At John Brown's Antiques, Appraisals, and Estate Services we assist
our clients by appraising and documenting the values of tangible, non
real-estate, personal properties, such as, helping with the appraisal of
antique furniture and general household appraisals.  We offer precise
and accurate documentation that is thoroughly researched and above
all else, provides verifiable evidence to value.
Our clients request appraisals for the following reasons:

Determining Proper Insurance Coverage
Resolving Insurance Claims
Estate Planning and Settlements
Equitable Distributions
Prenuptial Agreements and Divorce Proceedings
Charitable Donations
Collateral Loans
Disaster Loss

The types of appraisals that we offer abide by USPAP
(Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice)
and include:

Appraisal Report

Restricted Appraisal Report
We offer the following:

100% Unbiased Valuations

Precise, Logical, and Verifiable Appraisal Documents

15 Years of Antique Dealing Experience

USPAP Compliant Appraisals

Member in good standing of the
International Society
of Appraisers (ISA)
We Appraise:

Antiques, Collectibles, Furniture,
Household Items, Decorative Arts, Sterling Silver, etc.
Your appraisal document is extremely important to us. This will be
your only legitimate proof of possession and to value and will
provide irrefutable evidence in the event of loss or damage if done
correctly by a qualified professional.

We service the entire Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio
Regions, we would be pleased to assist your needs anywhere within
a reasonable distance of Pittsburgh, PA or Youngstown, OH. We are
skilled and capable in the following: American and European country
and fine furniture including 18th, 19th, & 20th century forms, new
furniture appraisals, antique art glass dating from Victorian through
Mid Century, vintage collectibles, antique stoneware crocks, folk art,
primitives, sterling silver, 19th & 20th c. art...
Frequently Asked Questions...

How do I know if my appraiser is qualified?
What is USPAP?
What types of appraisals are offered?
What are formal appraisals used for?
Can you appraise my home and the land?
Will the different types of appraisals yield different values?
What methods do you use to establish values?
Are appraisals given "free of charge" legitimate?
Does an appraisal guarantee authenticity or a price that I can sell my item for?
Will you make offers to buy our antiques and collectibles?
How much does your company charge for it's services?
How will we be billed?
How long before I receive my formal appraisal?
What cities and areas will your firm travel to?

How do I know if my appraiser is qualified?

Unfortunately, there is no government entity or specific licensing board that has set qualifications for
minimum standards regarding professionals who hold themselves out to the public as qualified personal
property appraisers.

Unlike, real estate appraisers who must undergo formal in-class training, experience 1,000s of hours of on
the job training as a trainee under a recognized mentor, must pass a formal examination held under the
jurisdiction awarding the credential, and must uphold a valid state given appraisers license; none of these
rules apply to personal property appraisers.

To compensate, the industry does have some forms of self regulation. Most predominantly they come in
the form of credentials from appraisal associations. The largest of these regarding personal property are:

ISA (International Society of Appraisers)   
ASA (American Society of Appraisers)
AAA (American Association of Appraisers)

In the eyes of the IRS, a qualified appraiser is an individual who meets all the following requirements.
The individual either:

Has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization for
demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property being appraised, or

Has met certain minimum education and experience requirements. For real property, the appraiser must
be licensed or certified for the type of property being appraised in the state in which the property is
located. For property other than real property, the appraiser must have successfully completed college or
professional-level coursework relevant to the property being valued, must have at least 2 years of
experience in the trade or business of buying, selling, or valuing the type of property being valued, and
must fully describe in the appraisal his or her qualifying education and experience.

The individual regularly prepares appraisals for which he or she is paid.

The individual demonstrates verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property being
appraised. To do this, the appraiser can make a declaration in the appraisal that, because of his or her
background, experience, education, and membership in professional associations, he or she is qualified to
make appraisals of the type of property being valued.

The individual has not been prohibited from practicing before the IRS under section 330(c) of title 31 of the
United States Code at any time during the 3-year period ending on the date of the appraisal.

The individual is not an excluded individual. (Excluded individuals would be those with a direct interest in
the property)

The foremost credentials needed are expertise in the field and the understanding of USPAP protocol.
USPAP is the preferred method of drafting any formal appraisal for legal matters, insurance matters, or
regarding taxation.

What is USPAP?

USPAP is an acronym for the Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. It was created by the
Appraisal Foundation, which is Authorized by the Congress as the Source of Appraisal Standards and
Appraiser Qualifications, it is designed to be the ultimate source of appraisal standards, appraiser
qualifications and standards of ethical conduct in all valuation disciplines to assure public trust in the
valuation profession. For more information:

What types of appraisals are offered?

There are two USPAP appraisal types. Both are formal written documents but contain escalating levels of
detail and summary information.

Restricted Appraisal Report - Suitable for most insurance matters and estate uses  

Appraisal Report - Contains more detail, used for general estate issues, insurance, estate matters, also
litigation and taxation

What are formal appraisals used for?

A personal property appraisal is needed any time a non-biased definitive value is necessary. Instances

Insurance Coverages and Adjustments - What level of coverage will protect your assets and investments
Equitable Distribution - Generally dealing with fair compensations regarding estates or divorces
Charitable Donations - Taking advantage of tax write offs for gifts to qualified organizations
Collateral Loans - Securing loans using your fine art as collateral
Estate and Gift Taxes - To determine Fair Market Value as it relates to IRS specifications
Bankruptcies - An evaluation may be necessary for creditor imposed liquidations

Can you appraise my home and the land?

No. Our firm is not licensed for real properties. It is fairly safe to say that while real property appraisals and
personal property appraisals are related fields, they are almost always performed by different individuals.
The two fields require vastly different knowledge bases and skill sets.

