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Monday, December 22, 2014

Proud to Show Off

Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP
by Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP

I hope most of you have had the opportunity to check out A Guide to Appraising Fine Art, ISA’s new and improved manual for our Fine Art specialty course. Even though I am most definitely not an art appraiser, I have my very own copy, and have been reading through it. It is such a comprehensive guide to all aspects of art, including the prints we ARC appraisers see so much of. I believe even this stubborn old dog will learn something. It has already encouraged some of us to consider a few upgrades to the ARC manual.

A few years ago, many dedicated volunteers did a great job of updating the material in the manual. Everyone is still talking about their hard work and that of Kirsten Rabe Smolensky, ISA CAPP, who edited the entire manual. 

Because ISA has the advantage of using a print on demand publisher we are able to do another update to bring this manual up to the high bar set by the FA manual committee. Besides the branded ISA art on the cover, we will be including color photos and a few new chapters, including one on research skills. Our instructors, Micky Logan, ISA CAPP, Valerie Hale, ISA CAPP, and Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP, as well as Education Director Leon Castner, ISA CAPP, will be working on identifying lapses in content (Hey, I was one of the chapter authors and we can’t all be perfect all the time!) which will be addressed. Volunteer members will be working to make the changes to sections where they have superior knowledge. A few sections, such as the list of websites, will be excluded. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but Internet changes happen too quickly to be included in the print copy of the manual. An alternate list, which can be updated frequently, will be made available on the forum. 

Our organization is recognized as an industry leader in education due to the high standards of our educational offerings and supporting materials. Board members and staff are taking your ideas and turning them into more and better content. Some of our Affinity Business Partners have even offered webinars to our members, such as the one presented by Eli Wilner recently. We have plans to exchange webinar content with some of these partners. The ones we offer will educate their staffs on what ISA appraisers have to offer them and their clients. 

Speaking of good ideas from our members, if anyone, especially new ARC course graduates, have comments or suggestions for the manual update, please let me know. I’d welcome your emails to 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Growing and Propelling Your Appraisal Practice - Part 1: Time and Gatekeepers

By Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP, President

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of - Benjamin Franklin

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg,
ISA CAPP, President

Appraisers are adept number crunchers. Simple math tells us that if we multiplied the number of hours we are (or would like to be) appraising by the hourly fee we deserve, we'd all be flourishing. 

Professionals who provide an expert service: doctors, lawyers and appraisers, quickly find that achieving a meaningful credential and hanging out a shingle does not automatically drive business to our door. What we need to prosper is enough knowledgeable clients, who value our time and expertise and less time wasted attracting and convincing them.

Effectively identifying, cultivating and maintaining relationships with repeat sources of referrals is a key element of a strong business model for professional service providers. "Gatekeepers" who understand the unique service you provide, refer vetted clients who are more likely to be comfortable fairly compensating your time and expertise.  For appraisers, gatekeepers can be insurance brokers, financial planning professionals, attorneys, museum registrars and auction houses.

Positioning Your Credential and Unique Approach

It's important to "position" your services above less qualified appraisers. To do so, be clear in your messaging about what you are uniquely capable to offer clients of referral sources. Living in a large city provides more opportunities to attract and cultivate gatekeepers, but even the smallest rural town has at least one estate attorney and insurance broker, an antique shop or art gallery, and possibly even an auction house looking to refer out their insurance appraising to someone who will handle their clients professionally.

Help from ISA - Effective Marketing Tools
Existing, In Development and at Conference in Philly

ISA has invested time and resources to help members promote their practices more efficiently by providing a comprehensive array of professionally designed marketing materials. We hope these will assist member efforts to position our unique credential with prospective clients and gatekeepers. 

•    ISA Marketing Products: A broad range of customizable marketing products may be found on the Member Resources link on the Membership tab on our webpages. These include: A recent re-design of ARC and Fine Art versions of the “Be Certain of its Value” brochure, co-op ads, and an adaptable, 100+ slide PowerPoint presentation developed to support member speaking engagements.

•    ISA Webinars: Free ISA Webinars on business development can be found on our Learning Management Platform. They include: Jump Starting Your Appraisal Practice, Social Media for the Appraiser, and Internet Marketing Tools for the Appraiser. Go to:

•    From Your Fellow Members: ISA appraisers are the most generous in the industry.  Our unique collaborative culture pools a broad range of expertise in a spirit that is unparalleled. Consider reaching out to fellow members with similar skills or expertise for support on specific business questions, or post your question to the Forum. You will be amazed by the generous mentorship of our membership. On the flip side, if you have a business building strategy that has worked and would like to share with your ISA colleagues, please email me at We will be consolidating your suggestions for a future post. 

•    In Development: An ISA client-oriented Newsletter, focused on educational content of interest to gatekeepers and prospective and existing appraisal clients. Thought leadership positions you as an appraisal expert, and has the potential to be more effective in building credibility than direct promotion. Available by Conference, the ISA Client Newsletter will be customizable for your photograph, bio and contact information. Like other ISA promotional materials, the Newsletter will be available to print and mail, or convert to PDF and email, directly from our webpages. 

•    At Conference: Shelly Berman-Rubera Founder and President of Small Business Results, and a certified Small Business Coach, is presenting at our closing Brunch on Monday. Her presentation, Growing and Propelling Your Appraisal Business Revenue is specifically crafted for ISA members, and incorporates her 6 Step Program to Small Business Results, with ISA promotional materials. Shelly will offer creative, effective solutions to our unique promotional challenges, will offer time-saving practices and strategies, and promises to "rock your world' regarding how you currently think about growing your appraisal business.

