There are several reasons that a person may want to have their antique furniture appraised. Each requires a different type of appraisal and each may give the piece a different value.
When you have your antiques evaluated for insurance purposes, you will need to hire a professional appraiser. He will identify your antique, take pictures, examine your item, and do a variety of comparisons. The appraiser will consider all aspects of your item including:
He will then try to find similar items and the prices that they fetched at auction or the value given to them by dealers and other appraisers. After he collects all the information possible, he will assign a replacement value to your item based on what it would cost to actually replace it.
Generally the replacement value will be the highest value given to an antique. You should get a printed record of the value and how the piece was evaluated as well as pictures of your antique. It is important to keep this appraisal and the images in a safe place like a safety deposit box in case of fire or flood.
Appraisal for Fair Market Value
Fair market value is the price that a buyer and seller agree on based on their own appraisal of the item. Generally an antique dealer will base his price on his knowledge of the market, the condition of the item, and what he has paid for it. This value is usually not fixed and you can often bargain for a better price.
Appraisal for Estate or Tax Value
When you inherit an item the IRS may want an appraisal done. This appraisal will be based on how similar items have been evaluated, as well as common auction prices.