Although many collectors choose to insure their art, antiques and jewellery, many are unaware of the need for an up-to-date professional valuation of their collection and the processes involved.
The first step in the valuation process is to approach a reputable firm of valuers, one that is acceptable to the insurers, and ideally a company that is a member of a regulatory body such The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Once an appropriate firm has been chosen, the valuer will discuss the process with the client to determine their requirements. Each valuation needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis and the following points should be covered:
THE CLIENT’S REQUIREMENTS
- Establish exactly what is to be valued and the scale of the valuation work. Is there a need for a specialist consultant, for example an Asian Art or jewellery expert?
- The minimum threshold figure below which the insurer does not require a specific description and value. Single item limits on policies range from below £500 to £15,000 plus, depending if a general contents or specialist fine art and valuables policy is in place.
- Determine the level of valuation required. Typically this is the ‘Full Retail Replacement Value’, which is the price of replacing lost or damaged items with comparable objects from the retail market, i.e. an art gallery or antique dealer.
- The valuer should also discuss buying habits with the client. Do they generally buy from established galleries and dealers? Or do they purchase abroad, online, direct from auction or are their possessions inherited?
Once the requirements of the owner have been discussed and the level of value agreed, the valuer will visit the property in order to physically examine the items and to take photographs and measurements. The importance of handling objects
first-hand is paramount and essential in determining condition, quality, authenticity and age.
Whilst at the property, the valuer can also provide advice on security and risk assessment matters, restoration and conservation issues, as well as checking receipts and invoices relating to purchases.
VALUATION & RESEARCH
Research is a critical part of the valuation process and sourcing appropriate comparables is crucial to ensure that the correct value is applied, particularly for insurance valuations when a retail price is required. The internet has helped reduce research time as comparables can often be sought through retailer’s websites. In addition, online auction results sites, such at Artnet & Artprice, provide up-to-date market values.
Traditional methods of research are of course still important, with some information only accessible through libraries, archives and catalogue raisonnés. Provenance is also a key issue and can help to establish authenticity, and in some cases, increase value.
The costs of valuations are determined by the size of the operation, the time-scale, and expenses involved, although fees can vary widely so it’s worth asking for a quotation in advance. Generally, reputable valuers have an hourly, half-day or full day rate and will provide an accurate quotation prior to carrying out any work.
The art and antique valuer’s world is a fascinating one and we are privileged to handle some very fine, rare and valuable collections of art and antiques. Above all, communicating with the client and understanding the passions and tastes behind the collection will help the valuer to provide the right advice, and ultimately supply an accurate insurance valuation.
For more information on insurance valuations please contact:
Robert Coram James, MRICS
Article courtesy of AXA Art
For art valuations visit – Coram James