By Deborah Roberts
Are you considering having a quilt, quilted textile or garment appraised, or whether it even warrants appraisal? If not, imagine yourself in this quilt teacher/lecturer's shoes:
This woman (nameless to protect her privacy) shipped four quilts she used as class samples to the next location where she would be teaching. She properly insured them with the shipping company for a value that she had determined. The quilts never turned up at the teaching location, so she filed a claim against the shipper. In order to validate the value she claimed, the shipper's insurance company wanted verification of the value of the quilts. She didn't have anything to back her up, except for the cost of her materials, and that is what she was reimbursed for!
In many cases like this, an insurance company views the quilt as a 'blanket' and will reimburse the cost of replacing a 'blanket' (around $50.00). This is an unfortunate situation, and is avoidable if the value is substantiated with a written appraisal by an AQS-certified quilt appraiser.
Before seeking the opinion of a certified quilt appraiser, it's helpful to do a little homework. One thing you should know is the purpose of the appraisal. There are 3 types of quilt appraisals: insurance value, fair market value and donation value.
The most common reason for quilt appraisal is for insurance coverage. It is often difficult to recover from loss or damage to a quilt unless it is insured, and, as we saw above, there is independent verification of its value. Rarely is value doubted when an insurance agent is presented a written appraisal by a certified quilt appraiser.
The value given a quilt for insurance purposes is a 'replacement' value, based upon how much it would cost to replace the lost quilt with one of 'like and kind'. If you are having a quilt or garment insured, there are some questions you should ask your agent to ensure that you are sufficiently covered.
1. Does my homeowners policy provide 100% replacement value?
2. Are my quilts or quilted textiles covered while loaned, traveling to a conference, or during shipping, from both damage and loss?
3. Will my auto insurance cover my quilt and quilted textile while I am traveling?
4. Do I need a special rider to cover any of the above?
I would also suggest that you get all of your answers in writing.
Appraisals are also done for fair market value. This is the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller, both having knowledge. People wishing to sell a quilt will seek this kind of an appraisal. AQS-certified quilt appraisers stay current with the market including auction, gallery and private sales, to the best of their ability. It is important to remember that the fair market appraisal is an opinion and not a guarantee.
Tax donation appraisals are written for clients who desire to donate a piece for any reason to any type of organization, or to establish a value for an estate, often after a death.
The AQS appraisal is a written two-part form. One copy is for the client and the other is kept in the appraiser's files for not less than three years. The appraisal contains a description of the quilt, quilted textile or wearable art garment and includes pertinent information. The appraisal becomes the sole property of the item's owner and the information in it is confidential and cannot be revealed or used by the appraiser without specific and written consent of the client.
It is important to remember that economics and geography can affect an item's value, as can overall condition, quality of workmanship, repairs or restoration embellishments or enhancements, the item's history (also known as "provenance"), awards or publications.
In some instances, should a quilt or other quilted item be damaged or lost without an appraisal, a certified appraiser may provide an expert opinion regarding general value ranges of such quilts, based on verification of the item and the maker. This opinion may help in seeking compensation from an insurance company, but the general value range is usually less than the value of a quilt appraised prior to loss.
If you think of your quilts as more than blankets, you may want to make sure your insurance company sees it that way, too!
Deborah Roberts is a quilt appraiser certified by the American Quilters Society. You can reach her at QuiltEvals@aol.com or visit her website at http://quilt.com/appraiser.