It never ceases to amaze me how many items clients are unaware that they have important pieces in their homes/businesses/collections. Family lore often dictates what is and is not important to their descendants, while these “facts” frequently do not pan out to be true and items are missed that really need to be examined. It behooves all clients to spend the extra money to have your appraiser swing quickly through your entire home/business/collection at the beginning for a quick overview of what else exists, as we might recognize something that has potential value that family lore does not address in any way. It is not uncommon for the most important pieces to be completely missed by clients.
When we do notice something that has not been brought to our attention by the client, it is very common to hear the client say things like, “oh, that old thing has been in the family forever and no one ever said anything about it being valuable/important/historical/etc.” I may not know details about everything in someone’s home, that would be impossible, however, I know enough to be dangerous and can call on colleagues to look at things I think might be relevant to the clients evaluation work. So, the lesson for the client is, always tell your appraiser that you want them to do a quick circuit around the home/business/etc. to make sure you have not missed something obvious, we will be very happy to know you trust our opinions and are humble enough to admit you might have missed something.
Still not sure if you should spend the extra money on making sure nothing has been missed, read this story about an amazing Chinese porcelain find, which, without expert help would have been missed!
Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.
This image comes from the above article in the New York Times.