The ISA NOW Blog has a new home!

You'll be redirected shortly.

Make sure to update your bookmarks.
If you aren't automatically redirected, click the link to visit the new blog.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


To our valued ISA members and friends,

Please note that ISA headquarters will be closed in observance of the holidays beginning Monday, December 23rd and reopening on Thursday, December 26th.

Thank you for helping to make 2013 such a successful year for ISA … and 2014 will be even more exciting!

From the Board of Directors and staff, we’re sending our warmest wishes to all for a beautiful, safe and festive holiday season!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Assets 2014 Speaker Highlights

The Assets 2014 Program Committee has put together a program that will appeal to all specialty divisions. Attendees will find sessions on a wide range on topics including those that will sharpen your appraisal practice and methodology skills and deepen your product knowledge.

Don’t forget to register before December 31, 2013 to receive the discounted Super Saver rate!

Below is a sneak-peak look at the exciting speaker and topic line up for ISA’s Annual Conference: April 25-28, 2014.  To learn more about the program and to register, visit the ISA website!

General Session Speakers
Art & Branding: Has Quality Value in Our Consumer Culture?
Michael Findlay, Director Acquavella Galleries

Serving as a Consultant and/or Expert Witness in Legal Proceedings
Peter Gaido, Esq, Gaido & Fintzen

How Can Title Defects Impact Appraisals?
Judith Pearson, President and Co-Founder, ARIS Companies

Native American Basketry and Artifacts
Gaylord Torrence, Curator Native American Collections, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Treasures of the Presidential Libraries
Clay Bauske, Museum Curator at Harry S. Truman Museum and Library

Fine Art Breakout Speakers
On Quality: Connoisseurship and Art History
Dr. Bruce Robertson, Acting Director of UC Santa Barbara's University Art Museum and Professor of History of Art and Architecture at UCSB

History of Tamarind Prints, How to Identify and Value Tamarind Prints
Marjorie Devon, Director, Tamarind Institute of Lithography

Panel Discussion: The Nuts and Bolts of Fine Art Appraising
Steve Roach, ISA AM, Steve Roach Appraisal & Advisory Services;
Cris Drugan, ISA AM, Emerald Art Services, LLC;
Matt Quinn, Quinn's Auction Galleries

Sylvie Penichon, Conservator of Photographs, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Appraising Political Art: What Matters More - The Artist or the Subject?
Meredith Meuwly, ISA AM, Director of Appraisal Services, Heritage Auctions

ARC Breakout Speakers

Native American Basketry and Artifacts
Gaylord Torrence, Curator Native American Collections, Nelson-Atkins Museum

Navigating the Rare Book Trade: History, Identification and Strategies for Collection Appraisal
Mary Kohnke, Director of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Holy Smoke- Russian Roulette
James Jackson, President and CEO, Jackson's International Auctioneers and Appraisers

Antique Toys
Noel Barrett, Appraiser, Antiques Roadshow. Owner, Noel Barret Antiques

Flow Blue - the Bluest and the Best. What is its History and what makes it Valuable? 
Richard Wisner, ISA CAPP, Wisner's Appraisal Services

Attendees can earn up to 14.75 professional development credits.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Michael Findlay, Director of Acquavella Galleries, to Speak at ISA Conference

ISA is pleased to announce that Michael Findlay, Director of Acquavella Galleries will be a keynote speaker at our annual conference, Assets 2014 in Kansas City, April 25-28

Findlay will be speaking on the value of fine and decorative arts as he relates accounts from his book “The Value of Art” and through personal knowledge from many years of gallery and auction house specialist experience.

Findlay's presentation at the ISA appraisal conference is timely, as Acquavella Galleries recently set a new record for the highest price paid for a piece of art purchased at auction.  The painting by Francis Bacon, “Three Studies of Lucian Freud”, oil on canvas, in 3 parts, painted in 1969 was offered for sale through Christie’s. It sold to Acquavella for $142.4 million.  The new record topped the previous auction record set at Sotheby’s in 2012 for the Scream by Edvard Munch by over $20 million. A week earlier, Acquavella purchased a Giacometti bronze also the top selling lot at Sotheby's Impressionist Modern sale for $50 million.
$142.4 Million Triptych by Francis Bacon is most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.
Bloomberg News reported on the sale “Closely held Christie’s estimated the 1969 Bacon triptych - - three canvases depicting artist Lucian Freud -- at more than $85 million. At least half a dozen competed for it, including two Asian bidders, over six minutes. Acquavella bought it through Lock Kresler, Christie’s head of private sales based in London.”

