6 Top Organizations for Certified Fine Art Appraisers

Professional Organizations for Certified Personal Property and Art Appraisers

The Importance of Certification for Art Appraisers

Currently, personal property (and fine art) appraisers are not required by law to be regulated. The lack of oversight can lead to shady dealings, the trade of counterfeit works, and other questionable practices.

The importance of Appraisal Certification ensures that both the consumer (i.e. collector, estate) and the seller (dealer, appraiser) are protected in the business of art valuation and appraisal.

In order to avoid any regrettable decision when getting an artwork appraised, be sure to choose a certified appraiser from one of the main accrediting bodies in the United States: AAA, ASA and ISA. These bodies provide rigorous training for art appraisers, which lead to a certification for their accredited members.

Additionally, if you wish to work as an art appraiser, it is best to become certified and join one of the professional accrediting bodies listed here. Typically, art appraisers must take a training course and pass the exams in order to be accredited.

Here are the 6 Accredited Appraisals Organizations:

American Society of Appraisers (ASA)

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Established in 1936, the American Society of Appraisers is the oldest appraisal organization, with strict requirements for membership.

Appraisers who wish to join the ASA must pass the ASA Ethics Exam and the 15-hour USPAP course and exam.

Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA)

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Photo by Oli Scarff © Getty Images
Old Master paintings on view in Dulwich Picture Gallery, which celebrates its bicentenary on January 4, 2011 in London. England’s first public art gallery, was founded in 1811 by Sir Francis Bourgeois who bequeathed his collection of old master paintings. Photo by Oli Scarff © Getty Images

The ADAA service appraises art from the old masters to the contemporary for tax purposes.

To become a member of ADAA requires an invitation by ADAA's Board of Directors. Dealers who become members have "an established reputation for honesty, integrity and professionalism among their peers, and must make a substantial contribution to the cultural life of the community by offering works of high aesthetic quality, presenting worthwhile exhibitions and publishing scholarly catalogues."

Appraisers Association of America (AAA)

Appraising Art
Appraising art for legal issues. Photo Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The Appraisers Association of America’s certified members appraise fine arts, jewelry and personal property.

AAA membership includes over 700 appraisers, mainly independent, but some members have a gallery or auction house affiliation.

To become a member requires taking the NYU/SCPS Appraisal Studies Program or the AAA one. More

Appraisal Foundation (AF)

Old Masters
Old Masters works never go out of fashion. Raphael's drawing Head of a Muse offered at Christie's on December 4, 2009 in London. Photo © Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

The Appraisal Foundation was founded in 1987 as a not-for-profit educational organization.

Membership consists of non-profit organizations representing appraisers and users of appraisal services. Individual membership is not available.

One of AF's missions is to promote the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). More

The International Society of Appraisers (ISA)

Auctioneer Licensing, Photo Ryan McVay © Getty Images
To be an art auctioneer, certain countries and states require licensing in order to work in an art auction house. Photo Ryan McVay © Getty Images

The International Society of Appraisers (ISA) is a not-for-profit organization and membership includes appraisers, auctioneers, estate liquidators and art gallerists.

To gain membership, passing the Core Course in Appraisal Studies is required.

Private Art Dealers Association (PADA)

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images
An art dealer working at the Frieze London Art Fair which takes place in London's Regent's Park and runs from October 17 to 20, 2013. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Private Art Dealers Association (PADA) is an organization of sixty established art dealers who provide appraisals for charitable donations and estate tax.

Membership is by invitation only and is offered to art dealers who have been operating for a minimum of five years. Members include dealers whose expertise range from Old Masters to contemporary and Modern art.

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