Appraisal services

General appraisal information

There are different types of personal property and different types of appraisals. Since Insurance and estate requirements vary, the appraiser will first determine which items need to be appraised. With Specialty Appraisals you only pay for what you actually need.

The appraisal inventory is conducted by a certified personal property appraiser in the privacy of your home, business, or storage locker. A portable gem lab is used for jewelry appraisals. Your jewelry is weighed, measured, and graded while you watch. You do not need to leave it.

After the appraisal inventory is done, your items are thoroughly researched in the appropriate market. Your USPAP compliant document, along with digital images, is then mailed to you.

A few things to think about before you call a certified appraiser

  • Most home contents are already covered on a standard homeowner's policy without an appraisal. Your policy will have coverage limits on fine art, jewelry, silver, and high-end antiques. Your insurance agent can give you some guidance about what you should consider having appraised. It is always a good idea to talk to your insurance agent before you call a personal property appraiser.
  • For estates and probate, the IRS does not require you to have everything in the estate appraised. We can help you figure out what you really need to have done.

Donation appraisals

  • You do not need an appraisal for donations totaling less than $5,000.00 (fair market value, not retail value). You only need to fill out a form (8283) for anything over $500.00 (see below). Make sure you contact the charity (the donee) because donations between $500.00 and $5,000.00 requires the original signature of the charity. It's best to find out who will sign the form before you make the donation.
  • If you think the donation value may exceed $5,000.00, you will need an appraisal. In this case, we will provide the form 8283 with the appraiser's signature. You can then make arrangements for the charity to sign the form.
  • Contact the appraiser to have the inventory completed BEFORE YOU MAKE THE DONATION. You will have less chance of an audit if you do. Also, some things cannot be appraised from photographs.
  • Keep in mind that the date of the appraisal cannot precede the donation by more than 60 days. Sometimes, a little co-ordination between the client, the appraiser, and the charity will help to lay the proper ground-work for all concerned.
  • If you are not sure about the difference between retail replacement value and fair market value we have posted an article about it at AAA Publishing:

Values for Personal Property

Help with donation values and IRS reporting requirements

  • We have several sources to help with your donation appraisal. You can download the IRS form 8283 directly from the IRS web site. You can save the form to your computer, fill it in and print it off. Here is a link :

IRS.gov (form 8283)

  • This link will take you to the IRS publication that will help you determine values for donations. It's a long document. You might want to save it to your computer rather than printing it.

IRS.gov (publication 561)

  • Two good sources to find values for household contents are the Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Both publish on-line pricing guides. They provide a range of selling prices. Feel free to use the top of the range if your items are in good condition. If you want to spend some time, ebay sold items are also a good place to find values. Just print a copy for your records. Asking prices are not the same as sold prices so be sure to check the "sold" box on the left side of the menu.

Goodwill Donation Guide

Salvation Army Donation Guide

  • We do try to keep the links current. If you find that a link is broken, please use the contact us page to let us know.

Contact us for information about

Antique Appraisals
Antique Art Appraisals
Fine Art Appraisals
Antique Furniture Appraisals
Antique Jewelry Appraisals
Contemporary Jewelry Appraisals
Antique Silver Appraisals
Contemporary Silver Appraisals
Collectible and Vintage Item Appraisals
Household Content Appraisals
Piano Appraisals

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Your certified appraiser provides

Insurance Appraisals
Donation Appraisals
Estate Appraisals
Estate Planning Appraisals
Divorce Appraisals
Small Claims Appraisal
Expert Witness Testimony
Litigation Support 

Specialty Appraisals ©  2017

Online antique appraisals

While we typically appraise entire estates, we can often provide an antique appraisal online from your photographs for $35.00 per item.

Call toll free to talk about it. We can give you instructions about how to send us your photographs and a description of your item. 

This does not include fine art or fine jewelry appraisals, as it is almost always necessary to inspect these items in person.

We have spent considerable time providing sources and links on this web site to research your items yourself.   They can be found in the "Appraise it yourself" section of this web site. 

If requested, you will receive a signed copy of All About Antique Silver with International Hallmarks with a minimum of 2 hours inventory time from Specialty Appraisals.

Appraisal themed collectibles

  • 1776 horse receipt

    1776 Receipt for a bay mare, saddle, and bridle to be used by the Virginia Militia on the Cherokee Expedition. [Appraisal page 2] signed by Samuel Wilson

  • puck

    1883 Puck magazine, legislators as actors passing tariff and revenue reform, audience pelts them with cats, eggs, onions, turnips, and etc.

  • 1798 Appraisal

    1798 Appraisal of acreage for a land sale in Kentucky

  • 1864 auction ad

    1864 broadside auction advertisement

In the southern California (ca) area our primary service locations in Orange County, ca include: Orange, Ca, Anaheim, Ca, Huntington Beach, Ca, Irvine, Ca and surrounding cities. Our service locations in San Bernardino County, ca includes: San Bernardino, Ca, Chino Hills, Ca, Redlands, Ca, Riverside, Ca and nearby locations in the Coachella Valley like Palm Desert and Palm Springs. Our primary service locations in Los Angeles County, ca include: Los Angeles, Ca Encino, Ca, Woodland Hills, Ca and Glendale, Ca (also includes surrounding cities).Please feel free to call us about services in your area.

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