Michael Findlay was one of the earliest art dealers to establish a gallery in SoHo, New York.  In 1984 Findlay became the Head of Impressionist and Modern Paintings at Christie's and in 2000 became its International Director of Fine Arts. Since 2000 he has been a director at Acquavella Galleries, New York, which in recent years has held major exhibitions of important Impressionist, modern, and contemporary masters.

In addition to his responsibilities at Acquavella Galleries, Findlay is also a noted and acclaimed author. His book “The Value of Art” has been well received by appraisers and the art community while his commentary and expertise on the art market is highly solicited. The newest edition of his book will be published just before the ISA conference and signed copies will be available for purchase.

Visit ISA at  for more speaker bios and to register for Assets 2014.
Learn more about Assets 2014!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Congratulations to Our Course Attendees!

ISA has concluded onsite courses for 2013.  The final onsite offerings of the Requalification, Core Course and 15 Hour Personal Property USPAP courses were held in Naperville, IL at the end of October and the Fine Arts course the first week of November.

Please join ISA in congratulating the following course attendees on their successful course completion!

Requalification Course Attendees
Donna Bradshaw, ISA - Woodland, CA
Connie Davenport, ISA AM - Cottontown, TN
Karen Halboth, ISA AM - Williams Bay, WI
Robert Harrison, ISA AM - Westminster, MD
Maureen Heenan, ISA AM - Silver Spring, MD
Chris Ingallss, ISA AM - Miami, FL
Kim Kolker, ISA AM - Dallas, TX
Margaret Minnick, ISA CAPP - Mercer Island, WA
Virginia Montfort, ISA AM - Dallas, TX
Jeffrey Robinson, ISA AM - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Justin Rogers, ISA AM - Kansas City, MO
Catherine Sankey, ISA CAPP - Auburn, NY
Jacquelyn Ullmer, ISA AM - Dayton, OH
Maria Velazquez, ISA - Kingwood, TX
Deborah Webb, ISA AM - Franklin, TN

Core Course Attendees
Chris Bailey -  Springfield, IL
Diane Burgess -  San Antonio, TX
Robin Burke -  Middletown, CT
Robert Connelly -  Peoria, AZ
Jenny Dartmans -  Strathroy, ON
Melissa Frenz -  Baraboo, WI
Stephen Gleissner -  Wichita, KS
Joseph Jabbour -  Middleburg, VA
Kathy Kiran -  Elgin, IL
Laura Kittle -  Porter, IN
Emilia Lanwehr -  Charlottesville, VA
Tamra Mast -  Houston, TX
Ann Messer -  Barrington, IL
Lauren Sexton -  Fayetteville, AR
Patrick Smith Sr. -  Fredericksburg, VA
Diane Stevenett -  Santa Barbara, CA
Teresa Sudeyko -  Vancouver, BC
Bruce Treadway -  Crystal Lake, IL
Darla Gouskos -  Dallas, TX
Patrica English -  Houston, TX

15 Hour USPAP Course Attendees
Courtney Ahlstrom  - Marietta, GA
Christopher Bailey  - Springfield, IL
Christina Blaus  - Toronto, ON
Robin Burke  - Middletown, CT
Robert Connelly  - Peoria, AZ
James Finlay  - Vancouver, BC
Melissa Frenz  - Baraboo, WI
Stephen Gleissner  - Wichita, KS
Darla Gouskos  - Dallas, TX
Zenna Inness, ISA AM - Tryon, OK
Joseph Jabbour  - Middleburg, VA
Kathy Kiran  - Elgin, IL
Laura Kittle  - Porter, IN
Emilia Lanwehr  - Charlottesville, VA
Ann Messer  - Barrington, IL
Fred Nevill, ISA - Houston, TX
Nicole Roberts, ISA - Auburn, WA
David Rotenberg, ISA CAPP - Langhorne, PA
Elaina Sanders  - Atlanta, GA
Bailey Sexton  - Fayetteville, AR
Patrick Smith Sr  - Fredericksburg, VA
Teresa Sudeyko  - Vancouver, BC
Deborah Thompson, ISA AM - Harrisburg, MO
Sunda Uzzell  - Mableton, GA

Congratulations on continuing your education and furthering your appraisal industry knowledge, by taking courses through ISA!

