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Appraising Old Photos

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  • Appraising Old Photos

    In the course of restoration work, have any of you been asked to appraise the photos brought in? I am wondering if this might be a natural extension of the Restoration business--giving appraisals for insurance purposes, etc. Any thoughts on this? It might provide not only a slight increase in income, but by explaining the desirability of protecting the original and displaying a restored version, perhaps increase the work volumn. Tom

  • #2
    You might have something there Tom. It sure sounds like it has potential. My only concern would be if there were any questions about legal issues with it. To make appraisals would require a pretty good knowledge about the photo in question. You might be qualified to make such appraisals, but I wonder if anyone else on this site would be. Being qualified to make the appraisals would surely make you a professional in the public eye, which should lead to more business and a more profitable business.



    • #3

      I'd have to agree with Ed. Your knowledge of photos and photography as a whole seems fairly extensive, but wouldn't some legal issues could come from that?
      I have no knowledge of appraisals or anything about that particular discipline, but I think a little research into that field would definitely be in order.


      <looks for his coffee>


      • #4
        I would imagine there is some type of schooling you could get to get certification in this. I think you would need to contact someone in that line of business and see what the requirements are to make those kinds of appraisals. Tom, you are practically there already with you knowledge of photographic history. There are other factors such as condition of the photos and subject matter etc that would have to be learned and a study of that particular market and what photos have sold for. It may make an interesting extension to your business and you're practically there anyway. I on the other hand would have to start from scratch.


        • #5
          By way of some very fragmentary info: It appears that darn near anyone can set themselves up as an "Appraiser" of old photos; education and even in depth knowledge doesnot seem to apply. In fairness I must add that it appears to be sort of the same "can of worms" as calling ones self a "Financial Consultant". However, the key points which enter into a legal consideration appear to be: (1) Membership in some sort of society which deals with antique photography and (2) how long you have been doing work in this field. An Attorney friend I was following around and annoying, advised me to (1) talk quietly or I'd scare the Ducks, in which case he would shoot me, and (2) there is no hard and fast defination of what an "expert" is. To which he added that anyone wanting to appraise anything had better be knowledgable in IRS tax matters and the filing of forms, and probably seek Psychatric help. Seems that the "art" of appraising is a mine field best avoided, at least from my humble stand point! I would advise to stick to wrestling Wolverines--it sounds and probably is simpler and safer! Tom


          • #6
            It really boils down to opinion and guess work on what to appraise anything at. It usually is measured by what other items of that nature went for in auction. And so many variables to consider since each item is unique. It's a bigger can of worms than I would get into. I love the Antiques Roadshow but sometimes it amazes me how much they have to know about the items they are appraising. I know they have thier fields of expertise but still there can be a vast amount of knowledge in those seperate fields.


            • #7
              To get a feel for just how inconsistent the pricing of old photos is, try looking up a few sites that offer antique photos for sale. It's not even about content or condition--just whatever the market will bear and what someone is willing to pay...which brings up the spectre of liability again...with so much inconsistancy in pricing and the haste with which some folks run to the Lawyer cabinet and drag one out, it seems that reviewing the manner and place where folks store customers photos is a good thing to do on a regular basis. Tom