The following request for information will provide the appraiser with some background for his appraisal and will help organize several elements of the general household comments for his inspection. The result will reduce the time and effort spent in organizing the inventory and documenting the items for research and evaluation. Please note that the appraiser does not have the equipment or knowledge to measure, weigh, or define the content of jewelry. Such an appraisal will require a specialized level of expertise. If there are other items the appraiser does not feel qualified to value, he will tell the owner during the preliminary inspection and provide the owner with names of qualified appraisers.

The information requested below will help the appraiser to do an efficient inspection and help him with essential background on the elements of the household inventory.

General Information:

  1. Please identify items purchased within the last two years. If you have a receipt of these items, please provide the appraiser with a copy.
  2. Please identify the number of rooms in the house including basement and attic if they contain items to be appraised.
  3. Please identify garages, greenhouses, and other utility or outbuildings which contain household items. Also, please identify the existence of garden statuaries, patio furniture, and wind vanes.
  4. Please identify any automobiles, golf carts, or other utility vehicles, which require valuation by including year, model and mileage.

Silver Flatware, Silver Hollowware, Silver Plate, China, Porcelain and Glassware Sets:

  1. Theses items should be available for inspection either as complete sets or as units by room.
  2. Identification by manufacturer, pattern, counts of individual items in sets, measurement of length or diameter will save the appraiser time and effort and the owner money during the inspection process. The appraiser, however, can count groups of items and research patterns if necessary. He will have to weigh the sterling silver objects.

Collections and Collectibles:

  1. Collections or groups of collectibles should be put together in one place or in each room as necessary to help the appraiser categorize like items and provide a basis for identification, measurement and evaluation.
  2. Background of unique or special items or inherited items would be helpful.

Carpets, Rugs, Tapestries and Textiles:

  1. Any provenance, background, or specific identification of these items will be helpful. Identification of designs, maker, artists, country of origin, dating, etc. will reduce research time and cost.

Furniture, Historical Documents, Manuscripts:

  1. Identification of historical backgrounds, location of important signatures, maker’s marks, tags, plates or decals, will save the appraiser time and help confirm the authenticity of antiques and important documents.
  2. Family or historical provenance is also helpful. Inherited items should identify the family history of important items.

Paintings and Prints:

  1. It would also be helpful to have these items removed from the walls so the appraiser can examine the frames front and back. He can assist in the removal.
  2. Again, artist, title, family portraits, etc. should be identified if this information is available.
  3. Any damage, repairs, restoration, re-lining, etc. can be mentioned.

Again, the above process will help in the inspection process and help to reduce the amount of time spent in research





Nelson O. Clayton is an Accredited Senior Appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers. He is designated in Personal Property Residential Contents-General and Antiques and Decorative Arts. He is also a Certified Appraiser of Personal Property of the International Society of Appraisers, Inc., approved to appraise Antiques and Residential Contents. He is actively engaged in the appraisal of household contents, and antiques and decorative arts and he is building his credentials in silver, and fine arts. With consultation with experts, he has appraised paintings and sculpture in the appraised range of $10-$550,000, individual items of silver in the $40,000 range, clocks in the $30,000 range, and furniture in the $125,000 range. His training at the Winterthur Museum helped him to develop these skills. In addition, he is trained in research and analysis, first as a senior bank-lending officer, and second, as an appraiser. In every assignment, Mr. Clayton continues to develop his skills by identifying and analyzing complete household contents, collections, and family heirlooms. Mr. Clayton’s appraisal business has been developed through personal referral and direct contact with families requiring appraisal of their household contents, primarily for estate tax planning and settlement, donations, divorce and insurance purposes. He has evaluated complete household contents as well as selected individual items.