Check back next month for the 2014 course calendar!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Affinity Business Partner Eli Wilner Discusses the Importance of Frames and Frame Restoration

One of the significant benefits of the new ISA Affinity Business Partner (ABP) program to our members is exposure to expert information from related industry leaders on topics of great interest to appraisers. In the ABP's first blog post, esteemed partner Eli Wilner shares some interesting case histories on frame restorations performed by Eli Wilner & Company, NYC.

Eli has been a great friend to ISA over the course of decades, and had generously contributed significantly the Frames chapter in to our soon to be released, fully revised, Appraisal of Fine Art Course Manual.

Thank you Eli, for your valued association with ISA and for your article which provides a good understanding of the broad range of possibilities in expert frame restoration.

~Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP
By Eli Wilner

There are many aspects to the management of an art collection. One area of considerable importance is the role that frames play in the preservation and display of an artwork. Frames themselves can be very valuable so it is of key importance that collectors seek those with the skills and information necessary to make informed decisions. Two key components discussed here are the value of frames on artworks and the proper techniques necessary to preserve both the art and frame.

Eli Wilner & Company prides themselves in providing an in-depth knowledge of frame history and framing techniques. Such a depth of knowledge enabled them to do an appraisal for a leading world-renowned art gallery. In business for decades, the gallery had accrued an exceptional collection of over 250 frames. The gallery had promised the collection to a major museum and a full USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice)-compliant appraisal of the frames was needed for the IRS. The group encompassed all possible categories of value: from extraordinary European frames of the 18th century and earlier, to fine 19th century frames and 19th century reproductions of earlier frames, to frames of mid- 20th century and contemporary manufacture of both good and inferior quality. The task of categorizing and valuing the frames was further complicated by the range of size of each frame. In the end, the appraisal was assembled and submitted to the client (and the IRS) with a value of over $3,000,000.

In another case, proper frame valuation was of critical importance when Hurricane Ivan struck the coast of Florida with a vengeance. A number of frames that were part of a valuable collection assembled by a private collector were in storage. Not only was the building damaged- it was washed away down to the foundation. Among the many losses were fourteen exceptional carved and gilded frames. Working with the collector and the insurance company, Eli Wilner & Company was able to provide appropriate documentation and valuation of each frame. This expertise assisted both the collector and the insurance company in processing the claim for such a devastating loss reaching a settlement for over a half million dollars.

The proper handling and care of framed artworks can present special challenges. One such case was the restoration of a large contemporary artwork where both painting and frame comprised the overall artwork. Measuring – (app 10’ X 6’) when the home was painted workmen did not wear gloves and the oil from their hands tarnished the gilding powder used to finish the frame, resulting in dark handprints becoming visible on all four sides. At the client’s request, EWC staff went to the home and performed tests on the damaged areas. These tests showed that isolated treatment would not eliminate the marks and further compromised the gilded surface- a complete resurfacing and sealing was warranted. The work was done and the artwork was reinstalled- all done on site without the artwork leaving the clients premises.

In another case, a client had a collection of artworks that had suffered when loaned to an exhibition. Upon their return, the owner immediately noted the deteriorated condition of the frames and fittings. The owner was understandably reticent to have the artworks travel again, so the EWC team went to the residence and was able to remove the art from the frames, repair compromised hinges and refit the artworks. In some cases frames had to be removed and taken to the EWC studio to restore gilded surfaces that were delaminating. Once restored, the frames were refit on the artwork at the residence.

Appropriate frame restoration is a critical factor in the care of frames. Gilded frames, especially, warrant experienced care. A knowledge of traditional gilding methods and materials can spell the difference between correct or incorrect treatment. For example, it is all too often that a 19th century frame is restored using metal leaf, a material that would not have been used at the time the frame was made. Gilded frames often suffer the application of oil-based paint that renders the surface coarse and lifeless. One fascinating case is that of the original frame for the oil on canvas Portrait of Miss Caroline Welton by Abraham Archibald Anderson, c.1870-74 in the collection of the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut.

A life-size portrait, the frame measures 96” at its highest point and 58” wide. The frame is a late 19th century gilded frame in the Neoclassical style composed of crossetted corners at the top, lamb’s tongue near the sight edge, a leaf-and-berry motif along the top edge and a banderol (twist) ornament at the back edge. There is a wreath approximately 13” across at top center and floral garland swags that extend approximately 18” down from the top at each side.

