The key to acceptability of the values or opinions stated in an appraisal by the party to whom they are submitted are the credentials and background of the appraiser. It is a simple matter to find anyone with the slightest knowledge of guns and have them write an evaluation, pulling figures out of the air so to speak; all that is needed is a typewriter and paper.
However, the collector should well understand and remember that those evaluations are subject to review by quite a few official parties before acceptability and that one of the major features scrutinized is the credentials of the appraiser; his experience within the field of guns (not merely a general antiques appraiser) and his reputation are principal factors.
Major appraisers associations are able to furnish lists of recognized experts whose specialty is firearms. A number of well-known dealers in the antique arms field are quite well qualified and handle evaluations as part of their normal business routine. Appraisal fees vary considerably and are dependent upon the qualifications and credentials of the appraiser, his expertise and professional affiliations, and, of course, his location.
Fees are often based upon hourly and daily rates or on a flat rate based on quantity involved. The common practice of charging a percentage of the appraised value of the item or collection is looked upon unfavorably. It is no longer in use by most major auction houses and is actually forbidden in the bylaws of some major appraisers’ associations.
This article is an excerpt from Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms. Click here to learn more.
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