Small business solutions expert Shelly Berman-Rubera has crafted a presentation specifically for ISA appraisers and will be presenting at Assets 2015. Don't miss this unique opportunity to propel your appraisal practice while learning time-efficient practices and strategies.

ISA's advanced methodology training and testing, coupled with a culture that encourages shared expertise has produced the most meaningful credential in the industry. Over the past several years ISA has been engaged in a directed campaign to raise the profile of the ISA appraiser and professionally position the ISA credential. We hope you find the tools we have developed to be effective in both obtaining fair compensation as well as fair market share.

This blog is one of a three-part series of ISA NOW posts on business development. Stay-tuned for Part 2: A Business Design for Appraisal Success, and Part 3: Unique Business Challenges for Appraisers and Underlying Opportunities. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Appraise the Stone, Not the Paper

By August Monteleone, ISA

The end of this article contains a response by grader, 
Paul Cassarino, ISA CAPP

In the diamond industry, there is an often-repeated adage, “Buy the stone, not the paper.” This refers to the fact that a diamond grading report does not tell you everything you need to know about a stone. More important, though, is the fact that some labs are more lenient on grading than others; to the point that consumers have filed several lawsuits against diamond sellers, citing deceptive practices.

One lab in question is EGL International whose reports have been de-listed by the Rapaport Diamond Network and Polygon Wholesale Jewelry Trading Network, two of the largest dealer-to-dealer diamond trading platforms (Rapaport also de-listed EGL-USA, a separate entity from EGL International, but Polygon did not). The major problem with the lax grading from some labs is the fact that they all use the terminology of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

When Talking about GIA terminology, what I’m referring to is the four C’s, as well as other information, like polish, symmetry and florescence. All of the reports use the GIA terms for color (or the D-Z scale), clarity - Flawless (FL) – Included 3 (I3). Though some include the clarity of Slightly Included 3 (SI3) – the GIA does not use this term. The Carat scale is the standard for weight then the cut (Only on rounds for GIA since about 2006), Polish and symmetry are communicated on a scale from Excellent to Poor and florescence is graded from None to Very Strong.

Since all of these labs use this terminology, you would think that a diamond graded as a D color by EGL International would be the same as a GIA graded stone when, in fact, that very same diamond was graded a G color by the GIA. *This example was taken from a 10 stone survey conducted by Rapaport news published in a June 2013 Article Grading the Graders by Avi Krawitz. In that survey, there were differences in every category listed above except for Carat weight, with variances of several grades on some samples.

The lawsuits that brought this issue to the public’s attention are against Genesis Diamonds in Tennessee. One case in particular involves the accompanying appraisal (though I use the term “appraisal” very loosely). In that case, the Plaintiff paid $21,293.00 for a ring ($3500.00 for setting and $17793.00 for the diamond) with an EGL International Graded 2.06ct. G color VS2 clarity diamond that was appraised by the seller for $27,500.00 (setting and diamond). The diamond was later graded by GIA and came back with a J color and SI2 clarity. This suit was settled out of court and records of the settlement are undisclosed.

These kinds of discrepancies from grading labs must be taken into account when doing an appraisal on diamond jewelry. Personally, I do not currently appraise diamonds or gemstones, even though I deal in them on a daily basis and have the competency to do so. The reason I do not appraise these items is because I have not yet finished my GIA classes. Until I obtain those credentials, I believe it leaves too much room for my valuations to be contested, which would be a disservice to my clients. The ISA has many competent and experienced jewelry appraisers among its membership. These professionals have spent countless hours and dollars on education and equipment in order to accurately appraise jewelry items. I strongly urge non-jewelry professionals to consult them when encountering fine jewelry in an appraisal assignment.

Sources and further reading:

Response from Paul Cassarino, ISA CAPP, and grader

The article is accurate. The additional information I would provide to appraisers reading this would be to not disregard the active market for EGL-graded diamonds. They are bought and sold every day.

If presented a diamond for appraisal that is accompanied by a diamond grading report from EGL, then the value research MUST be based on sales of EGL-graded diamonds. Because EGL labs are franchised, research MUST be done on diamonds graded by the very same franchise. Some franchises are regarded more positively than others. The diamond industry heavily discounts diamonds with EGL reports because of the widespread understanding of their often mis-use of the GIA grading standards. It is a serious mistake to value a diamond with EGL papers by research of GIA-graded diamonds. In the absence of adequate data for sales of diamonds graded by the same franchise, it is the appraiser's responsibility to grade the diamond according to their training and do their research based on those findings. (Just as they would if there were no documentation provided by the client.) They MUST disclose their findings within the report and explain their value methodology. Without being libelous, the appraiser can accurately reflect their methodology...their research of the EGL-graded diamond was based on the sales of (or price in the store of...) a similarly documented diamond i.e., diamonds graded by the same lab franchise.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ask Leon: Accredited or Full Member?

There seems to be some confusion over the terminology accreditation within ISA. Let’s explain.

There are three levels or tiers of membership credentials in our organization.

The first level is called “full membership.” This is when one has “graduated” from a candidate member by taking the core course, USPAP, and by submitting appropriate market information. Becoming a full member allows one to use the initials ISA after their name.