While the frame retained much of its original surface there were many areas of loss to both the gilded surface and passages of ornament. Losses to the surface were especially prevalent along the bottom, the upper sides, and the area where the wreath and swags join the frame. The left swag was missing almost completely and the right swag had losses. There was evidence of inferior prior repairs and oil-based paint had been applied in many areas. Corner miters were separating.

In order to restore the frame to its original grandeur it was first treated for any structural instability including the rejoining of the separating miters. The frame had been constructed so that it could be dis-assembled and re-assembled at the corners for easier transport. Care had to be taken to re-align the corners and assure a smooth joint without the benefit of nails or glue. Next, areas of ornament such as the wreath and swags were re-created where absent and broken, and re-attached to the main frame structure and then all areas of loss to the gilded surface were cleaned and prepared, and the gesso and bole layers re-applied and sanded.

In most restoration projects, at this phase in the process (after the entire frame has been restored both structurally and ornamentally) the surfaces are regilded using traditional water gilding methods and gold leaf, taking care to retain as much of the original gilded surface as possible. Upon completion of the gilding, a patina is applied to render the appearance of age so that all newly restored areas blend harmoniously with the original surface. Unfortunately, after this frame was regilded the new surface began to delaminate (flake away) and it was necessary to redo the surface. Imagine our surprise and frustration when the same delamination occurred after the second regilding. We will likely never know what caused the original gesso layer to become unstable and cause the delamination- perhaps the frame suffered water damage in the past or was stored for a long time in a damp basement or similar area. In any case, it was only after the third regilding of the frame that the surface stabilized and remained intact. This is typical of the sort of labor-intensive problems that can occur in any gilded antique frame. What may appear to be a straightforward process becomes far more complex and time consuming. In the end, nearly 500 hours were devoted to the restoration of the frame. Happily, the frame can now be reunited with the newly cleaned and conserved portrait, together they will have pride of place in the Waterbury City Hall for a special welcome home celebration.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The March of Time…lines. Attending the Antiques and Residential Contents Course.

Last night I watched a new prime time family sitcom that takes place in the mid-1980’s.  I usually skip such “period” shows because it only takes one anachronism to ruin my “suspension of disbelief”.  The offending scene came quickly; the teen son made a reference about his favorite movie “Say Anything” and with that, it was over for me.  I knew that movie was released in late 1989.  Click went the remote.

I can’t help myself.  I’ve been blessed and cursed with a sixth sense of this “chronological awareness” since I was very young.  My older sister’s crush on actor Robert Conrad in the 1960’s required me to sit through improbable episodes of “The Wild, Wild West”.  Set during President Ulysses S. Grant’s administration, Conrad’s character was a Secret Service agent who used futuristic gadgets, totally out of context in the Victorian-era period setting.  I now cite the show as an early example of the “Steampunk” style so popular today.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Vernesque time-travel stories and movies.  The difference is those stories vacillate through an orderly timeline of historic events and periods.  I “get” that, much like the span of Art Periods that connect the historical and/or scientific events influencing the work.  I recognize the zeitgeist of actions or reactions to the status quo, leading to new Art Movements.

Attending the recent Antiquities and Residential Contents Course in Naperville made me realize that furniture and the decorative arts also share a timeline correlation to historic events, ruling monarchies and evolving technologies.
 The ARC Course helped me gain new perspective of the reasons for specific types of furniture pieces or how the whimsies of a monarch’s consort would form a legacy of enduring motifs and styles.  I appreciated how the emergence of chemistry processes affected pottery, glassmaking and silversmithing.  With rapt attention, I learned about the evolution of the humble construction nail (I kid you not), what really makes a quilt a quilt, what orientalia is and what it isn’t.  I learned about toys, purses, clothing styles and pianos.  I was cured from my fear of appraising Oriental rugs, understanding now the intricacies of the craft and its nomadic cultures explained.  I’ll never look at garage contents the same way again.  I even picked up a few cocktail party gems, “Do you know who came up with the Circular Saw?” “Do you know who invented Lincoln Logs?”  

