market changing brand for ISA and our growing personal property appraisal organization. As Joe Jackson our Executive Director recently stated, "We invite all members to become ISA Brand Ambassadors" in promoting both ISA and individual appraisal practices by using the new logos and graphic standards.

Our accomplishments over the past few years are both significant and numerous. Our continued emphasis on fiscal responsibility, administrative dependability, educational soundness and smart growth will be the result of much dedication and participation by all members and staff as we continue to transform ISA.  I would like to thank all of our members, committee chairs, past and present board members and the staff of Sentergroup for making ISA the preeminent personal property appraisal organization.  As I have said in the past, it is a great time to be an ISA member.  As we build on past conference success, I look forward to a great turnout for our 2013 conference in downtown Chicago.

Todd W. Sigety, ISA CAPP
President, ISA Board of Directors

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Call for Nominations

The Nominating Committee is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications from members wishing to be considered for the ISA Board of Directors.  Three vacancies must be filled and we are seeking candidates who will lead and inspire our membership.

Our members look to the Board to do their utmost to encourage enhanced opportunities for the membership such as quality educational opportunities and the promotion of the appraisal industry so that each individual member can benefit professionally and personally from their connection to ISA.  The membership will count on your energy and commitment to these objectives.  As a Board member you will have direct input into these important priorities.  It is a position of responsibility and great opportunity. Don’t you want someone like that on your Board, too?

While the effort is a serious one, the Board meets just four times per year with two of the sessions in teleconference.  Two meetings are in person with one meeting to be held at the annual conference and the other at a meeting in the headquarters office in Chicago.

Here is your opportunity to lead, to inspire others, to work for the good of your profession and the benefit of the membership.

We will be most pleased to accept letters of intent to run for the Board along with your resume.  Kindly let us know how your accomplishments can best serve the Board and the Society.  Please submit all letters of intent to Marian “Mo” Aubry no later than Friday, June 15, 2012. If you would like additional information we will be happy to send it to you.

Please contact:

Marian “Mo” Aubry ISA CAPP
Chair, Nominating Committee
941-921-4237 or 941-544-6806

Thursday, May 10, 2012

ISA Unveils New Logo

You’ve heard the rumors … and they’re true!

The ISA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the launch of a new logo and branding campaign! Assets 2012 conference attendees already saw a sneak preview last month in Tempe, and now we’re ready to “go public”.

Out with the OLD …

In with the NEW.

Designed to have a direct link to our old logo in spirit, the new look is meant to be a powerful, market-changing brand for ISA. We believe we’ve captured a fresh and forward-thinking image that represents where our organization is headed. The rotating sphere implies movement and activity, and the richer blue and grey color scheme creates an upgraded, more sophisticated impression.

New logos are also available for members to add to their promotional materials. Each of the full membership categories will have their own logo: Member, Accredited Member, and Certified Member.

There is also a new graphic standards publication that provides the guidelines for how each of the new logos can be used, including colors, fonts, and styles.

The full roll-out is in progress, with our website, Facebook page, and Blog now carrying our new brand. Up next will be new letterhead, broadcast email templates, and other communication pieces. After that, a new advertising campaign will be developed for implementation in 2013. The new member logos and the brand standards guide are now available on the website, to download visit: (members only section)

Now that you’ve seen the launch, we hope you’ll all help us promote our new look as “ISA Brand Ambassadors”. As an ISA Brand Ambassador, members should:

• Review and download the new logos and become familiar with the brand standards guide
• Begin to use the logo and applicable member logo as soon as you can by updating your marketing material and social media profiles
• Showcase the new ISA logo to your colleagues, vendors and other appraisers

For more information, visit our website or contact ISA’s Executive Director, Joseph Jackson, CAE at

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

ISA Announces Course Attendees

ISA concluded Assets 2012 with offerings of each the Requalification and 7 Hour USPAP courses, in Tempe, AZ.

ISA is pleased to announce these recent course attendees:

Requalification Course Attendees:

7 Hour Personal Property USPAP Course Attendees:

Join ISA, in congratulating these course attendees; in the successful completion of their respective course and for taking an important step in further their industry knowledge! If you would like to learn more about upcoming ISA courses, click here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Marketing ISA

As a member of the International Society of Appraisers Marketing and Promotions Committee, I have been working on expanding our association’s on-line presence.  In addition to adding search engine listings, a free link to ISA’s website has been added to over 30 websites relating to antiques, art, insurance, moving, claims, museums, legal issues and restoration.

How can individual ISA members help market our organization to users of appraisal services, other appraisers and the public?

1. Place a link on our individual websites to the ISA website at
2. Mention your ISA credential and use the special ISA Member logo in your marketing         materials, websites and blogs.
3. On social networking sites such as LinkedIn, actively participate in discussions,               answer questions and join the ISA group.
4. Write press releases and articles for print and on-line publications mentioning your           membership with a link to the ISA website.
5. Wear your ISA pin on the job and to networking events.

