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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Get Business Know-How from New ISA Toolbox

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! Some of us remember when there were EXTRA editions to the newspapers for extremely important newsworthy information.

The big news from ISA is that the ISA Means Business! Toolbox is officially here. We have listened to you, our members, requesting more business practice information. Whether you need direction in the legal, office, or promotional aspect of starting or fine-tuning your appraisal business, it is all addressed in our new Toolbox.

What you’ll find inside:
  • New Appraiser Resources, including our Guide to Launching an Appraisal Business and blog post on fantastic mobile apps

  • Marketing/Advertising Resources, including tips, member logos, advertising collateral, and much more

  • Templates, including a Client Intake form, Client Project Timeline and Research Log (found within the Guide to Launching an Appraisal Business)
Through blog posts, referral links, templates and more, the resources within the Toolbox will aid ISA members in operating efficient, effective businessesthey may be newly established and looking for help starting up, or they might be existing businesses looking to adopt the latest marketing and operational trends. Tips include software and office practice recommendations and solutions to real-life business concerns, including how to deal with competition and reach the gatekeepers.

We desire your feedback and encourage your comments. If you have more suggestions based on what has worked for you, or you would like submit your thoughts on a new app, template or the like, please let us know about it! The Toolbox will not remain stagnant. It will continue to be enhanced, and so will your business.

ISA Means Business! Toolbox is brought to you by the ISA Membership Retention Committee:

Board Liason: Marian Aubry, ISA CAPP
Committee Chair: Jan Robbins Durr, ISA CAPP
Members: Len de Rohan, Susan Eisen, Robin Braswell, Lottie Stevens, Charles Pharr, Susan Sturdivant, Beth Underhill

Monday, August 15, 2016

Foundation for Appraisal Education Seminar to Discuss Fakes and Forgeries, Sept. 23-24

Founded by the ISA in 2002 as the ISA Education Foundation, the Foundation for Appraisal Education (FAE) is a not-for-profit organization formed to promote the advancement of education related to personal property appraising.

Read their official press release below about their upcoming seminar on fakes and forgeries, offering ISA continuing education credits. 

Matthew S. Wilcox
Fakes and forgeries will be the topic of discussion at many of the talks planned for the 5th annual Foundation for Appraisal Education (FAE) Seminar, on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24, in the galleries of Freeman's Auctioneers & Appraisers, located at 1808 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Eighteen top experts will speak over the course of the two days.

"Fakes and forgeries have been around since antiquity," said Matthew S. Wilcox, Freeman's Vice President of Trusts and Estates, an FAE board member and host of this year's conference. But, Mr. Wilcox added, the problem really has gotten quite severe in recent years, as the art market has hit record prices and knock-offs have found their way into every market. Even a major international auction house illustrated what proved to be a fake Fernando Botero painting on the cover of a 1993 catalog. Evidently it fooled their specialists, as well as other experts, too."

Appraisers attending this year's conference will receive continuing education class credits, to remain in good standing with the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), based in Chicago, and with sister organizations like the Appraisers Association of America (AAA). As a fundraiser, the event's fees will benefit the ISA. "These organizations are critical to our field," Wilcox said.

Registration and continental breakfast will signal the start of both seminar days, at 8:00am Eastern time. The lectures will begin promptly at 9:00am, lasting 45 minutes each. Friday's first speaker will be Philip Zimmerman, Ph.D., an independent furniture historian (Why Fakes Matter – Authenticating American Furniture). He'll be followed at 9:45am by Eileen Kinsella, Senior Market Reporter for in New York (Online Auctions, Tall Tales and Fake Art).

Next up will be Christopher Storb, the Dietrich American Foundation Project Conservator for the Philadelphia Museum of Art (The Gentle Art: Faking Furniture in the 20th Century and Beyond); followed by Elle Shushan, a Philadelphia-based specialist and dealer in the field of portrait miniatures (Imposters: Faking Faces on Portrait Miniatures). That concludes the morning talks.

At 12:30pm a Lunch & Learn will feature Alasdair Nichol, a Vice Chairman of Freeman's and a guest on TV's Antiques Roadshow (Fake or Fortune). Then, at 1:45pm, art law expert Joshua Kaufman, Esq., of Venable LLP in Washington, D.C., will discuss Case Law For Art Fakes.