ISA provided a very concentrated six-day curriculum, which included a “working” field trip to an estate consignment shop, relationship-building time with class attendees and the opportunity to glean invaluable tips from three very sharp instructors who shared not only “book” knowledge, but their real life experiences in the field and their marketplace intelligence.  I highly recommend this course to novices and seasoned appraisers alike; you’ll learn something new, I assure you.  As for me, I know it’s only a matter of time before that “18th century” coffee table shows up.  I’m ready.

By: Maggie Lopez
Member, ISA

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Congratulations to Our Course Attendees!

Please join ISA in congratulating the following course attendees on their successful completion of the September offering of the 7 Hour Personal Property USPAP course and October offering of the Antiques & Residential Contents courses.   

7 Hour Personal Property USPAP Course Attendees

Valerie Bennett, ISA AM  - Chicago, IL
Joan Caballero, ISA  - Santa Fe, NM
Beverly Graham, ISA AM  - Winter Park, FL
Ninya Lee Greek, ISA  - Coronado, CA
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP  - Beaufort, SC
Ted Krajnik, ISA AM  - Glenview, IL
Rosalind Lyness, ISA AM  - Oshkosh, WI
Virginia Montfort, ISA AM  - Dallas, TX
Beverly Nash, ISA CAPP  - Hendersonville, NC
Holly Nelson, ISA AM  - Braham, NM
Laura Nelson, ISA AM  - Tulsa, OK
Martha Peck, ISA AM  - Lake Forest, IL
Farhad Radfar, ISA AM  - Chicago, IL
Ramona Sakiestewa, ISA  - Santa Fe, NM
John Sexton, ISA AM  - North Palm Beach, FL
Melanie Smith, ISA AM  - Nags Head, NC

Antiques & Residential Contents Course Attendees
Dennis Adomaitis, ISA  - Saginaw, MI
Greg Brown, ISA - Bainbridge Island, WA
Jane Brumfield, ISA AM  - Boise, ID
Esther Colwell  - Camarillo, CA
Sherri Gillette  - Tucson, AZ
Brittany Hyde, ISA  - Stuart, FL
Kathy Kiran  - Elgin, IL
Maggie Lopez, ISA  - Atlanta, GA
Rosalind Lyness, ISA AM  - Oshkosh, WI
August Monteleone, ISA  - Cicero, IL
Francois Pelletier  - Montreal, QC
Robert Ramsey, ISA  - Grosse Pointe Park, MI
Gregory Sachnewycz   - Long Beach, CA
Patrick Smith Sr  - Fredericksburg, VA
Bruce Treadway  - Crystal Lake, IL

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

All Things Considered

The leaves are turning red and gold.  The grass looks just a bit sad and there is a nip in the air.  The snow yesterday morning was around the 2,000 foot level with a promise of more as November approaches.  Fall and early winter compete for my favorite season.  The radiant color, smell of the crisp air, and partaking of a bountiful harvest raises my spirits.  Eventually, the colors fade, the harvest is put into storage for the winter and winter snow blankets this area.  I tend to stay inside during winter and work on appraisals and other projects.  One of those projects has been to clean out and rearrange my office space.  Sometimes I find something unexpected.

Yesterday, I found a cheerful brochure buried in papers on my desk.  It lifted my spirits and directed my thoughts toward spring.  It was the official 2014 Assets Program to be held April 25-28, 2014 in Kansas City.  I stopped my paper rearranging and read the brochure, mentally selecting events to attend.  This was not easy as I wanted to attend everything from the tours, Fine Art and ARC breakout sessions and especially the sessions with topics that are unfamiliar to me.  And, Kansas City, MO!  I have never been to Kansas City so the sights and sounds offer new learning for me.  I can hardly wait.

This is my last article that I write to you as an ISA Board of Director.  I have enjoyed working with the members of the Board and the staff at Sentergroup, Inc.  They are all dedicated professionals and together there is strength.  An enormous number of programs and events have been introduced for the members.  The result is a strong organization that will continue to grow.  All things considered it has been an incredible experience.  I am glad I had the opportunity.

My thanks to you, the membership, for your support these past three years.

Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP, Retiring ISA Board Member

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Election Results Are In!

We are pleased to announce the results of the 2013 ISA Board of Directors Election. Three positions were available during this cycle, and we’d like to congratulate ISA’s newest incoming Board members:

Hughene D. Acheson, ISA AM (Oakville, ON)

Marian Aubry, ISA CAPP (Sarasota, FL)

Steven R. Roach, ISA AM (Dallas, TX & Dayton, OH)

Thank you to all the members who participated in this important process by taking the time to submit your votes.  

