Preparing for a remote appraisal

Remote appraisals are possible provided that you collect accurate descriptive data and take good, clear photographs. Follow the tips listed below.



1. Cancel the flash on your camera or smartphone. Make sure to focus. 

2. In addition to an overall shot take two or three detail photos. 

3. Photograph the signature and any other inscriptions, numbers or dates on the front. 

4. Photograph any labels or inscriptions on the reverse or backing of the artwork. 

5. Take photos of any documents such as original sales receipts, old appraisals, restoration reports, etc. 

6. Record the following information: 

— the artist’s full name 

— the title or a brief description of the artwork 

— date, if indicated 

— medium (oil painting, watercolour, serigraph, etching, etc.) 

— support (what the work is painted or printed on — canvas, paper, etc.) 

— size (height x width in inches or cm) 

— a brief description of the framing (wood, metal, glazed, gilded, carved, etc.) 

— a description of any damage such as tears, scrapes, stains, or fading     

— any information you have indicating the chain of ownership (provenance). Anecdotal information from family members also can be useful


Decorative Art Objects and Artifacts (furniture, ceramics, silver, glass, etc,) 

1. Take several photos from different angles. Remember to cancel the flash and focus on the object. 

2. Shoot details of any labels, manufacturer’s marks, inscriptions, signatures, hallmarks, etc. 

3. Take shots of any documents such as original sales receipts, appraisals, restoration reports, etc. 

4. Collect the following information: 

— the name of the item or what it is known as 

— manufacturer’s name and any style numbers, date, etc. 

— material or materials 

— size (height x width x depth) in cm or inches 

— a brief description of any visible damage or repairs 

— the chain of ownership (provenance) if known.


The information above should should allow you to pass on enough data for us to conduct a remote appraisal. Also, documenting and photographing your valuable personal property is useful for insurance coverage and claim purposes, regardless of whether you proceed with an appraisal or not. 

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