Learn the Facts 
Before Considering an Online Appraisal

by Deborah Roberts

An online appraisal obtained from an "expert" without even leaving your living room? Sounds easy, and frankly too good to be true, doesn’t it? Such services are currently being offered from several sources via the Internet. However, before scanning that quilt photo and getting out your credit card, consider just what such an appraisal will do for you.

Can you imagine someone trying to appraise 
a quilt from a photograph or digital image?

Can you imagine someone trying to appraise from a photograph or digital image? It would be like looking at a quilt from the wrong end of a pair of binoculars and assigning it a value. From a photograph, one cannot tell age (extremely difficult with so many reproductions available) or type of fabrics, construction technique, quality of quilting and workmanship, overall condition, or other discretionary factors that might influence value.

With the advent of these "virtual appraisal" groups, there it is a concern that the unaware quilter or quilt collector may like the idea of obtaining a quick value on their piece, even though, the promoters of these appraisals make it very clear that the value assigned will only be an "informal" evaluation, meant to guide the object’s owner in the right direction. So, for their money, the information a client receives cannot be used for any purpose other than their own edification. Imagine spending from $19.95 to $30 and not having a document that you can use for insurance or IRS purposes?

... the value assigned will only be an "informal" evaluation ...

Most qualified and ethical appraisers, while they admit the idea is a viable one, are concerned that people will be spending their money on this type of appraisal; it would be like me telling someone in passing that their piece is worth $1,500. That value is worth the paper it is written on. <Grin> What can they do with it?

When a quilt appraisal is obtained from an appraiser certified by the American Quilter’s Society, the quilt is visually inspected, and the client receives a written, legal document that can be used for fair market, insurance, or IRS purposes. The cost is about the same as the online variety.

There is no doubt that an online appraisal is quick and easy, but when comparing the choice of "virtual" versus "the real thing", I think most of us would want to walk away with something we can use for our money.

 For more reading on "Internet Appraisals" read this article.

For more information on appraisals, see the webpage at http://quilt.com/appraiser. For the name of an appraiser near you, see the Professional Association of Appraisers-Quilted Textiles (PAAQT) web page at: http://www.quiltappraisers.org or telephone AQS at 1-800 626-5420.

Thanks to Deborah Roberts for contributing this article.

Bio: Deborah Roberts lives in Southern California and is an avid quilt historian, lecturer, teacher, and appraiser certified by the American Quilter’s Society. For more information on appraisals, or answers to appraisal FAQ’s, see her web page at http://quilt.com/appraiser