Hughene, Marian and Steve will become officially seated at the next ISA Board of Directors meeting on November 2 in Chicago. Officer elections will take place at that time, with results to be announced shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Moving Forward and Moving On

It has been over five years since I joined the ISA Board of Directors.  In those five plus years I have seen many positive changes.  I hope in some small way that I have contributed to a new direction and attitude for ISA.

My term as ISA Board of Directors President and as a member of the board comes to an end in a little over 30 days. With the date fast approaching, I have not only been reflecting on the past, but also looking at a very bright future for ISA.

When I was first joined the board of directors, ISA began re-evaluating its business model, which after many years was no longer functioning financially or administratively.  ISA was carrying an enormous amount of debt, we were working with a negative cash flow on most operations and perhaps most importantly, we were failing our members.  The Board decided upon a new business model through an association management group, which included strong board member participation, responsibility and accountability.  With those changes, ISA has weathered the storm and we have not looked back since. 

ISA now has a viable business model that not only works, but actually promotes growth, capital investment and responsibility. The face of ISA has shifted from the executive director and now rests with the board of directors and the President.  The ISA presidency brings a new infusion of talent, ideas and enthusiasm to this crucial ISA leadership position every two years.  It is a proven business and leadership model that has worked tremendously well for ISA through past Presidents Fred Winer and Judith Martin fostering societal growth, membership responsibility and capital investment. With this newly formed foundation and association structure, ISA will continue to grow and prosper well into the future.

With that, a short list of recent accomplishments:
  • our finances are now in order, with no long term debt on the balance sheet, and sound effective annual budgeting
  • we are and have been for several years consistently profitable and have a positive cash flow
  • our backroom operations are administratively sound with effective internal controls
  •  after closing the Associate category our membership has stabilized and we are now looking at real societal growth with a strong core of professional appraisers
  • a new web site/find an appraiser search/member profiles
  • an educational director
  • a new logo
  • new promotional advertisements
  • profitable and functioning education foundation in The Foundation for Appraisal Education
  • development of a new on line learning management system (scheduled for Jan 1, 2014)
  • updating and developing new courses and pathways (Oriental rugs, Asian studies, legal, updating and adding to the fine art program)
  • we are applying for sponsorship of the Appraisal Foundation
  • developed the new Business Affinity Membership category
  •  reworked our outdated committee structure\
  • we hold the absolute best personal property appraisal conferences
  • enhanced bridging policy
  • mentoring
  • ISA is growing and showing stability while other personal property organizations are showing signs of complacency and resting on past accomplishments
  • ISA is trending for growth, education and membership benefits while other personal property organizations are showing signs of weakness

Perhaps most importantly and after working with multiple organizations over the past five years, I strongly believe that ISA has now assumed the leadership role in our profession and is consistently setting new standards for other organizations to follow. ISA has been actively involved in The Appraisal Foundation and TAFAC for many years, now, should our application be accepted for January 1, 2014 we will be even more involved and active in setting the personal property appraisal agenda as sponsors of The Appraisal Foundation.

ISA has now become the organization to belong to for professional personal property appraisers. We are setting a high standard and have witnessed membership growth through new bridging opportunities and as new and existing appraisers are selecting ISA over other appraisal organizations. Our growth and future sustainability has a lot to do with new and positive perceptions of ISA.  Some tenured appraisers may not agree with the suggestion of ISA exceptionalism, but they may be dealing from “muscle memory” and resting on past accomplishments.  The trends of personal property organizations are changing, actually, the trends have changed and I believe ISA is the new leader for professional personal property organizations.

During my time on the ISA board, I have witnessed a remarkable and positive change in member attitudes toward our organization as well as perceptions of ISA from allied professionals.  I now observe many members wishing to get involved in our growth and development, praise the new logo, website, find an appraiser function and support the positive and progressive changes we have forged.  We now have allied professionals approaching ISA looking for joint opportunities and direct access to our members.  For proof of this, just look at the record number of sponsors and advertising from our last conference in Chicago.

