The Case of the Sea Unicorn’s Tusk

narwhalOur Select specialists are often called in to assist in the valuation of some of the most esoteric items one can imagine. In this case, we were called in to appraise an item out of legend – the tusk of a “Sea Unicorn,” better known as a narwhal. In actuality, though they are endangered, narwhals are not creatures of fantasy like their storybook peer the unicorn. Continue reading

Great Works of Art or Great Forgery?

The highest price paid for a work of art was $250 million in 2011. Obviously, there’s a lot of money in selling art. Unfortunately this also means there is a lot of money in producing forgeries.

TheProcuress_1490391cOne notable forger sold $60 million worth of phony Vermeers to a slew of people throughout Europe before being caught. When it comes to appraising fine art even the experts can get duped and when they do, buyers pay too high a price.  Continue reading

How Much is that Card in the Window?

tradingcardblogAs the 2014 football season kicks off, collectors around the world are actively trading Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson logo patches cards, jerseys and other related memos. The unlikely Super Bowl champions hammered a crushing defeat to the favored Denver Broncos, 43 to 8. It was the largest point differential in 21 years. When it comes to sports, numbers matter. Where would sports be without its love affair with statistics? Continue reading

Valuing Artwork without Signatures: The Case of Maxfield Parrish

In determining the value of a painting, a number of factors must be considered, including the artist, provenance, the quality of work, period (date), and condition. In many instances we value paintings whose style and date of creation match those of well known artists though they lack signatures. School or Genre paintings are high quality works created in the same style of an artist but aren’t directly connected to them by signature or provenance. For example, many drawings in the market which cannot be attributed to Rembrandt yet have all the physical attributes of a Rembrandt are sold as “school of Rembrandt”. While an unsigned painting by a particular artist would have less value than a signed example by that very same artist, unsigned genre paintings do not command the highest prices in the marketplace.

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Identifying Picasso Prints and the Caution of Accepting Previous Appraisals

Enservio Select recently took on the task of appraising a Picasso print, which valued at $12,000.00 at claim intake. Measuring 11 ½” x 8 ½” from the Vollard Suite, the appraisal described the piece as an etching on paper titled Jeune Sculpteur Finissant un Platre by Pablo Picasso dated March 25, 1933, edition 186/340.

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19th Century French Paintings and the Principle of Identification

As appraisers, we cannot be authenticators; our role is to witness, identify, and value.   At times, to value a property we rely on the “Principle of Identification” if not enough information is readily available.   The Principle of Identification, defined by the American Society of Appraisers, states that “a genuine article has certain identifying characteristics, traits or marks.  If the identifying characteristics of a genuine article match the same characteristics as the subject property, the subject property is assumed to be genuine (The Appraisal of Personal Property, 1994, pg 14).”

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