Tickets for 2015 Arizona PBS Arizona Collectibles are Available Now !

April 11 and April 12, 2015 – Bring your art, antiques or other kind of collectibles to Phoenix for evaluation by the appraisers on the show (Asian material, military items, gems and jewelry, antiques, American Indian arts, fine arts, books and manuscripts, toys)

Arizona Collectibles Tickets

Arizona Collectibles

Corinne Cain and Kateri Weiss will be there to help you discover the story behind your properties

Professional, Unbiased Eyes

True Story:

A gentleman here in Phoenix, Arizona viewed online auction offerings to be sold in California.

Condition reports for three of the items were not available until the day of the sale.

Nancy Martin, ASA, seasoned appraiser of antiques and decorative arts, was employed to view the property for description accuracy, condition observations and qualitative commentary.

  • Measurements were not accurate in all cases
  • Condition issues caused two of four items to be ruled out for potential purchase
  • Qualitative issues forced the elimination of the third item for potential acquisition
  • Martin’s experience guided the degree of bidding on the remaining item

Conclusion:  Martin’s fee was money well spent, benefiting hugely the potential purchaser.

A condition report from auction house arrived the morning of the sale, at which time the house representative wrote “All 3 are in overall good condition.”

Nancy Martin, ASA Antiques & Decorative Arts

To locate designated ASA appraisers in other parts of the country, American Society of Appraisers.

Donations are Really Trades

After hearing someone complain for the umpteenth time “It isn’t fair to have to pay for an appraisal, when I am giving something away!”

At first I agreed and then I rethought about her comment, after she asked what the alternatives were.

The alternatives are

  • donate the item and take under $500 as its fair market value, so an appraisal is not required
  • donate the item and take no deduction
  • give the item to your kids, provided its value does not exceed the maximum allowed per year non taxable
  • do nothing and it can be in your estate sale

These steps rejected, brought us back to the premise, paying money to have a professional set and defend the item’s value, in the course of giving something away.

Since the taxpayer is receiving a deduction toward their federal income tax responsibility, donating art is NOT a gift.  You are trading an object and the cost of an appraisal for a reduction in your tax burden.  Therefore your cost in this trade is what was paid for the item coupled with the cost of the appraisal.  In some cases the cost of the appraisal is a deductible expense.

Sometimes a more accurate perspective is helpful to digest one alternative in “gifting” appreciating property (artwork).

Since the Nixon papers, charities/ museums have been disqualified to pay for the appraisal.

Corinne Cain, ASA

Accredited Senior Appraiser/  Fine Arts & American Indian Arts

Do You Have Unauthorized Warhol Prints?

Celebrity screenprints as well as those from the Endangered Species series can wear the Warhol chop, but

if your print is not signed and editioned, it represents an illegitimate impression, one that dealers who worked with the artist prior to his death, insist would have fallen outside of Andy’s view of a limited edition print.

How these prints were spirited away from the Warhol Factory is anyone’s guess, but their financial standing is miniscule when compared to the value of the authorized versions of the same print.

Buying art can be extremely tricky, which is why it is wise to deal with an experienced dealer, one who will stand behind what they are selling.

Corinne Cain, ASA

Adequate Valuation Narrative

What is needed to explain why the value is the value in a competently prepared appraisal?

Personal property appraisers must demonstrate by explanation and when possible by photograph why the sale of another similar item supports the value of another (in their report, referred to as the subject property). Often comparable sales are named and then the appraiser clarifies a citation by explaining how the subject property compares to the “comparable sale example”. A sale could also be introduced that superficially appears to be similar in character, but in reality, is not due to a difference in the property’s characteristics or due to a difference in market level investigated.

compares by maker (same or different)
compares by medium (same, similar or different)
compares by dimensions (same, similar or different)
compares by subject matter (same, similar or different)
compares by style of execution (same, similar or different)
compares by year produced (same, similar or different)
compares by condition (same, similar or different)
compares by qualitative ranking (same, similar or different)

Qualitative ranking must be addressed, as painter X could paint a landscape, oil on canvas, the same size, in the same style that is in the same physical condition, in the same year as the subject property but one painting is consistent with the best landscapes produced by this artist, while another is strictly uninspired compositionally. Numerically one effort is a “10″, while another is limited to a “5″. A knowledgeable collector will pay more for a “10″, than a “5″. The value of the artist’s best work outstrips an example that is relatively mediocre.

