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Heritage Auctions Appraisal Services

All About Appraisals: Expect the Unexpected
By Meredith Meuwly

I used to think that being an appraiser is like being a Boy Scout, and we should always "Be Prepared". My colleagues often tease me, but I constantly carry a large tote bag with extra notepads, pencils, pens, measuring tapes, magnifying glasses, cameras, batteries, etc. I even have backups for my backups --- because you just never know when you might need something extra. When I walk into a home or a bank vault, I need to be prepared for anything --- more property than anticipated, less property than expected, and even entirely different property than previously discussed. After several months of extensive travel and appraisal work, I think my new appraiser's motto should be tweaked to "Expect the Unexpected".

On a recent appraisal assignment, my colleague and I arrived to a mountain of material that was five times more than the quantity than we were expecting to appraise. We each took a deep breath and devised a plan on how we needed to accomplish our task. Keeping a rigorous schedule and working together, we appraised over 1000 items of jewelry, watches, and decorative arts in five short days.

Appraisals are all about teamwork. Colleagues working together to identify, describe, and value property for a client in the most accurate and cost effective ways. It's about a specialist in glass and ceramics lending a hand to a jewelry specialist in a pinch. Although I am not a graduate gemologist, I measured, weighed, noted marks, and took a plethora of photographs of jewelry items - all things that I was accustomed to doing with decorative arts that could be easily transferred to other items. With assistance on the "simple" work, my colleague was able to concentrate on identifying and grading the stones. Teamwork and can-do attitudes allowed us to finish the job well and even on time.

Why did I share this story? Because Heritage Auctions Appraisal Services approaches all appraisals like the assignment above. We expect the unexpected, come prepared, and find a solution to every problem. Contact the Appraisal Services department today at MeredithM@HA.com or 214-409-1631 to discuss your appraisal needs and how Heritage will be the best team for you.


After five years at Christie's in New York, Meredith Meuwly joined Heritage Auctions in 2007 as Senior Consignment Director in the Fine & Decorative Arts Department and currently manages the Appraisal Services department. In 2009, Meredith participated as an appraiser for the Antiques Roadshow on PBS. She is also a member of the Fine Art committee for the International Society of Appraisers and looks forward to assisting with any formal appraisal needs.