I carry a portfolio showing the ISA logo when attending functions and meeting potential clients for the first time.  It helps catch their attention and serves as a conversation starter.

Feel free to contact me at with any suggestions for improving our on-line presence.  If we each help promote ISA, we will have a stronger organization and be more successful with our individual businesses.

Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP
Member, ISA Marketing and Promotions Committee

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Assets 2012 Recap

Please enjoy our photo recap of Assets 2012!

Visit ISA on Facebook to see more photos from Assets 2012!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Announcing 2011-2012 Award Recipients

ISA is pleased to announce the award recipients from the 2012 Awards Luncheon.

Service Award certificates were also presented to the following 2011-2012 Committee Chairs:
Thank you for your hard work, dedication, service and all that you do for ISA!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Is The Specialty Studies Committee, And What Does It Do?

Most ISA members’ appraisal practices fall under either/both of the traditional categories of personal property, Fine Art (FA) or Antiques and Residential Contents (ARC).  But many members specialize in a select type or subcategory of personal property.  Specialty Studies (SS) is the subcommittee of ISA’s education programming designed to serve those members whose specialized appraisal practices do not fall under (or who only appraise a select category of) FA and ARC, ISA’s other education subcommittees.

Like these other committees, SS is responsible for establishing educational standards for a member’s product (as opposed to process) knowledge.  However, unlike FA and ARC, for which ISA offers standardized courses and testing, the breadth and diversity of property possible under SS precludes a singular measure for determining a member’s property proficiency.  As an alternative process, SS offers an individualized solution for a member’s mandatory matriculation in five (5) years from member to accredited member (AM).

To apply for AM through specialty studies, members are first required to submit a resume/ curriculum vita to determine if SS is the most appropriate avenue for matriculation.  Once approved, the member prepares an application consistent of three (3) requirements:

1. A $500 application fee (less than the costs of either the FA or ARC courses)

2. A redacted, self-contained appraisal report for a non-cash charitable donation in               excess of $5,000 (also required for both FA and ARC AM)

3. And a 2000-2500 word (6-8 pages) thesis on appraising the specialty property

Members interested in matriculating through SS may contact Michelle Stearns, ISA’s Education Coordinator to learn more.

By allowing appraisers to dedicate their business to specialized properties while maintaining the same rigorous education standards and ensuring the client receives a product worthy of ISA’s designation, SS affords members with a time and cost effective, personalized pathway for accredited membership, as well as the designation of specialist.

--Scott W. Hale, ISA AM
Chair of ISA Specialty Studies (SS) Committee

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tales of an Appraiser

Personal property appraisers have to learn a lot.  They have to take courses, read books, attend seminars and talk to experts.  In my opinion, if you are not working, you are learning, and if you are not learning, you are working. I learned two lessons this year: One – always check the information your clients give you, and two – you probably know more than you realize. Here are some war stories unique to my area – Washington DC.  I would love to hear other appraisers’ tales!

One appointment, for equitable distribution had a large painting over a center stairway of a real big house. The client hated it, but it was in the house when they bought it. As we passed by it to look at items upstairs, the client told me, ”I’ve wanted to throw it away, but it is too big to put out with the trash.”  It measures 62" by 50" in a carved wood frame. The owners sniffed that it was just decorative, and not in their taste. I had never heard of the artist, but I peeked at the back and the canvas was good and old and the front had great craquelure. I told the client I thought I should look it up. Well, the painter was Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish 1863 – 1923) and is worth about $2 million. How did they get it? The clients had bought the house from a Saudi Sheik who used it for his kids attending college. The kids apparently forgot to bring it home.  It is now in the process of getting authenticated to be sold.

The other example is the opposite. The client, the wife of a collector of fine art from old masters to modern, needed an inventory.  None of the art had been catalogued as her husband had kept all the information in his head, but he was developing Alzheimer’s, which was the reason for the appraisal. His office, was decorated with fabulous Art Deco furniture, with family portrait of the era, signed “Lempicka”. I asked the client when and where she got it and she said her husband bought it from a dealer in the sixties and paid over $100,000 for it.  I used the “Readily apparent identity clause” and calculated a value of $5 million. That made the son interested in selling it, so I offered to authenticate it before sending it to auction.  The same day that I spoke to the expert who wrote Tamara de Lempicka's cataloque raisonne, I spoke to the dealer. Slam, bam.  The expert curtly said it was not a Lempicka.  The dealer hedged a bit, then said, "Well they wanted a Lempicka so badly, and we could not find one.  So we painted them one."  The value changed to $500.00.

As appraisers, I believe we develop a network of knowledgeable people, and people deep in the business of our specialty. Don’t underestimate your resources! A few months ago I appraised a collection of art at the CIA. One modern painting had to be identified quickly because they had no idea where, or who, the painter was.  Ben Affleck, the movie star, was filming at the building in Langley and wanted the painting in the movie, but they needed the artist's permission.  The agency had sent agents all over the country looking for painters with the name on the frame, with no result. Within a few days, I asked a client, a widow of a painter in the Washington Color School group, who put me in touch with an art mover who remembered the painter, who put me in touch with the widow of the artist who shared the studio in DC where the painting was made, who lived a block away from the artist in New York. I called him and he was delighted to give permission.