At 2:30pm, David Lindquist, owner of Whitehall at the Villa Antiques in Chapel Hill, N.C., will give a talk titled Catching Fakes, Frauds and Alterations by Samson. That will be followed by a coffee break at 3:15, then a seminar by Lisa Minardi, a Ph.D. candidate and Assistant Curator of the Wintherthur Museum in Wilmington, Del., titled Pennsylvania German Fraktur: From A-Z.

Friday's lecture series will conclude with a discussion of Pueblo Pottery and the Market: the Martinez Family, 1890-2016 by Katharine Fernstrom, Ph.D., a teacher at various Maryland colleges and a specialist in appraising Native American art for the market. The private visit to Independence Hall will follow that, led by Karie Diethorn, Chief Curator of Independence National Historical Park. The visit is tentatively planned for around 6 pm, or about that time.

Saturday's speaker series will kick off at 9:00am with Ronald Fuchs, Curator of Ceramics for The Reeves Center at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. (Most Dangerous Imitations: Chinese Export Porcelain Fakes from the First Half of the 20th Century). After that will be a seminar titled Examining Thomas Birch Prints, given by Donald H. Cresswell, Ph.D., proprietor of The Philadelphia Print Shop in Philadelphia, and a sometime expert on Antiques Roadshow.

At 11:00am, Robert Trent, a Delaware-based independent furniture historian will give a talk titled Connoisseurship in American Furniture. That will be followed by a lecture by Jennifer L. Maas, Ph.D., President of Scientific Analysis of Fine Art (What is Essential is Invisible to the Naked Eye: Scientific Evidence for Marriages, Fakes and Forgeries in the Fine and Decorative Arts).

The 12:30pm Lunch & Learn discussion will be presented by Adam Harris of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (Watches: Luxury or Lie). Then, at 1:45 pm, Irina Tarsis, Esq., the founder of the Center for Law Art in New York City, will give a presentation titled Knoedler on Trial: Lessons Learned From Lawsuits Against America's Oldest Art Gallery.

At 2:30 pm, Letitia Roberts, a New York-based independent ceramics scholar and advisor, will speak about Connoisseurship: In the Eye of the Beholder. A 3:15 coffee break will be followed by a lecture titled Embroidery: The Language of Art by Linda Eaton, a John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections and the Senior Curator of Textiles at the Winterthur Museum.

Saturday's wrap-up speaker will be Thomas Folk, Ph.D., a specialist in paintings, sculptures and decorative arts (Rising Prices – Art Deco Ceramic Sculpture by Waylande Gregory and the Cleveland School).

The registration fee for the seminar is $395 for both days ($220 of which is tax deductible); or $200 for one day. The deadline to register is Sept. 15. Learn more and register here.

You can also obtain a registration form by contacting Maureen Winer at or (410) 337-0085.

To fund these programs, the FAE accepts memorials and gifts from groups and individuals, as well as corporate donations and sponsorships. The group is headquartered at 201 West Lake Street (Ste. 214) in Chicago. To learn more about FAE, please visit Matthew S. Wilcox can be contacted at (215) 385-0726, or at

Monday, August 8, 2016

ASK AN INSTRUCTOR: I have a client who wants ‘estate sale or liquidation value’ of furniture and not a full appraisal report. I believe I know the answer, which is a full appraisal report needs to be completed under USPAP, but I wanted to clarify this with you.

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to ISA's instructors. One of ISA's instructors will share answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

I have a client who wants ‘estate sale or liquidation value’ of furniture and not a full appraisal report. I believe I know the answer, which is a full appraisal report needs to be completed under USPAP, but I wanted to clarify this with you.

Answer: The answer is slightly different than you thought. It hinges on the use of the word “full”. What one considers full may not be the same as another’s point of view. A “full” report is what one does every time they complete an assignment; you can’t do half of a report. I’m assuming the question really deals with the extent of the report. There are choices.

You could provide your client with a restricted appraisal report, one that simply states facts and does not summarize or expand upon them. This usually means the report is a little “leaner,” or not as exhaustive. It covers all the elements of the ISA report writing standard and the Standards of USPAP 7 and 8, but it is somewhat simpler, depending on the scope of work and what the client desires. However, a restricted report must not have a third party, so it could not be used for the IRS or an insurance claim or coverage (USPAP Advisory Opinion #11 provides an excellent chart of the differences between a Restricted Appraisal Report and an Appraisal Report).

