Cowan’s provides thorough, accurate and confidential evaluations of personal and institutional property. We work with private clients, law firms, banks, estate executors and other professionals to provide appraisal and auction services for single items, collections and entire households. Our USPAP-complaint experts can appraise most items; we call on other specialists as needed.
Appraisal vs. Auction Estimate
An appraisal is a written document that provides a qualified expert’s opinion of the value of an item or collection of items. Appraisals are typically required for insurance, estate, tax or other legal purposes. An auction estimate is a range at which your item might sell at auction under current market conditions.
If you don’t need a formal appraisal – and just want to know what Cowan’s specialists think your property would sell for at auction – we’ll be glad to give you a verbal auction estimate to help you with your planning. There is no charge for this service and no obligation to consign your property with Cowan’s. We hold monthly valuation events in our Cincinnati and Cleveland galleries.
The Appraisal Process
First, we conduct a preliminary evaluation to understand the scope of the work. Next, we send a proposal. Cowan’s appraisal fees are determined by the time required for evaluation, research and write-up, and the number of appraisers required.
Cowan’s appraisals follow USPAP guidelines. USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) is recognized as the ethical and performance standard for the appraisal profession in the United States. USPAP-complaint appraisers adhere to specific content and format guidelines in order to deliver unbiased and accurate assessments of value.
A simple appraisal may include a list of items with an inventory number, name, photograph and value of each item. More complex appraisal documents can include additional information such as medium, size, origin, history and provenance.
The market for art, antiques and collectibles has been volatile for the past few years. Some categories are significantly up; others are down. An appraisal that is more than two years old may no longer be relevant. We are happy to update our appraisals for a nominal fee.