So, the point is to be really careful with what your clients tell you, and your own network of experts may be better than you think.

Nini Hamalainen ISA CAPP

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New ISA CAPPs and Membership Applicants

ISA would like to announce our newest ISA CAPP members for the first quarter of 2012:

Christine Guernsey – Colleyville, TX
Judy Nelson – Fort Worth, TX

Congratulations on all of your hard work and this outstanding achievement!

We would also like to introduce our 27 new membership applicants for this quarter.  Please join us in welcoming these applicants to the Society.

Greg Brown – Minneapolis, MN
Ronald Broyles – San Rafael, CA
Justina Burgett – Visalia, CA
Tracey Capes  Elliott – Toronto, ON
Philip Dexheimer – Ocala, FL
Elizabeth Edwards – Toronto, ON
Patricia English – Houston, TX
Jarrett Fairman – Monroe, LA
Katharine Fernstrom – Baltimore, MD
Erin Fossum – Seattle, WA
Kay Helker – Platteville, WI
Anja Karisik – Toronto, ON
Emilia Lanwher – Richmond, VA
Ducan McLaren – St. Catharines, ON
Henk Pardoel – Lansdowne, ON
Kamille Parkinson – Kingston, ON
Germaine Pataki-Theriault – Fredrickton, NB
Clemens Peschl – Pompano Beach, FL
Edward Phillips – Toronto, ON
Melissa Pineda – Santa Fe, NM
Ann-Louise Seago – Toronto, ON
Jon Slone – Ormond Beach, FL
Kurt Soucek – Tacomca, WA
James Tarpey – Bozeman, MT
Krysta Telenko – Hanmer, ON
William Tirpaeck – Little Compton, RI
Erik Yang – Dallas, TX

Congratulations on taking this important step in furthering your professional career and welcome to ISA!

If you would like to recommend someone for membership, please forward their contact information to Sara Porter:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Important Foundation for Appraisal Education Updates


The annual Foundation for Appraisal Education (FAE) fundraiser, the FUN’D Auction, is being held Sunday evening, April 22 at the ISA annual conference.  This joint ISA/FAE event features a Southwestern Style Dinner Buffet and the FUN’D Live/Silent Auction from 6pm-8pm. The purpose of the FAE is to support appraiser education through the awarding of scholarships to individuals seeking to improve their knowledge in the field of personal property appraising and for grants for group educational opportunities, such as speakers at ISA’s annual conference.

The FAE board is seeking your support for this important event, with the donation of an item or service with a fair market value over $50.00.  Examples of donations previously received include: fine art, jewelry, seminar tuitions, rare books, vacation condos, a Prairie Home Companion Coyote Butt, & one of a kind designer couture. All donations, in excellent condition, easily traveled, and of desirable nature are accepted. Please consider that most conference attendees will be traveling via air, and items should be portable.
If you are interested in making a contribution of an item or service, please email Fred Winer, ISA CAPP at by April 4, 2012.  Please include the item description, the fair market value, your name and your phone number.  If possible, please include a jpeg image so that we can provide advance publicity for your item.

Thank you for your generosity and for your help in making the FAE a sustainable foundation supporting our personal property appraisal community!


The Foundation for Appraisal Education is also pleased to announce the establishment of a new 2012 scholarship in the area of fine and decorative arts.  In alliance with the scholarship sponsor, Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd., the Foundation will be offering the Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. Scholarship in Fine and Decorative Arts for the first time in 2012.  This $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to an individual applicant under the age of 30, attending college level courses, seminars or specialty training in fine and decorative arts.
“We are enthusiastic about our new partnership with Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.,” said Beth Szescila, ISA CAPP, President of the Foundation. “Their innovative approach to promoting fine and decorative arts education among young adults will foster training and development of future appraisers and other professionals in the field.  The sponsorship of this scholarship is an indication of their strong commitment to the field of fine and decorative arts and its future.  We are grateful for their financial support and focus on education.”

Firm President Leland Little commented, in regards to the scholarship “We are honored to be able to provide this opportunity for a young adult to pursue fine and decorative arts training, as it is important to encourage and support young adults entering the professional careers of appraisers, auctioneers, and curators.”  Individuals under the age of 30 may apply through the Foundation’s defined application process.  Students, appraisers, auctioneers, museum curators, or any individual wanting to further their educational development in the area of fine and decorative arts personal property may apply for the scholarship.   According to Foundation Treasurer Vicky Nash Shaw, “this scholarship is the largest single scholarship ever awarded by the Foundation for Appraisal Education.”

For more information on this new scholarship, please visit the FAE website, or contact Vicky Nash Shaw, ISA CAPP, Treasurer for the Foundation for Appraisal Education at 312 924-1832.