Appraisal Basics – Using Specialists

Appraisers, Authenticators and Specialists

At WorthWise Art and Antiques Appraisers, we engage in rigorous due diligence to ensure the quality of your personal property appraisals. We identify your items and their most relevant value characteristics, research the markets in which it they are most commonly traded, and compile and analyze comparable items as appropriate given the intended use of the appraisal. Based on our training, experience and the accumulation of substantial, unbiased evidence about the item, we feel confident in the value conclusions we make for it.

In some rare situations, though, we may feel that obtaining the opinion of an authenticator or specialist may be necessary to confirm our value conclusions. We will recommend one when appropriate and coordinate their participation in the project for you.

But what roles do authenticators and specialists play in participating in an appraisal report?


The job of a professional authenticator is to determine and verify that an item of personal property is genuine or has an undisputed origin based on the scholarly application of past and present knowledge of the item’s identifying characteristics compared to those of a like kind. Using the services of an authenticator is sometimes necessary for items that are commonly faked, are of a very high value or where an authentication would have a dramatic impact on the item’s appraised value.


A specialist is any kind of advisor to the appraisal process who can help to identify (not necessarily authenticate!) and evaluate a unique item in your collection. They may be highly specialized appraisers, and/or they may be conservators, interpreters, signature analysts, authors, professors, museum curators, customs attorneys, cultural artifact experts, stolen art investigators. Or there may be subject matter experts such as gemologists, firearms specialists, farm equipment valuation experts or coin graders.

The services of authenticators and specialists, while often very valuable, are also often quite expensive and can add significant costs to the appraisal assignment. If we believe that the appraisal of your item warrants the additional services of such a person, we always consult with you before doing so. We then select the most appropriate person for your appraisal assignment and manage their activities as part of our commitment to providing you with quality, timely and cost-effective customer care.

“If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.“

~ Edward Hopper


“Certificates of Authenticity” can sometimes be quite helpful and legitimate sources in verifying the identify or authenticity of an item. Too often, though, they are used to make false, inappropriate or intentionally confusing claims!