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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.

  • Verbal Appraisal Rate: We charge a courtesy in-store-only rate of $10/item for a simple verbal identification with a casual market value opinion. No documentation is provided with this level of service.
  • Written Appraisals: We charge our work at a flat rate of $165/hr. Depending on the level of complexity of the item(s) and the level of detail you require, each item can take as little as 20 minutes or as long as several hours. We’ll review the project with you in advance and provide estimates. Most importantly we’ll let you know in advance if we feel that the expense of an appraisal is unjustified. We’re not out to waste your money!
  • In Home Appraisals: We will gladly travel to your home, office, storage center, etc. to provide verbal or written appraisals, or any combination thereof. Note that our flat rate for this service is $165/hr. regardless of whether our appraisals are verbal or written (of course many verbal appraisals can be accomplished in an hour) and billing starts when we leave our shop in Pawtucket, RI and continues until we arrive back.
  • Via Email Appraisals: While never the very best alternative, we can usually complete a reasonably accurate appraisal via email if you are able to provide good photos and are able to answer some questions for us. We will always provide you with a quote first and payment is required via PayPal (or mailed-in check) before the final work product is delivered to you. If you are interested in this option, simply send us some photos via email and provide a brief description of your requirements. Send photos to: [email protected] and write Appraisal in the subject line.

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.