Any opinion of value is considered an appraisal, but if you are an estate sale liquidator, you do have another option. You can put on your other hat (world’s greatest liquidator) and treat it as an estate sale situation providing your client with pre-sale estimates, just like auction pre-sale estimates. This would not be an appraisal report and is probably what your client wants or needs. However, you can only do that if you are indeed an estate sale liquidator or auctioneer. You must be very clear on which hat you are wearing and that your client does not perceive you as an appraiser. USPAP Advisory Opinion 21 covers this in detail. Valuation services done in other roles, not as an appraiser, are acceptable. Your obligation is not to misrepresent your role. This can be done through disclosure, notification, or careful distinction when speaking to the client. So perhaps the client is asking for something simpler which you might be able to accomplish.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

We Asked the Instructors

No matter where you are in your ISA career, there are courses to help you reach and maintain your credentialing goals.

The pathway is easy to follow, with many courses being offered onsite, online or by distance education. These ISA courses are taught by successful members who are excited to share their wisdom with you, regardless of your history with the organization. Whether you’re a new member or a veteran, we’re confident that there’s something in the lineup for you.

Luckily for us, the sharing doesn’t end when the instructors leave the classroom! This blog post explores some of the top tips, favorite courses and highlights of ISA membership for our instructors. Take a look at their answers, get to know our instructors better, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself inspired to sign-up for one of our upcoming courses this fall.

Why do you enjoy teaching for ISA?

Valerie Hale
"Early in my ISA education, I was supported by generous teachers and was awarded Foundation for Appraisal Education scholarships. It is an honor to pay it forward. Teaching inspires me to grow and expand my own knowledge." - Valerie Hale, Antiques and Residential Contents

"Students are always interested, ask good questions and have good senses of humor. It's stimulating for a teacher to have an active audience." - Ellen Amirkhan, Oriental Rugs

What benefit can a student expect from your course?

Daphne Rosenzweig, ISA CAPP
"Students learn about major aspects of Asian cultural, religious, technical, historical and period styles affecting appraisals of Asian Art. They will be able to appreciate some of the important marks, why the "feel" of objects is important, what is potentially important provenance information, how the presence of standard accompanying objects alters valuations and so much more." - Daphne Rosenzweig, ISA CAPP, Asian Art: Japanese Prints and Asian Paintings and Screens

What do you like best about the course you teach?

Kirsten Rabe Smolensky, ISA CAPP

"I love teaching methodology because it is at the heart of what every ISA appraiser does, regardless of their area of specialization. It is what ties us all together." - Kirsten Rabe Smolensky, ISA CAPP, Core Course and Requalification

Leon Castner, ISA CAPP
"Watching the 'light go off' in student's minds, i.e. they understand. I also love the interaction within the class, student's stories, and sharing tips I've learned that will make their professional journey easier." - Leon Castner, ISA CAPP, Core Course, USPAP and Requalification

What piece of advice would you like to give your students?

Susan Lahey, ISA AM
"Handle as many pieces of Asian Art as possible at auction previews. There is no substitute for the experience gained this way. Touch is often as important as sight when evaluating art. (This is great advice no matter what you're learning about.)" - Susan Lahey, ISA AM, Asian Art: Asian Ceramics

Mickey Logan, ISA CAPP
"Network with other appraisers through contacts you develop at conferences, classes and through the ISA forum. Recognize that you will never know everything and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be kind and tactful to your clients, especially to those to whom you have to deliver not so good news. Above all, be honest in all your dealings. Remember, your reputation is all you've got." - Mickey Logan, ISA CAPP, Core Course and Antiques and Residential Contents

What do you like about being an ISA member?

Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP
"I love ISA for the breadth and depth of knowledge available from a variety of educational platforms, as well as my fellow appraisers who are extraordinary at what they do." - Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP, Fine Art and Modernism: Prints, Photographs and Multiples

What was your favorite ISA course that you've taken?

Cathy Peters, ISA CAPP
"I really don't have a favorite. I've learned from them all. I think in another life, I was a perpetual student." - Cathy Peters, ISA CAPP, Fine Art and USPAP
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP

"Of course I’m partial to ARC but the course I’ve learned the most from is the Requalification course. I learn so much from the other students. You’re never too old or wise to make your reports better, even if you’ve been appraising a long time." - Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP, Antiques and Residential Contents

Don’t hesitate to contact the instructors and ask them your own questions. Almost everyone made the comment that there are no bad questions...sounds like an invitation to reach out to them!

For more information on these and other offerings from ISA, please visit our Education webpage.