The second tier is the Accredited Member. This member has taken a specialty course and had their reports reviewed. (This can be through one of ISA’s specialty classes (FA/ARC) or through application with Specialty and Advanced Studies Committee.) This allows a member to use the initials ISA AM after their name (accredited member).

The third level is the Certified Member. This member has earned their CAPP by taking the CAPP exam and by having other reports graded by their peers through D & R (designation and Review Committee). It also includes an application detailing education, experience, and billable hours.

Each tier is, in a sense, a “credentialing” level. It marks the attainment of certain goals and standards, each of importance in our profession and to the public. The commission of these hallmarks and their use is strictly defined by our organization and not to be taken lightly. A full member may use the designation ISA, but they are not accredited. An accredited member is one designated as ISA AM. They are not certified. A certified member has fulfilled all the obligations and is both accredited and certified.

So be careful in your representation of membership level. We do not want to mislead the public or infer things that are not true. (It will also keep you from incurring ethics charges against misrepresentation of credential and membership level.)

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 ISA Education Round-Up and Dec. 15 Webinar

From a webinar on writing Broad Evidence Report appraisals to an on-site course on oriental rugs, ISA 2014 education covered the spectrum for personal property appraisers looking to advance their career. With over 511 students participating in ISA’s online or on-site courses in 2014 (an increase of 35% over 2013), we’re seeing how expanding our course offerings and adapting our course formats have made it easier than ever to progress in the personal property appraisal profession. 

Here’s a look at the 2014 numbers:
  • Total Number of Students (both online and on-site): 511 
  • Total Number of Distance Education Students: 23
  • Total Number of Online Core Course Students: 68
  • ISA Members going through CAPP Process: 19
  • Newest Members Who Earned CAPP Designation in 2014:
    • Laura Wallace, ISA CAPP
    •  Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP
    • Ruthie Winston, ISA CAPP
    • Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP
    • Miller Gaffney, ISA CAPP
  • Members Going Through the AM Process: 24
  • Members Who Earned AM Designation in 2014: 22
Looking to advance your career in 2015? View the upcoming ISA course schedule.

But before we close out 2014, ISA has a special educational opportunity for you…

Reclaiming a Masterpiece: Recreating the Original Frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware
Date: Dec. 15
Time: 12:00pm (noon) CST
Price: $50
Register Now

“Reclaiming a Masterpiece: Recreating the Original Frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware” is the first in a series of collaborative continuing education programs in development with our industry allies. Eli Wilner & Company have constructed this webinar specifically for ISA members. In keeping with ISA's unique educational approach, this webinar will marry scholarship to appraisal methodology, and values will be specifically covered.

Eli Wilner & Company is known today as the foremost American authority on period framing, and will be represented in this webinar by frame historian, Suzanne E. Smeaton. Founded by Eli Wilner in 1983, the gallery specializes in European and American frames from the 15th century to the present. Suzanne Smeaton is a pioneer of period frame study and scholarship through her more than 27 years with Eli Wilner & Company. She has worked extensively in the field of American period frames, written articles for publications such as The Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Magazine Antiques, Picture Framing Magazine and American Art, and has curated numerous museum frame exhibitions both individually and in concert with curators at many museums.

The webinar will discuss frame values by focusing on one of the company's largest and most recent projects, the stunning hand-carved and gilded replica of the lost original frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Issues that impact on value such as restoration and rarity will be included. Members will have the opportunity to engage Suzanne in Q&A following the live presentation. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ISA's Mentor Program

Karen S. Rabe, ISA CAPP
It has been over a year since ISA initiated our mentor program. This program enables our newest members and any member who is struggling through the CAPP process to reach out to an assigned, seasoned member for help.

ISA has close to 800 members. The word is out and we are growing. We have added 99 new members as of November. If you are one of those new members and are struggling to move through the accreditation process in ISA, please be aware that we are here to help you. Your assigned mentor can give you insight on their experience in dealing with questions you may have. Mentees are expected to initiate the communication with mentors they are assigned, as well as maintain the relationship for the length of time they wish. Both parties should make themselves available in a timely manner through a mutually agreed on method of communication. If you no longer require your mentor, please contact them and ISA HQ to let them know so we can reassign the mentor to a new individual.

Only appraisal-related questions should be asked. Here are some examples of questions which were asked of our mentors since inception of the program.

1.    How do I find comparable sales for a unique item?
2.    How do I deal with a difficult client?
3.    How do I market my appraisal business?
4.    How do I deal with a client who ignores my invoices and phone calls concerning them?

Being credentialed by ISA and having a CAPP can significantly boost your appraisal business. Let us help you achieve this goal. The IRS recommends using an appraiser who “has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization for demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property being appraised.” This is stated in Publication 561, page 10. ISA is one of these organizations. Consequently, tax advisors, attorneys, trust officers and clients are actively seeking only “qualified” appraisers.

We currently have 105 certified members. We are asking all willing certified members to become mentors to a CAPP candidate. This is a short term, fulfilling commitment. CAPP mentors can review reports prior to submission and point out errors, which if not found, would result in resubmission. We want you to succeed!

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP, summed up her experience as a mentor very well. “I found participating in the mentoring program extremely rewarding. Not only was I able to share knowledge I'd gained through the years from other senior and very generous appraisers, but I felt like I made a new friend and colleague through the process. I will definitely continue to participate in the program.”

