Choosing a good appraiser can be tricky. The truth is, anyone claiming to appraise personal property can do it...legally. At least until the end of the year. At that time, the IRS is going to require all appraisers to take USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice). Until now, it was only highly recommended. So, when choosing an appraiser ask them if they have taken USPAP. Beyond that, finding a qualified appraiser is up to you. Here are a list of questions to ask:
1.) What sort of background do you have in art? (a degree in art is nice or years of gallery experience or auction experience)
2.) Did you attend appraisal school? (I went to NYU and got a certificate in Personal Property Appraisal...this is the recommended course by the Appraisers Association of America but there are some other good ones out there)
3.) Are you a member of an appraisal society?
Number three is very important because memberships in appraisal societies indicate that the appraiser has been held to a certain standard. They have had to take tests, submit appraisal reports or both. It also indicates that they are up-to-date on what is going on in the appraisal world i.e. changes to the law (just this year the IRS changed some of the guidelines for donation appraisals) I am a member of the Appraisers Association of America (www.appraisersassoc.org).