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Frequently asked questions about appraisals

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What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is an opinion of monetary value of a piece of property. An appraisal can be verbal, but typically it will be presented as a report. Appraisals may be required for a variety of purposes, such as insurance coverage or claims, charitable contributions, estate planning or the division of property. It is important to discuss with your appraiser the reason for your appraisal, as different purposes have different approaches.

What information do I need to provide to an appraiser?

The more information you can collect about the work, the better. A list of the works along with digital images and any details that you have such as the artist, date of the work, ownership history and any labels, inscriptions or signatures on the work can be helpful for the appraiser to do their job.

How do I find an appraiser for my artwork?

The field of fine art is very broad, so you want to find someone who is knowledgeable of the particular artist, style or period of the works that you looking to have appraised. Many commercial art dealers conduct appraisals. We would recommend that you start by looking for art dealers that specialize in the works that you need appraised. You can also look for qualified private appraisers that are affiliated with a professional association, such as the International Society of Appraisers or the American Society of Appraisers. In order to be a member of these associations, appraisers must meet specific requirements and have completed a minimum number of professional hours as a appraiser.

Does ADAC offer an appraisal service for individuals?

Unfortunately the ADAC does not facilitate appraisals for individuals, however we are happy to refer you to someone who may be able to assist. This could be an art dealer, fine art appraiser, or auction house depending on the artwork. You can learn more about getting a referral from ADAC here.

What if I do not know who the artist is, can ADAC identify the artist?

The ADAC does not offer an identification service and we are unable to conduct research or provide information on artists. ADAC does not inspect artwork.

What is authentication?

According to the International Society of Appraisers, to authenticate is to prove or verify that something is genuine, or has an undisputed origin. It proves that an item is the product of a specified person or manufacturer. Authentication uses knowledge, past and present, in relation to the identified characteristics of the property and the characteristics of known authentic work. Other things to keep in mind: Authentication is an opinion (and as such, can be subject to dispute); the weight of authenticity rests on the reputation of the expert; an appraisal is not an authentication.

Who can authenticate artwork?

Recognized experts. This could be an art dealer, curator, scholar, estate, family member, or the artist themselves. It really depends on the property. Some artists have official bodies who authenticate their work, such as Picasso. Few appraisers will authenticate, but some may depending on their area of expertise. The ADAC does not authenticate artwork.

Did we answer your question?

If you still have questions, send them to and we will do our best to answer them.

Art Dealers Association of Canada

1356 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario M6J 1Y2

Tel: 416.934.1583  |  Email:

Hours: Monday - Friday | 9am - 5pm

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