The appraiser’s goal is to create a flow chart (in words and when possible, visually) to assist with the recognition that the value determination is logical and supportable and aligned with the date of valuation and the intended use of the valuation.

The day of the “trust me” document has been over for a very long time.

Corinne Cain, ASA
Accredited Senior Appraiser
Personal Property/ Fine Arts & American Indian Arts

Webinar Appraising American Indian Fine Arts

Dubbed “World Class” !!! 70 attendees indicated its content was well worth the time and money

Looking forward to creating a Power Point presentation titled “Purchasing American Indian Jewelry Intelligently“.

Corinne Cain, ASA
Accredited Senior Appraiser
American Society of Appraisers
Personal Property/ Fine Arts & American Indian Arts

Splendid Fine Art Appraiser’s Handbook !!!

This understated publication spells out succinctly what is expected from a competent Fine Art appraiser.

  • art handling, naming recommended tools
  • condition issues — what to look for
  • fine art terminology used in the descriptive process

Mature collectors can review this treatise to learn if the appraisals they’ve obtained in the past were properly carried out.  Curatorial people might want to be acquainted with what proper fine art appraisals are expected to contain.  Insurance company representatives may want to be sure high ticket artworks have been properly investigated. has copies for sale, as does Fraser Publishing based in New Hampshire

Judith is a fellow Accredited Senior Appraiser with a designation in Fine Arts and a very fine member of the appraiser community.

Price is $45

Corinne Cain, ASA  Accredited Senior Appraiser, Fine Arts & American Indian Arts

I’m Sorry !!!

I’m sorry the woman who called today purchased a painting  years ago for $50,000.

I’m sorry she didn’t know this artist’s work had been hyped aggressively by the seller.

I’m sorry she didn’t hire an appraiser BEFORE making the purchase, instead of a couple of years AFTER the sale.

The “Good Old Days” ???

A fine couple brought paintings to my office to learn how their values had changed, since having been valued in 1988. They brought the original appraisal with them.

I am not sure how the original appraiser would defend a value of $2,800 for an unsigned painting. 

Another painting had been linked to a generous value.  It was likewise unsigned, but the appraiser had misinterpretted some painted grasses as “E.E.”

Still another painting that was signed, its signature was misread.  Secondarily, the artist identified by the appraiser was not a painter.

The two best paintings were watercolor on paper.  I wish the appraiser had campaigned for the substitution of archival framing materials for the highly acidic boards used, resident now for an extra 23 years. 

The couple volunteered “The appraiser charged a percentage of value for their fee”. 

Initially egos were stroked by the lofty values.  Now the couple is elderly, expecting perhaps values could have increased from values identified over twenty ago, their hopes were somewhat dashed. 

Had they also paid insurance premiums based on these inappropriate values for over twenty years?   I did not have the courage to ask.

Professional appraisers do not currently charge for their services based on a percentage of the value of the property they appraise.

Corinne Cain, ASA    Accredited Senior Appraiser/ Fine Arts as well as American Indian Arts   American Society of Appraisers website  or 1800 ASA VALU  1 800 272 8258

Inferior vs Superior Fannie Nampeyo


 Had I not hefted this jar and touched its interior walls, a value would have been named that was approximately twice too high.  Fannie Nampeyo’s best work has consistently thin walls with a bottom proportional in thickness.  Also, upon close inspection slip application was relatively ragged especially in the red area, compared to the artist’s best work.

The above dramatizes an appraiser’s reluctance to gauge value based on photography. In this case photographs would not yield characteristics with critical value consequences. 

Appraisers want to be accurate, to provide good and reliable service. 

When possible, allow your appraiser to view the property in person.

Corinne Cain, ASA
Accredited Senior Appraiser
Personal Property/ Fine Arts & American Indian Arts

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