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Appraisals

With relevant college degrees and over 30 years of experience as qualified antiques appraisers, RIAM has helped thousands of folks with identification, authentication and valuation of everything from their investments and heirlooms to their mystery flea market finds. Whether you're seeking an appraisal for estate settlement, donation, insurance, liquidation, simple curiosity, or any other purpose, you can trust the experts at RIAM to provide you with accurate and unbiased information. Just so you know, we’ll never charge you based on the value of your items –We’ll always charge a flat fee that will be disclosed in advance.

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Scope of Services

As New England’s highest volume antiques shop (by a country mile), we have the privilege of seeing literally tens of thousands of antique, vintage and collectibles sales transactions per year in virtually every category imaginable, so we can really keep our fingers on the pulse of the market. Thus we are competent in virtually all areas of antiques and collectibles including fine art, precious metals, timepieces, coins, primitives, furniture, toys, modernism, textiles and countless others. While we appraise most jewelry items, we are not GIA certified gemologists so we do not appraise loose or ungraded precious stones. We can however subcontract that work to others with whom we have good relationships and can trust.

How It Works

Whenever possible it is best for us to be able to examine your objects in person. You can bring your item(s) into our shop by appointment or chance. Alternatively you can schedule an in-home appraisal for large or numerous pieces. Note that we charge for travel time. When neither coming into the shop nor having us visit is practical, we can still provide reasonably accurate results using photos via email or text. We will provide you with instructions on how and what to photograph, and you’ll need to be our “eyes, ears and noses” with regard to describing any flaws, loose joints, repairs or odors that cannot be captured in your photos.

Levels of Service

Not everyone needs the same level of appraisal service. Depending on the item and purpose of the appraisal, often times a simple verbal identification and value estimate will suffice, and is generally quite inexpensive. On the other hand, when using an appraisal for estate settlement, tax-deductible donation, or for use as collateral, a highly detailed appraisal – usually including a thorough written description and comparable sales research is called for.We are equally experienced in all such levels of service.

Types of Valuations

We find that most folks are unaware that no item has one single value, no matter the circumstances. In fact, valuations can vary widely depending on the purpose of the appraisal. There are (3) basic types of valuations:

  1. Insurance Value: This is the highest value of the three, and assumes that if your item is lost, stolen, or damaged that the insurance company will give you enough money to easily find a suitable replacement without needing to bargain hunt. Depending on the availability of such replacements, this value can be 2 to 3 times or more compared to what a normal market value might be.
  2. Market Value: This valuation attempts to predict what the item might bring in a retail setting if offered for a reasonable amount of time – say 60 to 90 days. We strive to take into account factors like local and national market conditions, demand, and relative desirability of your items in order to settle on the most accurate predictions.
  3. Orderly Liquidation Value (OLV): Not everyone has the time, resources, motivation or inclination to do what it takes to be able to sell their items at a retail price on their own. In these cases an OLV valuation is most predictive of what the item can be readily monetized for. Normal methodologies for this type of liquidation include auctions, estate sales, tag sales, Craig’s List and the like. Depending on market conditions for each item, the OLV could be as little as 5% to 10% of the item’s market value. A good example of this might be a specialized machine with only a few hard-to-find users worldwide. OLV’s rarely ever exceed 50% of market value unless they are made of precious metals in which case their scrap value is the strongest predictor.