The excitement and enthusiasm relayed to me from members at conference and other events such as the recently held FAE symposium has been nothing short of amazing and personally gratifying.  Attend conference and you will of course witness the great program, but beyond that you will see first-hand the “buzz in the room” as we welcome new members, award accomplishments, populate committees, and meet new members at social functions while networking with the best professional personal property appraisers.  Attend another organizations annual personal property conference and you will no doubt see a good program, but from my point of view the intangibles are just not there. Those intangibles are what separates an average conference from a great conference and an ordinary organization from a progressive organization such as ISA.

In closing, I encourage all members to promote ISA as the best and strongest appraisal organization with the best appraisal theory and methodology program available. Encourage fellow nonmembers to join ISA (if they are certified or senior at AAA or ASA mention our new and efficient bridging policy to the ISA AM level), inspire members to get on board and volunteer and become part of the positive growth we are now seeing in ISA.  Our short term goal, which is within reach, is to become a 1,000 member organization with a $1 million budget.  Help us work toward that goal.

It’s a new ISA, and as I have said in the past, it is a great time to be an ISA member. I thank the ISA Board of Directors, staff, committee chairs and members for their support and trust over the past several years.  I look forward to seeing everyone at Conference in Kansas City.

Best regards,

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Have you Registered?

Secure your place in an upcoming ISA fall course offering, by registering today!  All courses are being offered in Naperville, IL.

Requalification – October 18-19
Appraisal of Fine Arts – November 4-10

Information on the course location and preferred hotel is available on the ISA website.

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


This is a reminder to cast your vote for the 2014 Board of Directors!

In an effort to simplify the balloting process and make taking part in the ISA elections more convenient for the membership, the ISA Board of Directors Election is taking place online this year.  Only current ISA Members, Life Members, Accredited Members, and Certified Members in good standing are eligible to vote.

Qualified members who haven’t yet cast their votes will receive a reminder email today that will include your unique voter ID.  You’ll need this ID number to log into the ballot system.


There are five (5) candidates running for three (3) open positions:

-     Hughene Acheson, ISA AM
-     Marian Aubry, ISA CAPP
-     Ron Freeman, ISA CAPP
-     Steve Roach, ISA AM
-     Judy Settle, ISA AM

Thank you for your participation, and b
est of luck to each candidate!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Positive Changes Made Possible Thanks to Hundreds of Hours of Hard Work!

I am responding to the most recent Blog where the writer wrote about how much ISA has changed and is changing. Since I joined in 2008, I have noticed enormous changes all for the better. ISA has gone from being one of the three top appraisal organizations to the personal property appraisal organization of choice, with many member driven benefits and support.

 I would like to publicly thank all of the selfless hardworking and committed ISA members who have made the CHANGES in our organization possible. I say “selfless, hardworking, and committed ISA members” because without the hours and hours of volunteer efforts put forth by ordinary members who run successful businesses, have families and lives, and activities in other organizations, the changes we have all witnessed and enjoyed in the last five years wouldn’t have been possible. These changes haven’t happened because everyone “just didn’t do much –or haven’t done anything”.

So thank you -and you know who you are- (the list of names is much too long to list individually) for:
  • The many hours devoted to developing continuing educational opportunities for all ISA members through classes, webinars, the new online learning systems which are about to be launched, the very informative speakers that are booked for conference each year and special study opportunities. 
  • Three cheers for the volunteers on the Designation and Review Committee who help us to get our CAPP! 
  • A very special thank you to our members who serve on the Foundation for Appraisal Education and all they do to help support the educational needs of ISA. 
  • A big thank you to all of those involved with conference every year! What is essentially a fun and educational 3 day get-away for most of us, is a year- long gut wrenching planning event for a few. Conference attendees have no idea how much work goes into planning what seems like a seamless and wonderful event. There are thousands of moving parts - trust me. If you have never been to a conference, you are missing out on one of ISA’s best benefits! 
  • How about applause for all of those members who put in many hours of their spare time initiating programs that benefit all of us as members? In this last year we have seen a major overhaul of our ISA website, “Find an Appraiser”, a national advertising campaign that promotes ISA and its members to the public at large and target those who use appraisal services. Not only do we have professional ads now being placed in targeted media but we also have templates for members to customize and use in their own marketing. We also have a new program inviting major non-appraising businesses who are appraisal related to join our organization. This collaboration can only benefit all involved. 
  • What about our new mentoring program? Don’t you wish when you were starting out that you could mentor with a seasoned appraiser to learn the ropes? I don’t ever remember a time in ISA when there were so many initiatives being launched that directly benefited its members. 
So who is making all these great changes? It’s the ISA members who realize how much ISA has done for them as appraisers both in personal development and professionally with their businesses. It’s the members who appreciate the organization, want to say thank you and step up to the plate to take their turn at “paying back” and keeping our great momentum forward going.