I have personally helped many new members over the years and it has always been a very rewarding experience for me as well. Become a mentor or mentee by contacting our new ISA Membership Coordinator, Michelle VanAlstyne, at (312) 265-3750 or

Thank you to all who are currently volunteering to make this program successful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me by email or phone.


Karen S. Rabe, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ask Leon: What is correct in determining fair market value?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: The past three reports graded for D&R all used solely auction results for determining fair market value. The existence of a valid retail market was totally ignored. What is the current teaching of the concept in the core course?

Answer: The IRS definition of fair market value for an estate (Section 20.2031-1(b) adds the clarification that the determination should not be based on forced sales, markets other than that which such items are most commonly sold to the public, and takes into consideration the location of the item when appropriate. If items are most commonly sold to the public at auction then that would be the appropriate market. Many items, however, are sold in various markets. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to select the correct market and substantiate the value. Auctions are often used not because they are the most common market but because they are easy to locate and have published transactions. A dependence solely on auction sales is not correct. Where the most common market is retail every effort should be made to use those sales in the final determination. This is probably more likely in the fields of art and/or jewelry/gemstones than in normal used furniture and decorative art. Be aware that the IRS has written that even sales resulting from classified ads are acceptable.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What ISA Members are Saying about the Appraisal Profession

Steven R. Roach, ISA AM
Over the past several months, the ISA has been exploring ways to introduce our new online learning management system and the personal property appraisal profession to a broader audience. As part of that, we performed an informal poll of members on ISA’s LinkedIn group and had a rich discussion with participation from more than a dozen members.

The responses made clear that the appraisal profession is dynamic, and the reasons why people are seeking competent appraisers are changing. A larger theme that continues to emerge is that the downsizing of the Baby Boomer generation is shifting the intersection of supply and demand in the marketplace, which is impacting values that appraisers may place on an object. Continuing education on the part of the individual appraiser is more important than ever to keep up with these shifting trends.

Here are some of the takeaway points on some of the types of objects that appraisers are seeing more often:

  • Asian art continues to be a hot area for the appraisal market. Daphne L. Rosenzweig, ISA CAPP, said, “As an Asian art appraiser, I appreciate all the increased interest in Asian art appraisals!  Right now I have a flood of modern Japanese prints. Asian art appraisals - thriving field.”
  • However, members continue to be concerned with valuing ivory in light of laws limiting the ivory trade. Richard John Meliska, ISA AM, wrote, “Our recent ivory appraisals were pretty easy…zero value, regardless of age, content or provenance.” Rosenzweig added, “It’s not a time to appraise ivory (Client’s hate to be told this!)”
  • Midcentury modern objects continue to be the subject of more appraisals. Cindy Charleston Rosenberg, ISA CAPP, finds strong demand for appraisals of American regionalist painting.
  • Other areas that were noted as being particularly busy include sterling silver, art glass, rare coins, inherited furniture, collectibles (although, people are often disappointed to learn what the market value of their Lladro and Hummel figurines are in today’s market), musical instruments and Oriental rugs.
But why are people getting appraisals today and how does that impact appraiser business? Here are a few of the answers.

  • Many people are seeking fair, impartial guidance because they’re looking to sell their items. However, increased value requirements on the part of insurers are reducing insurance appraisals for some. Donna Einhorn, ISA AM, writes that while she’s finding fewer estate appraisals because of the high limit on value for tax requirements, other areas are providing opportunities. She’s finding additional work in charitable donations, divorce work and bankruptcies. Vicky Nash Shaw, ISA CAPP, explains, “Most of my clients now want valuations for resale, and of course, I see a lot of fine art. The insurance carriers are not requiring appraisals for most "stuff" now so the volume of insurance appraisals are down.” Thomas M. Helms, ISA CAPP, concurs, writing, “More collections, estimates for what an estate would garner at orderly liquidation value for the courts, jewelry especially for banks and fiduciaries. Less taxable estates this year.”
  • Appraisers continue to need to educate clients, especially in the legal and banking sectors, on how appraisers can help them and what a “qualified appraiser” is. Shaw notes, “As far as estate work goes, many executors and trustees only want appraisals completed for tax purposes; they don't realize the value of them for equitable distributions. Lots of upside marketing potential with insurance firms, especially the big ones!” Meliska adds, “We still get a lot of estate appraisals, although not necessarily for tax, but for ‘inventory’ by corporate fiduciaries and equitable distribution. We're seeing a lot of jewelry and silver for insurance. The need for ‘qualified appraisals’ done by ‘qualified appraisers’ in compliance with (something like) USPAP has grown tremendously.”
Finally, when asked why they would recommend the appraisal profession to a new appraiser, Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP, shared the sentiments of many when she said that appraising meant more than just money. She wrote, “What is important to me is not the money. What is important to me is staying busy with something I love and being able to work around other things I want to do ……because after all life is too short to ‘work for the man.’ I like working for ‘the woman’- she’s the best boss ever.”

It’s that independence, combined with being able to help people and work in a field that is ever-dynamic, that makes the personal property appraisal profession so attractive to new appraisers. The ISA continues to look for new ways to introduce people to the rewarding field of appraising.

Steven R. Roach, ISA AM

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Congratulations to course attendees!

ISA recently hosted a Live Online 7 Hour USPAP Course. Please join us in congratulating our course attendees on taking the necessary steps to maintain their education and ISA credentials!

