The Philadelphia Print Shop West offers formal appraisals, less formal, e-mail appraisals (POVs), and ball-park valuations of antique prints, maps and related books. These appraisals serve different purposes, as explained below.
The cost of appraising an antique print, map or related book is sometimes not warranted either by the needs of the owner or by the value of the item in question. If upon initial examination of an item we discover that the value (or lack thereof) of the item would make it financially unsuitable to pay for an appraisal, we will inform you of this at no charge. If you are unsure whether an appraisal would be appropriate for your needs, read our comments below.
There are many reasons why someone wants to know the value of a print. Some of these warrant the expense of an appraisal, either formal or e-mail, and some do not.
- It would be nice if one could obtain free appraisals, but it would also be nice to get free medical examinations or legal advice. If you are just curious, consider spending some effort and pursuing the alternatives to getting an appraisal. If you still want us to give you a general idea of the value of the item, an e-mail appraisal (POV) or a ballpark valuation might be appropriate.
- Knowing whether to sell the item
- If you are unsure whether you might want to sell the item in question, there is no charge for getting an offer from us. However, it is fair to ask for an offer only if you honestly might sell the item and you need to remember that an offer indicates what the item is worth to us, not what it would sell for on a retail basis. We can explain our reasoning, but this is still a wholesale, not retail value. As a word of advice, it is not usually cost-effective to have an appraisal before offering an item for sale. First, you might not gain enough advantage from the appraisal to recover its cost. Secondly, even if you ask for an appraisal indicating a wholesale price, each dealer figures wholesale prices differently depending on the nature of their business, their needs, cash flow, etc. Thus it is very difficult to come up with a wholesale price that would apply to a general range of dealers.
- Finally, if you get an appraisal you may be eliminating one of your best options for selling the item in question. In order to receive a good appraisal, you should have it done by an expert in the field. However, this expert would likely be one of the potential buyers for the item and when a dealer performs an appraisal, then that dealer should not subsequently make an offer for the item. This would be an unethical conflict of interest. So, if we were to do an appraisal for you, we could not also make an offer for the item in question.
- Knowing how to treat the item
- If you are unsure whether your print, map or book should have special handling or framing, etc., we are happy to advise you in this matter at no charge. We are also quite willing, where we can, to provide a “ballpark valuation.” As noted below, however, this is not a real appraisal, but rather just a comment on the general “ball-park” range your item falls into. If you still want an approximate value, an e-mail appraisal (POV) may be appropriate.
- Estate or tax matters
- These are the most common reasons for obtaining a formal appraisal. If upon initial examination we determine that your item does not warrant such an appraisal, we will inform you of this at no charge.
- Depending on the value of the item(s) in question and the nature of your policy, your insurance company may or may not require a formal appraisal. A less formal, e-mail appraisal (POV) will sometimes suffice for insurance needs.
A formal appraisal is appropriate for most legal and insurance purposes. It includes a first-hand examination of the item(s), extensive research, a full written description and an appraised value.
We charge $250 per hour for research and production of a formal document that can be used for legal purposes such as insurance, estates, gifts, etc. Added to the above are any necessary travel expenses, calculated at .50 per mile if driving or ticket prices if on a common carrier, as well as $50 per hour travel time (maximum is 8 hours per day).
Please contact us for further information. Please do not send digital images without contacting us first.
Where a formal appraisal is not warranted, or where it is difficult to have us physically examine the item(s) in question, a less formal, email appraisal may be appropriate. As this procedure does not follow the accepted appraisal standards, many appraisers prefer to call this a “professional opinion of value” (POV). We charge $45 per item for a POV. A POV is good for those who desire a rough idea of the value of an item, but do not want to pay for a full appraisal. A POV is not for legal matters (such as estates, donations, etc.), but can help you decide how to treat an item for the purposes of selling it, framing it, restoring it, insuring it, and so forth.
What you get with a POV is our considered opinion of the value of the item in question, based upon your description and photographs. You get neither research nor a full description, and we do not provide a professional statement of the appraised worth of your item. What you do get is a considered statement of our opinion what such items sell for based on our many years of experience as one of the leading print and map dealers in the world.
For further information or to order a POV, click here.
Many want to know the ‘ballpark’ value of their map or print, but do not want to pay for an appraisal. We certainly understand this, but as professional appraisers we cannot give out values at no charge. Therefore, we have set up some ‘ballpark’ categories of prints which we can use to provide at least some information on your items without charging. These categories do not include a dollar value, but give a general sense of the ‘valuation’ of the item in question. In many cases this will be sufficient; if it is not, then please read about our formal appraisals and POVs.
If you would like a ballpark valuation, please feel free to contact us. Please do not send digital images without contacting us first.
There are two main ways to find values besides paying for an appraisal. Both of these require an effort on your part, but other than your time they don’t cost anything.
- Look on-line
- If you browse our on-line gallery (and of course, other on-line galleries), you may be able to find items similar to that for which you are seeking a value. Though issues of state, edition, condition, etc. do affect values, this method can provide a general range of values for the item in question.
- Reference books
- There are quite a number of price guides for antique prints, maps and related books. These are based on dealer and auction prices. A good city or university library is likely to have one or two of these. Doing your own research may provide the information you are seeking. It is important to remember, however, that the prices gleaned from these guides can be inaccurate and must be understood in context. At best, price guides offer only a general range of values for the items listed.