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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.