Sept. 10-11 Attendees

Elodie Cardon, ISA
Pensacola, FL

Richard Casagrande, ISA AM
Ellinwood, KS

Michelle Castro, ISA
Dallas, TX

Elizabeth Dore, ISA
Glendale, AZ

Genae Fields, ISA CAPP
Houston, TX

Susan Gaze
Houston, TX

Judy Herman-Appelbaum
Sarasota, FL

Nancy Huff, ISA
Winter Haven, FL

William Irvin
Petersburg, VA

Brian Kathenes, ISA CAPP
Hope, NJ

Brenda Murray
Murfreesboro, TN

Shell Payton, ISA
Montgomery, AL

Natalie Ribkoff, ISA
Toronto, ON

David Sanders, ISA
Mobile, AL

Terry Stubbs, ISA
Abilene, TX

Shel Trost, ISA AM
McHenry, IL

Natalie Waechter
Chicago, IL

School is in session!

Make sure to take advantage of the many upcoming ISA Fall Courses:

Nov. 6-7: Oriental Rugs (Dallas, Tex)
Nov. 9-10: Requalification Course (Dallas, Tex)
Nov. 12, 13, 17-19: Live Online 15 HR Personal Property USPAP Course 
Dec. 2-4: Live Online Requalification Course 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Alternate Path to Accreditation

My guess is that you may never have heard of the Specialty and Advanced Studies Committee. And if you have, you probably aren’t sure of what it does.

It’s actually a committee that could be very important to you if you are an ISA member who has a specialty that does not fall within the boundaries of the Antiques & Residential Contents or Fine Arts courses. Or if you are a graduate gemologist, have completed the NAWCC Clock Appraisal course, are a seasoned/experienced professional in related areas or hold a graduate degree in decorative arts or fine arts.

A year ago, the board charged the committee to reorganize and expand the mission to provide a meaningful alternative way for these ISA members to advance to accreditation. The result is a specific, two-step process beginning with your letter to the committee requesting acceptance to follow this path to accreditation, accompanied by your CV/resume, transcript for your highest degree or relevant academic/professional education and a log of appraisal hours. The latter just became a requirement Sept. 1 to document your experience as an appraiser.

Once the committee accepts your application, you may be asked to submit a paper (possibly an article already written) if you do not have an ISA-recognized certificate in a specialty study or graduate degree prior to submitting your appraisal report. If your prior study meets this requirement, you will be asked for an insurance appraisal of five items in specific categories as directed by the committee. In both situations, your paper and/or report will be sent anonymously to three reviewers who are specialists or experts in your appraisal area. They have 45 days to report back to the committee which then considers their evaluations and either awards you your accreditation or requests a revision of your appraisal report. When the latter occurs, you receive a specific list of issues which need to be readdressed. The revised report will be vetted by one of the original reviewers before the committee makes its final decision.

It is NOT our goal to make it difficult for members to advance but rather to provide a meaningful experience that ensures you know how to apply your knowledge and appraisal methodology to arrive at your value conclusion and relay it succinctly and comprehensibly. It IS our goal to assist you in advancing your professional credentials, sharpening your skills, and becoming the best possible appraiser at this stage of your career.

Our Application Guide lays out the specific requirements in greater detail and can be accessed by contacting Catherine Toupin,, at the ISA Headquarters. All submissions go through Catherine, who will then assign your application a specific number by which you will be identified without revealing your identity to reviewers. I am also available if you have specific questions and can be reached at We hope that many of you will consider this path as appropriate and viable for your situation.

Francine Proulx, MS, ISA AM, ASA
ISA Specialty & Advanced Studies Committee

Monday, October 6, 2014

New Report Requirements


The ISA Board of Directors has approved the following new report requirements for our accreditation levels in ISA, effective as of Sept. 1, 2014. Those involved in the process of receiving their AM or CAPP designation will be allowed to finish under the old requirements, but any new applications will reflect these new guidelines.

Member Level: As part of the member level process that includes satisfactorily completing the Core Course for Appraisal Studies, each applicant must submit an appraisal for the intended use of a Federal (US/Canada) tax submission. This is done during the Core Course and must be passed as part of the course requirements. (This is our current requirement and does not change.)

AM LEVEL: As part of the AM process, each applicant must provide an insurance coverage appraisal that consists of five items in one’s specialty. For ARC, the list includes one from each of the following categories: silver, furniture, glass, ceramics, and textiles. For FA, the list includes one from each of the following: painting, sculpture, print, watercolor, and frame. The appraisals must be both USPAP and ISA compliant and demonstrate competency and expertise in the specialty areas. All other product areas must be submitted to the Specialty and Advanced Studies Committee (formerly Specialty Studies). They will provide guidance in terms of the five specific items. Applicants will have 45 days from the end of their specialty class (or application if in SASC) to submit their reports.

CAPP LEVEL: Candidates for CAPP must still sit for the CAPP exam and provide an appraisal report for Designation & Review grading. This report will be a Broad Evidence Report that requires the member to show competency in both methodology and product expertise. The applicant will choose three items in their specialty as if they were part of a claim. They will be asked to provide the following information: fair market value, replacement cost, salvage or scrap value, and loss on value. A specific scenario will be provided upon application. Time limitations will be similar to the AM level. (Please check the CAPP application packet for additional details.)

Notes: These new requirements were issued based on recommendations submitted by the Credentialing Task Force set up last winter. These changes will improve the level of our credentialing process and not duplicate requirements. Each member of ISA will have submitted a formal Federal appraisal for grading. Each AM member will have shown expertise in product knowledge application in an appraisal report done for replacement costs. The CAPP level will demonstrate a candidate’s proficiency in applying different appraisal objectives to the same property. These standards are clear, easy to implement, and provide more uniformity in grading. Guidelines and timelines will be provided to all applicants and graders.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Affinity Business Partner David Dike Fine Art Discusses the Emergence of the Texas Art Market

The art market, as a whole, does fluctuate, but within that market there are pockets of niche art for which the market has its own activity. David Dike recognized regional art when he started in the business in 1986. Upon traveling across the country to different art shows and fairs, David noticed that the art many dealers were handling was not exclusive to national and international names, rather painters that were regional to their areas; like the plein air painters of California or the Old Lyme paintings of Connecticut. This inspired David to research and focus on Texas regional artists. Artists that were active at the turn of the century to mid-century, creating works in the same style and period as other major nationally renowned artists. These Texas artists were studying at the Chicago Art Institute, The Art Students League of New York, or Shinnecock Summer School of Art.

Years after he started his gallery, David established the Texas Art Auction in 1996 from the support and encouragement of his Texas art collectors. This was the first ever fine art auction dedicated strictly to Texas art. The auction is still held annually and has produced records every year for Texas artists; helping in the growth and recognition of Texas art.

That being said, the Texas art market is still emerging and starting to be recognized on the national level. Some big names in Texas art you may start seeing at nationally recognized auctions are Julian Onderdonk, Robert Onderdonk, Paul Schumann, Edward Eisenlohr, Porfirio Salinas, Robert Wood, Dawson Dawson-Watson and Alexandre Hogue, to name a few of some of the great early Texas painters.

Texas also has its own cultural hubs from which artists grouped to create different areas/schools of art. San Antonio is one of the earliest for Texas historical and later impressionist painters. The Fort Worth Circle encompassed a group of avant-guard painters and printmakers in the mid-century. Dallas is another area where painters emerged and started different schools like the Frank Reaugh Club, Dallas Art Institute and later the teachers and students of Southern Methodist University art department. Founders of the art department at the University of Texas include a list of heavy hitters of artists who in the past five years are really making a mark and have increased in value.

San Antonio, at the turn of the Century through the 1940s/50s, was home to many of the Texas impressionist painters you will see at national auctions now. The best of which known is Julian Onderdonk who is most famous for his bluebonnet landscapes. Porfirio Salinas and Robert Wood are also known for their bluebonnet paintings. A soft rule of thumb… paintings with Texas subject matter by these artists seem to sell the best in Texas. Take a Robert Wood bluebonnet landscape to a gallery in California and it may not bring a premium; just as a Robert Wood Laguna Beach seascape may not sell at as high of a price in Texas as it could in California. It is important to recognize the value of these paintings within the appropriate market.

The Fort Worth Circle encompassed a number of avant-garde painters and printmakers who were generating a buzz in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The time following WWII marked a period when these artists desired to create unique abstractions using exaggerated colors, which reflects the artists’ observation of harmony around them. Some of these artists include Bror Utter, Bill Bomar, Cynthia Brants, George Grammer, David Brownlow, Kelly Fearing, Marjorie Johnson Lee and McKie Trotter. These artists are particularly hot at this very moment. The trend of mid-century modern home and furniture design seems to have filtered over to artwork as well. Collectors are recognizing this and starting to snatch up these mid-century modern paintings. The market for these artists is on the rise.

Dallas has had histories of different artists that are important. Some of these big names include Edward G. Eisenlohr, Franz Strahalm and Frank Reaugh. The Frank Reaugh School based in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas was a studio and base from which Reaugh would take a group of artists every summer on a tour of West Texas, where he and 10–12 students would paint plein air, primarily on boards with pastels. Frank Reaugh pastel paintings of the West Texas plains that capture the historic cattle herding era are quite valuable and can be in the mid-five figures; and David anticipates these values will hold.

Olin Travis was another early Dallas painter. He received some of his formal training as an artist at the Chicago Art Institute and the Broadmoor Academy. He would summer in Arkansas, where he started a summer school for artists to paint in the city of Cass. He later founded the Dallas Art Institute where many early Dallas painters got their start. The art department at Southern Methodist University is another school which included artists who studied and then later taught. These painters include Jerry Bywaters, Otis Dozier, DeForrest Judd and Ed Bearden. Founders of the art department at University of Texas in Austin include William Lester and Everett Spruce; who were also later known as part of the Dallas Nine.

Arguably, the group’s strongest works to date are their regional works from the 1930s. Like the American Regionalists, Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, the paintings were executed in a style that was tightly rendered with hard-edged forms reminiscent of the WPA mural paintings. Charles Umlauf also taught in the art department at UT Austin, and is one of the most important Texas sculptors.

The Texas art market continues to grow. The emergence of the Internet seems to help paintings find their way to David Dike Fine Art from places as far as Switzerland and Spain for example. An oil painting of a Texas landscape by the early Spanish and American, San Antonio artist Jose Arpa might be worth a couple hundred dollars in Spain; but once it returns, it could sell in Texas for upwards of several hundred thousand dollars. While the Internet makes the market seem universal, and the world smaller, it is important for niche and regional art to find its way home.

By: David Dike Fine Art, ISA Affinity Business Partner

About David Dike Fine Art: David Dike Fine Art specializes 19th and 20th century American and European paintings with an emphasis on the Texas Regionalists and Texas Landscape painters. The gallery provides a compilation of traditional and distinctive art for both new and mature collectors. 214-720-4044

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Advanced Training from ISA – How to Write a Broad Evidence Report

ISA’s Oct. 20 webinar on the broad evidence report is a perfect opportunity for ISA candidates for CAPP certification, as this type of report is now required for final peer review. But, don’t let that dissuade you if you’re not applying for CAPP certification. The one-hour, live webinar, explaining and clarifying the concept of the broad evidence rule, will be beneficial to all appraisers, regardless of previous experience in preparing complex broad evidence appraisals.

ISA Live Webinar: The Broad Evidence Report
6:00-7:00pm CT on Oct. 20
1 ISA Professional Development Credit
Members: $40.00   Non-members: $40.00
Presenter: Leon Castner, ISA CAPP
Register Now

What is the broad evidence rule? The broad evidence rule is used by insurance companies to determine the cash value to be paid out to the insured in the event of a claim. As opposed to using the traditional cash value (replacement cost minus depreciation), the broad evidence rule can take into account such factors as the age of the property, its tax value and any possible profits the item may have accrued. The broad evidence rule does not specify any one method to value any one piece of property, only that the means which most accurately display the true cash value of the property will be used.

Although a brief history of the concept will be stated during the webinar on Oct. 20, the presentation will be more pragmatic and provide suggestions as to how to perform the appraisal and how the report should be formatted. It will cover the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the process and seek to be clear, straightforward, and practical.

Following the presentation, there will be time for a Question and Answer session.

Monday, September 15, 2014

10 Reasons to Attend the ARC Course on Sept. 29

Here’s our second installment of our Top 10 Reasons to Attend an ISA Course. This time, it’s for the Antiques and Residential Contents (ARC) Course, coming up Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 in Naperville, Ill.

Ten Reasons to Attend the ARC Course
  1. Complete a required step for achieving Accredited Member status
  2. Learn how to recognize valuable items in many categories
  3. Make new business contacts and friends
  4. Earn 52 ISA Professional Development credits
  5. Get hands-on experience in a local antique shop
  6. Learn the lingo for describing different items
  7. Gain from others’ experience in classroom discussions
  8. Take the mystery out of furniture identification
  9. Enjoy great accommodations at the Marriott and NIU
  10. Broaden your competency areas
  11. Discover the latest trends and tips in this category through our recently added Lecture, “Trends and Tips for 2014/2015”
This is the time to expand your skills and set yourself up for greater success. Do it through ISA education. Register for the ARC course today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Board of Directors Election Results Announced!

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

Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP (Woodside, CA)

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP (Elkins Park, PA)

Fred Winer, ISA CAPP (Baltimore, MD)

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

Nini Hamalainen, ISA CAPP and Selma Paul, ISA CAPP will be retiring from the board in November. Continuing board members include: Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP; Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP; Steve Roach, ISA AM; Hughene Acheson, ISA AM; Marian Aubry, ISA CAPP; and Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP.

Perri and Fred will become officially seated at the next ISA Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 14 in Chicago. Officer elections will take place at that time, with results to be announced shortly thereafter.

Congratulations to Perri, Cindy and Fred!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Future Revisions to USPAP

The Appraisal Standards Board has issued their third exposure draft of proposed changes for the 2016-2017 edition of USPAP. Although the last thing on your mind is what might occur with USPAP in 2016, it does give rise to pondering issues that are sure to be significant in only a few years. Since the ASB is requesting comments on these proposals, I thought it might be wise to list a couple of them that might raise an eyebrow and even result in a few of members taking the time to put their thoughts on paper.
  • Changing the definition of an appraisal report to any communication of an appraisal or appraisal review to a client or authorized party that includes a signed certification. (Oral reports will still require the certification to be included in the workfile.) This will allow other correspondence sent between appraiser and client to be considered as preliminary and/or a “draft.”
  • Drafts must be clearly stated as “drafts” and that the opinions rendered are subject to change. They must not contain a signed certification. These communications must be kept on file or in file until superseded by the subsequent report.
  • Appraisal review reports may be exempt from the requirement to report the effective date of the review, unless it includes an assignment to value the property.
  • The ASB is suggesting retirement of ALL Statements on Appraisal Standards.
  • Any fees paid for the procurement of an assignment must be disclosed including referral fees or fees associated with a delivery system required by the client (a portal).
As you can see, revisions and issues never stop. These are only proposals, but this is the last draft for public comment. Go to for more information or to submit any personal comments.

Leon Castner, ISA CAPP

Monday, August 25, 2014

Don’t Fear the Fine Arts – 10 Reasons to Register for ISA’s Appraisal of Fine Art Course

Early bird registration
ends Monday, Sept. 1

Appraising fine art can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Whether you’re experienced in fine arts or completely unfamiliar with it, ISA’s Appraisal of Fine Art Course is the best way to quickly learn the terminology and research practices for these types of appraisals. After seven days of hands-on, interactive instruction, you will leave equipped with the skills you need to expand your appraisal practice and never fear the fine arts again. 

Here are 10 more reasons to enroll: 
  1. You don’t need prior knowledge. The new course has been re-imagined with an updated and expanded manual, focusing on how one approaches fine arts. It is no longer only for those with a fine arts degree or previous experience in museums and galleries. 
  2. You will learn how to talk the talk. Students will understand and adopt the vocabulary to properly describe art works, their condition and art conservation techniques. 
  3. You will get answers from the best. The inviting and interactive learning experience allows for an open dialogue between students and experienced instructors, Richard Casagrande, ISA CAPP; Cathy Peters, ISA CAPP; and Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP.
  4. You will explore connoisseurship. You will understand the specifics of the art collection world and how to identify the most prized works of art. 
  5. You will get hands-on experience. The course includes guided tours of the Art Institute of Chicago and a print workshop, where you will get up close and personal with print techniques and processes. 
  6. You will earn 52 ISA Professional Development Credits. Apply these credits to your requalification. 
  7. You will learn research skills applicable to your entire appraisal practice. The skills you learn while exploring fine art can be applied to any appraisal.
  8. Your course guide will prove a valuable manual for years to come. The new Guide to Appraising Fine Art manual is a stand-alone resource for all personal property appraisers, regardless of specialty or background.  
  9. You will eat for free. Breakfast and lunch will be provided every day of the 7-day course, excluding lunch on the final day.
  10. You won’t be limited in your appraisal practice. At some point in your career, you will be approached with a work of art to appraise. Now you can tackle the appraisal with confidence.

Whatever your specialty, ISA’s Appraisal of Fine Art course will give you the skills and best practices to perform any appraisal, not only those for fine arts. Take the next step in your appraisal practice and register today

Early bird registration deadline is Monday, Sept. 1. Course registration will close Friday, Sept. 5, at 11:59 pm CDT.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Congratulations to course attendees!

ISA recently hosted a Requalification Course in Naperville, IL. Please join us in congratulating our course attendees on taking the necessary steps to maintain their education and ISA credentials!

August 1-2 Requalification Course

Colleen Boyle, ISA
Wayne, PA

Andrea Boyles, ISA
Roswell, GA

Frederic Emmett, ISA AM
Miami, FL

Philip Hawkins, ISA
Atlanta, GA

William Irvin, ISA
Petersburg, VA

Jennie Kraehling, ISA
London, ON

Alyssa Loney, ISA
Carlisle, PA

Suzy McGrane – Hop, ISA CAPP
Cedar Rapids, IA

Natalie Ribkoff, ISA
Toronto, ON

Vicky Shaw, ISA CAPP
Townsville, NC

Natalie Waechter, ISA
Chicago, IL

Lynn Wesch, ISA
Marietta, GA

School is in session!
Make sure to take advantage of the many upcoming Fall Courses ISA is hosting in Naperville, IL:

September 15-21: Appraisal of Fine Art Course
September 29–October 4: Antiques and Residential Contents Course
October 6-12: Core Course in Appraisal Studies

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cast Your Vote by August 29

The ISA Board of Directors Election is underway. If you haven’t yet done so, now is the time to cast your vote.

This year, we have five candidates running for three open board positions in 2015 – all for a three-year term. Only current ISA Member, Accredited, and Certified Members in good standing are eligible to vote, so please check that your membership dues are up to date to ensure that your vote will be counted.
To place your vote: 

  1. Visit our online voting portal
  2. Verify your identify with your unique Voter ID, provided to you in two previous email announcements about the election
  3. Read statements from each candidate (provided next to candidate names)
  4. Select 0, 1, 2, or 3 candidates by clicking the corresponding checkboxes 
  5. Click on "Cast Your Ballot"

Remember to cast your vote by Aug. 29!

Thank you for your participation in this important process, and best of luck to each candidate!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ask Leon: What to do when people want you to appraise everything

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: I just finished the Core Course. I was at a party and I mentioned the class. Now people want me to appraise everything including stamps and rings. How on earth do I start appraising rings? (J.M.)

Answer: The short answer is that you only appraise what you are competent to appraise-no matter what class you took. However, we all have general specialties, either fine art, antiques & residential contents, gems & jewelry, etc. It’s the next step in the education and membership process. Take a specialty class! It will provide guidelines for many of the things you will encounter on a fairly regularly basis. However, classes do not take the place of hands-on experience, which one learns diving into things. In a sense, it’s like a Catch 22-if you recall the old Joseph Heller book. (You shouldn’t appraise items you’ve never done but you can’t get to the next step until you actually appraise them.)

Many of our members have a mentoring process and/or use interns and new appraisers. They assist the appraiser in physical examinations, research, and ancillary jobs that provide them training in items they may not be qualified to appraise on their own.

We learn by doing. Almost every job provides an opportunity to expand our expertise and broaden our specialty field and, yes, we often encounter items we haven’t seen. (The methodology you’ve learned usually applies across the board.) How else does one learn to skate or swim or ride a bike without attempting to do it?

Of course, I think one should be very careful about tackling a type of item they’ve never done before, particularly if it falls out of the general category of one’s background and interest. After all, we not only have ourselves to think about but our clients and third parties! (If our bike crashes they go down as well!)

To your particular question: Stamps are a paper collectible that are not the same as furniture, glass, or art. If you’ve never heard of a Scott’s number or a perforation, stay away. “Rings” could be anything, but in all probability involve precious metal and gemstones. Having no training in either leaves one up the creek without a paddle (and probably without a boat).

That’s why we love to network at ISA. We can often share our assignments with those who are competent. We can send emails and digital photos. We can ask questions and be the eyes and ears for others more qualified. As we share we begin to see the fruits of our labor. Our own expertise begins to grow and we develop a strong network of associates. The business pie gets bigger…and so does our slice.