Will the different types of appraisals yield different values?

Yes. That is why it is imperative for you and your appraiser to discuss what is the intended use of the
appraisal.  Depending on your need, we may be reporting Fair Market Value, Retail Replacement Value, or
Marketable Cash Values, among others.

Fair Market Value - Is defined as the price at which the property would change hands between a willing
buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable
knowledge of relevant facts. This may be the cost if you were purchasing from an auction house or similar

Retail Replacement Value - Would be the price that you would expect to pay for an item in it's natural retail
setting, being subject to price markups and other associated fees. This is typically the value used to
construct insurance coverages.

Marketable Cash Values - Most often used in equitable distributions and reflects what your net proceeds
would be on an item if sent to an auction after commissions and fees have been extracted.

What methods do you use to establish values?

The first tool is simply years of hands-on experience. Your appraiser needs to be familiar with the articles
they are appraising, they need to be able to judge quality, relative condition, rarity, and have a reasonable
ability to judge authenticity. Their previous encounters will help define which avenue to explore to further
pinpoint value. A personal library is a good starting point, and most qualified appraisers should have
numerous publications at their immediate disposal. More recently, various online databases now allow
appraisers to view actual hammer prices brought at all of the major auction houses. These are paid
subscription services that will charge your appraisers hundreds of dollars each month to subscribe to. It is
our opinion that any qualified personal property appraiser should have full access to these services,
despite their immense costs, to properly ascertain market values. We recommend at minimum:


It is also important to note that values are not static quantities, they are always in motion and are always
changing. Your appraiser should be actively involved with the trade, staying abreast of market fluctuations
and trends as they evolve.

Are appraisals given "free of charge" legitimate?

An appraisal given "free of charge", offered by an auction house or by a prospective purchaser is not
applicable for use with an insurance company, IRS, or any other legitimate professional use. These, by
nature, will have a bias incorporated into them and the values generally will be inflated or deflated
depending on the desires of the "appraiser". "Appraisals" of this nature should be considered
"Professional Opinions of Valuation".

Also, the price of an appraisal should never be calculated by a percentage of the value of your items, nor
should there ever be a "contingency" fee. You should beware anyone offering said services. You only want
to work with appraisers who charge by the hour, per diem (daily rate), or by the project.

Does an appraisal guarantee authenticity or a price that I can sell my item for?

No. An appraiser's role is not the same thing as an authenticator. That being said, if an appraiser finds
reasonable suspicion regarding the authenticity of a piece, it is their responsibility to disclose that fact and
assist the client in procuring a qualified authenticator to examine the item.

The values presented generally reflect best use and best markets. The appraiser you employ should be
able to cite similar items with verifiable prices attached to them that recently sold in the open market
between a willing and knowledgeable seller to a willing and knowledgeable buyer. Of course, market
conditions can and will change drastically even over short time periods. Just because item A sold for $x.xx
two months ago in a well publicized auction, no appraisal can guarantee that your piece will command an
identical sum one year from now.

How much does your company charge for it's services?

Formal written appraisals begin at $100 for the first hour and then $50 per hour for each additional hour
spent on-site plus $30 per hour for any research or report writing done in our office. If additional expenses
are required (as in the case of a forensic examination or subcontracting a field specialist), they will be at
the expense of the client, but no actions will be undertaken without the expressed approval of the client.

Our fees may vary slightly depending on the size and scope of the project and modest additional fees may
be applied for extended travel times. All will be discussed prior to the actual assignment. At minimum, there
will be a $100 charge for the initial on-premises visit, payable regardless of any other additional services
being rendered.

Will you make offers to buy our antiques and collectibles?

No, we most certainly will not, as we believe that would be a severe conflict of interest. While we are
actively buying and selling antiques and collectibles, we will not make any offers to buy from our clients
who are pursuing a formal appraisal. All of the items that we buy for resell have been purchased from
other antique dealers, at auction, or we have been contacted by individuals for the sole purpose of buying
outright without any implication or desire for an appraisal or professional opinion of value.

How will we be billed?

For most clients, we will be able to estimate the total billing time once we have arrived on site and surveyed
the items to be appraised. We expect a 50% deposit payable with check upon our initial visit. The
remainder will be payable upon receipt of your appraisal. Under no circumstances will any client not be
held liable for the remaining fees based solely on valuations they do not agree with.

How long before I receive my formal appraisal?

Unfortunately, there is not a definitive answer. At best, it will take a few weeks. Occasionally, some
appraisals simply by their mass or by their components may take substantially longer. These types of
questions can be discussed before entering into an agreement.

What cities and areas will your firm travel to?

We are located in Rochester, PA, which is about halfway between Pittsburgh, PA and Youngstown, OH.
The majority of our clients live within a 100 mile radius of our office.  

For questions on how to retain our services, please
click here
The service of generating formal written appraisals usually requires thorough on site
inspection with follow up research held in our office and in libraries, it may also include
collaboration with other professionals specializing in a particular field of study. Items are
examined, details are noted, pictures are taken, then your items are compared against items
with the most similar characteristics that have verified pricing associated with them, everything
is then published in a concise, readable, and logical layout. Your finished document is a
bound, printed report that is signed by the appraiser certifying it's contents. There are 3 types
of USPAP approved appraisals, they contain increasing levels of information which may or may
not be necessary to complete your goals. We can discuss whether a restricted use appraisal,
a summary appraisal, or a self-contained appraisal would be necessary/most appropriate for
your project.
A sample of one of our appraisals is available for download here.
Speak to an Appraiser, call (724) 761 - 6068