So thank you to all of you who have made these changes possible! You know who you are. A big pat on the back for all the thankless hours that we all enjoy but sometimes forget to say THANK YOU!

Submitted By:
Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
ISA Board of Directors, Secretary and former Fine Art Chair

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It’s about time…..

When I agreed to head up the ARC at ISA, I was told, there really isn’t too much you have to do.”  I took “not having to do too much” to the next level and really haven’t done anything !!! I think that promise was really was a ploy to have a live body (me) head this committee...and so, here I am FINALLY reaching out to you, the ISA -ARC members. But many of you are probably thinking “IS SHE ALIVE?”

A little history….

            For many years, I took any and ALL antique seminars/classes that I could get my hands on.  My library is overflowing with scholarly books on antique porcelain and such.  I still have my wood blocks that the North Texas Chapter provided to the Identifying Wood class that I took several years ago which I would bring to my various appraisal sites trying to figure out whether that sideboard is oak or cherry!

            Recently, I was called in to a very prominent family’s home in my town in which the elderly mother was moving out of state to be closer to her family and the family was trying to decide what exactly what should go where. It had been awhile since I had seen such a collection of Period English and American antiques in place.


            And why?? Because I joined a co-op with 3 other women in which we buy and sell (mostly vintage) decorative objects and furniture.

And I realized that there was an entire century of  tchatckies and furniture that I had overlooked  and frankly disregarded while I was studying the world of antiques. And boy did I have to catch up!!There is a whole world of Geodes out there!! Who knew?? But seriously, I have had to do my homework to study the works of Adrian Pearsall and Milo Baughman.

            I don’t mean to have this blog be a blog about me. I think my point is there is always something to learn. My appraisal practice and my antiques business hasn’t gone down the commode if you will, I just appraise and sell different things. And I am OPEN to the change. And you should be too.

            In conclusion, as the Allstate man on TV says, you are in good hands. ISA is stronger and better than ever and we all should feel proud to be a part of a CHANGED and CHANGING organization. If you can relate to what I am saying please post or respond to me. If you disagree, well OK, post or respond to me. I look forward to hearing from you.

By: Martha Peck, ISA AM

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who We Are

“The International Society of Appraisers (ISA) is a not-for-profit, member-driven association, formed to support our member needs and serve the public by producing highly qualified and ethical appraisers who are recognized authorities in professional personal property appraising. Our members include many of the country's most respected independent appraisers, consultants, estate liquidators, auctioneers, gallery owners, and dealers.”

The quote above was taken from ISA website. We are dedicated professionals who have chosen to be trained and tested by a volunteer-based association which has matured into one of the most respected appraisal societies in the country. Many, many individuals have contributed countless hours to make this happen.

“Volunteer” is the key word. We volunteer for many reasons including wanting to help others. But let’s be honest, we also volunteer because we generally want something in return. ISA’s continued success depends on this need for wanting something in return. We exist to fill your desire for education, branding, credibility, professionalism, and numerous other reasons. It is a symbiotic relationship.

Our motivations to volunteer include a need to be involved, share a skill, network with our peers, recognition, and the satisfaction of helping ISA and its members by continually improving the organization. We want you to pose questions, give feedback and get involved.

ISA is composed of the Board of Directors, 14 committees, and 12 chapters. We also have the ISA Foundation for Appraisal Education. It is a not-for-profit volunteer organization formed to promote the advancement of education related to personal property appraising by providing scholarships to our members. This means there are numerous opportunities for you to contribute to your association. Everyone has a talent to share. Don’t feel you need to be asked to participate or that you are too new to ISA.

Also, I want to say thank you to each and every one of you for being involved even in the smallest way. I want to thank you for being a walker and not a talker. I want to thank you for giving time, which in our business, is often a precious commodity. I want to thank you for your continued membership and promoting our common goals within your business.

As a member for over 25 years I have been through many cycles in ISA. I must say I have never been more proud to be part of this association than I am today. ISA could not have the status it has acquired in the appraisal industry without you and your commitment to make ISA the appraisal organization of choice.

By: Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP