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Appraisers: Walk us thru a typical session

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strmrdr

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In the interest of giving consumers a better idea of what to expect please walk us thru a typical session.

Some one makes an appointment and comes in, typically how does the session go?
I know it is going to vary from client to client and job to job but I would think that there is a pattern you like to follow.

For the sake of discussion lets say the diamond is already mounted because this is the harder situation from a gemology stand point.

What questions do you typically ask?
What are some questions that consumers typically ask?

If there was one thing you would like all consumers to know coming in the door what would it be?
 

RockDoc

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Date: 12/13/2005 10:07:13 AM
Author:strmrdr
In the interest of giving consumers a better idea of what to expect please walk us thru a typical session.

Some one makes an appointment and comes in, typically how does the session go?
I know it is going to vary from client to client and job to job but I would think that there is a pattern you like to follow.

For the sake of discussion lets say the diamond is already mounted because this is the harder situation from a gemology stand point.

What questions do you typically ask?
What are some questions that consumers typically ask?

If there was one thing you would like all consumers to know coming in the door what would it be?

Hii Storm

This is a pretty complex situation, as everyone id different, every purchase is different, and every stone is different, as well as how many time the client wants to "split the hair".

For just about all clients, I require that the stone be unmounted for testing. When the item is already set, I will take an "initial" snoop at it to see if there if there are blantant problems that can be see while the item is still set.

I then make a decision as to whether I feel the item should be unset, whether I feel it is proper to do the assignment while it is still, set or if the client insists that the item be examined while set, if I can proceed and feel that I could a proper and competent job. But I do explain to the client, that I do have a setter who can unset and reset their items, in order for me to do an accurate assessment.

Recently, a guy came in with a diamond that had some really bad attributes. I could determine this while the stone was still set. It was loaded with popcorn type stress, and was cut so deep, it''s face up appearance resulted in the stone looking about 1/3 smaller than the weight ( spread ) and that I could make a determination while it was still set. The price he paid was fair for what he got, but once he saw a properly cut stone in comparison, the decision to return the item he brought in, was a no brainer for him. As a result, he got educated, and made his decision.


Determining the decision to refuse a job, is the "duty" of the appraiser. For two reasons :

a) to be able to perform the conclusive testing that is as accurate as the client wants

b) to assess the appraiser''s personal liability risk, if it is done wrong, negligently or carelessly. Omission in a report is also a serious concern, so it is generally my position to be almost "sickenly detailed". This is a decision that the appraiser needs to seriously consider.

In addition, I thoroughly discuss the purpose, function of the assignement, and explain the differene between gemological analysis and an actual valuation report.

If it is an assignment so the client can insure the item, we discuss the different types of policies available to them, and what the requirements of each type of policy would be.

If the client is interested in information to make a purchase, then I provide as much information as possible so he or she can make an informed purchasing decision. I NEVER simply say the stone is what they said it was, that is is the same as the one represented. The stone has to be the right one for them, so we intently address what information he wants to know or better yet needs to know to accomplish what he wants.

For long distance clients, I do invite them to be present as I think it is good for them to be here in person. I''ve had people come here from all over the US, and a few foreign countries too.

I make it informative and interesting and totally explanatory as to what characteristics I do see, which ones I believe have some important considerations, and we generally spend the better part of a day, going through all this.

I like what I do and know I do everything that the customer wants. However, that said, there are some clients who really want me to do the assignment quick, down and dirty, which is not in their best interest. If I feel that way, then I many times will simply turn down the assignment.

But Storm, to put this into a "one size fits alll" type scenario - would be impossible or end up being an encyclopedia of overwhemling detail.

Every stone is different, every purchaser or owner of an item is different, and every scope of the assignment is different too.

Rockdoc
 

Gonzodogg

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good thread
 

Regular Guy

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Wow, Rock, had a chance to review. This approach sounds consistent with paying on the higher side of the market for a diamond (getting an Esalen Institute for diamonds and their owners as a result). While extremely thorough, for those of us who purchased just under the norm for the market (.9 carats), you might consider working up a more modest program, and even instituting some sort of video set-up, consistent with the scale of what would be consistent with that.

Unusual approach, but beyond $10K and perhaps even considerably more, perhaps quite a worthwhile approach.
 

RockDoc

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Ira....

Hate to disagree with you, but I take a very different appoach to this.

If a guy is just spending $ 2000.00 should that purchase ( which is a very meaningful, emotional and treasure purchase) be any less important than the guy spending $ 50,000. ?

Will he feel any better served if I treat him differently based on what he''s spending? Does he need less attention and care?

For me, I take the position that someone who''s budget is a minor amount is just as important to him than the "big $$ buyer".

Maybe more important or critical, since a guy with a modest budget isn''t going to able to buy it again, whereas the Big $$ buyer who is buying a megabucks piece, probably can buy another one without feeling too much pain over it financially.

I do have a lot of people who have spent below $ 5000 on their engagement rings, and they get the same service, care and attention that the other get as well.

I think it all has to do with the amount and level of the pride you take in being the best you can be, and earning your wings everyday.

Rockdoc
 

Modified Brilliant

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This is a great question...keeping in mind that no two clients, diamonds, situations are identical.
First, I make my client feel welcome in my office. It is a bright, sunny corner office.
We have an initial chat about how I can help you the most..what information that you would like me to provide, any problems, concerns, unique situations, etc. A brief "listening" session can reveal alot about the best way for an appraiser to proceed. The average appointment is a minimum of one hour. Again, I''ll spend more time with you if you want, but like your attorney or other professional that charges by the hour...please expect to compensate me (fairly) for my time. I guarantee that it will be money well spent. I''ll never ,ever, make you feel rushed! On the other hand, last week I had a client who had a large consumer related problem...we chatted for one hour..I felt that I just couldn''t make a decision one way or another...I didn''t charge her a penny. So, you see, most of us are caring professionals who are also consumers.

I will clean your item, inspect your mounting for any problems with the prongs, casting, etc. We are assuming that the diamond is mounted. If you have any information (GIA Diamond Grading Report, any lab report, sales slip, etc. I DON"T WANT TO SEE IT OR EVEN WANT TO KNOW THE WEIGHT OF YOUR DIAMOND!). I want to do an unbiased evaluation.
I then will measure your diamond with an electronic digital gauge, and note all measurements and estimate the weight.
I will check the color using master stones and use comparison as well as visual analysis.
I will note the table and depth percentages, girdle thickness, culet, fluorescence, polish and symmetry. Some limitations will prevail due to the diamond being mounted. I can only measure and grade what I can see.
I will explain my findings regarding the "cut" of your diamond (again with limitations...mounted diamond). During my evaluation, I have taken notes. After my evaluatuion, I will ask to see your documents to verify my findings versus the lab findings. I will discuss any differences if there are any. If not, and we both feel comfortable with the information, then we will proceed to the valuation process. My valuation process is extremely thorough and highly accurate. During the entire process, I encourage you to ask questions. If you think of anything AFTER your visit, you may call or e-mail me at anytime EVEN after business hours. I love what I do and it is my greatest pleasure in sharing one of the most important and emotional purchase decisions that you will make in your lifetime.
There are many more details regarding the appraisal appointment... some are proprietary in nature. I''m sure you understand.
To my fellow appraisers...this is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list...just a small sample of the basic components of an appraisal session so let''s respect one another and have a positive attitude.
Thanks for reading my post and Happy Holidays!

www.metrojewelryappraisers.com
 

oldminer

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I sort of agree with RockDoc that people deserve the same level of treatment regardless of the size of their purchase. It is all relative to their ability to buy something and a $2K item in the hands of a poor man is far more important to him than a $20K rock in the hands of a very wealthy man.
Seeing as we don't know how important the purchase is to that individual, we have a duty to treat each client as needing our best services and best advice.

However, once we know a client and their degree of sophistication, previous buying history, affluence, etc, then we can tailor make the advisory services more directly to their individual needs. Again, this depends on the circumstances and we prefer to err on the side of giving more than they need rather than less than they need.

There are some people who want to short cut the process, cut to the chase, and get to "how much is it really worth?". If that's what they need to know and if they don't want the rest of the story, we may give them a shortened version of the process since they dictate the time they wish to spend. I think some people don't want to be fully educated, but just want simple advice. As long as it does no harm, then we can shorten the process. If I see a potential for misunderstanding, then we cover the necessary ground.

I insist that people who tell us how to do our job sign a release form that advises them of their responsibility in case they have not agreed to a more complete service. Few are willing to sign away their rights. We like to do complete work whenever we can.
 

Regular Guy

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Richard Sherwood

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Typical while-you-wait face-to-face appraisal session for an internet client with a very fine or ideal make diamond:

1. Put client at ease by showing them identifying characteristic(s) of their stone (ie laser inscription, exact carat weight if loose, identifying inclusion(s), etc.) When I'm completely finished with the session I will show them the same characteristic(s) once again so they know they have the same stone.

2. I do everything in plain view, with the diamond never leaving their sight.

3. Divide the session into the 6 C's- carat weight, color, clarity, cut, comparison with major lab report & cost.

4. Carat weight- If stone is loose, I have already weighed it to triple digit accuracy within their sight at the beginning of the session. If mounted, I measure the stone and tell them the estimated weight. We use that as a doublecheck on the weight stated by vendor to see if we're on the same page, carat wise.

The vendor's weight is used on mounted stones if estimated weight closely confirms it. If not, the diamond is re-examined to determine the reason for the discrepancy.

5. Color- First the strength & color of the diamond's fluorescence is checked, photographed and shown to client under longwave ultraviolet.

I then visually grade the body color against diamond masters, and then machine grade the body color on the SAS-2000 spectrophotometer. The color is discussed with the client, and categorized as to where it falls within that color grade (1- on the borderline with the next lower color grade, 2- in the low range of that color grade, 3- in the mid-range of that color grade, 4- in the high range of that color grade, 5- on the borderline with the next higher color grade).

6. Clarity- Identifying characteristics are located, photographed, diagrammed and shown to client under magnification. An explanation of the nature of the inclusions ensues, and their possible effect on durability (if any).

7. Cut 1 (technical analysis)- If loose, the proportions are analyzed on OGI high resolution non-contact measuring instrument. If mounted, the proportions are obtained through a combination of direct measurement and DiamCalc software analysis.

8. Cut 2 (optical analysis)- Diamond is photograped under the IdealScope, under the Hearts & Arrows viewer, under diffused lighting, under fluorescent lighting and under incandescent spot lighting. An explanation of the optical symmetry and how it affects pattern and light return performance ensues. Optical performance scores are obtained from DiamCalc's Light Return Analysis and explained.

9. Comparison- SGL independent analysis is compared to major lab report or vendor's description if no lab report is available. Confirmations are discussed and minor differences are explained. Dramatic differences are re-examined for accuracy.

10. Cost (value)- Three market levels of value are given:
Retail Replacement Value (a traditional jewelry store retail value, typically used as the appraised value)
Low Retail (Sale) Value (a discounted "sale" retail value, stated in a range and sometimes used as the appraised value if client desires)
Expected Internet or very competitive B&M pricing (a deep discount retail value, stated in a range but not used as appraised value, as client might not be adequately insured three years down the road.)

11. Question and answer period.

12. Diamond is returned to client after having them locate their identifying characteristic(s).

The entire process usually takes about two hours.
 

strmrdr

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Great answers, thank you!
 

denverappraiser

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I will usually start out by asking the client what they would like to know. This generally will lead to a discussion of various possible definitions of value and a discussion of the decision to examine the stone in the mounting or unset and similar issues that may affect the project. Almost always we decide to leave it mounted and to avoid destructive avoid metal tests but there are the occasional exception. I’ll also discuss my fees at this time so that there are no surprises at the end.


If the item was sent to me by a 3rd party, I’ll show the unopened package to the client and confirm that this does indeed seem to be a package that they were expecting. I’ll open the box in front of them (and under a video recorder, which protects both me and the client if the contents are different from what was expected) and examine the contents to see if it superficially matches the packing list. By this I mean that it contains the correct number of stones, they are the correct shape and they are all diamonds if this is claimed.


After the confirmation that the stones are diamonds, I’ll clean the piece and examine the ring itself. In particular, I check for damage to the stones but also I check for loose or missing stones and craftsmanship problems in the mounting. This is where I begin to write the description of the piece. I’ll make not of any markings on the piece, weight it, measure the ring size, etc.


Next I grade the stone. I usually start with clarity because I’m already at the microscope and will draw the plotting diagram while I’m there. I also note the symmetry and polish, inspect the girdle and check for stress issues at this point. I then do the color grading. I’ve got a huge white desk that I meet clients at with a color calibrated light overhead so that the customer can watch and even participate in this if they wish. I use a GIA graded set of master stones for comparison and then compare the results with a Gran colorimeter that’s been warming up while we went through the above steps. I check fluorescence at this point as well and will calculate the estimated weight.


I’ll then announce my findings for weight, clarity and color and ask if any of these are different from what was expected. If so, we’ll discuss what those differences are and why they might exist. If the client has a lab report with them, we’ll look it over at this time. I will also compare the stone to the report to confirm that it is the same one described and that there is no evidence of damage or alteration since the report was prepared. I’ll scan the lab report.


I’ll then take photographs of the piece, several photomicrographs of the diamond and an IdealScope photo. If there are special characteristics of either, like the girdle inscription or a particular area of damage, I’ll zoom in and take a special photo of that. I display these on a monitor on the wall and point out the important details. I’ll put the IS photo up on the wall and we’ll talk about it.


I record a gemprint on the stone.


I’ll then use DiamCalc, the IS photo and the direct measurements taken during above to estimate the other cut parameters. I’ll print out the DiamCalc report and again we will discuss the findings. At this point I also will discuss the symmetry, polish, durability concerns and similar matters related to the cut.


I hand the piece back to the client and do some research for comparable items and pricing data. This can involve several of the online databases (including Pricescope) as well as some industry price guides and a database I maintain about local dealers and other sources and spend a few minutes typing and assembling the report. The report contains all of the data collected above and a narrative of the items we’ve been discussing.


I’ll then go over the report page by page with the client. We start with the value conclusion, which they are usually anxious to see. We discuss whether they want to register the gemprint and I ask if they have any additional questions or requirements. Sometimes this takes a while but usually we've already discussed the areas of concern. If possible, I include a photomicrograph of the most distinctive characteristic of the diamond and will teach the customer how to locate it with a loupe (and sell them a $10 loupe if they don’t already have one).


The whole process takes about an hour to an hour and a half. The client is present for the entire session if they wish and the item never leaves their sight during the session. They walk away with the completed report and their item in their hand. If the item came from a 3rd party dealer, I’ll give the report to the client but will put the item back in the safe and wait to hear from the dealer. I only return things to whoever gave them to me or to the people that they specifically instruct me to give them to. This usually takes a few hours while the client contacts the seller and works out whatever deal they wish. The seller will then fax me a signed release with instructions to either give it to the client or return it to them.


Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

newenglandgemlab

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Hi Neil,

You do mean a Gran Colorimeter? No? Typo I am sure. Hope this finds you in good spirits. I have no clue how you find the time for these lengthy threads....HoHoHo! Hope to see you at the AGS conclave in Orlando. Cindy
 

denverappraiser

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Date: 12/14/2005 10:46:01 AM
Author: newenglandgemlab
Hi Neil,

You do mean a Gran Colorimeter? No? Typo I am sure.
The Gran devices really are spectrophotometers but I agree that colorimeter is what Gran calls them and it's probably a more recognized term. I'll change it. Thanks.



Date: 12/14/2005 10:46:01 AM
Author: newenglandgemlab
Hi Neil,

I have no clue how you find the time for these lengthy threads....
I save time through sloppy proofreading.



Date: 12/14/2005 10:46:01 AM
Author: newenglandgemlab
Hi Neil,

HoHoHo!
Who are you calling a Ho?



Date: 12/14/2005 10:46:01 AM
Author: newenglandgemlab
Hi Neil,

Hope to see you at the AGS conclave in Orlando.
Currently I'm not planning on going. Send me a PM and tell me why I should. I don't want to junk up this thread with a discussion of the merits of conclave and I've never been to one but I would love to hear your thoughts. On the other hand, I would love to see your answer to the question that started this.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

Regular Guy

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Date: 12/14/2005 10:14:16 AM
Author: denverappraiser

This generally will lead to a discussion .... of the decision to examine the stone in the mounting or unset and similar issues that may affect the project. Almost always we decide to leave it mounted

Though I''ve pulled your text, Neil, to you or any of our appraisers...for those of you who are asked this question in advance of the client showing up at the office (Rock you''ve already shared your bias here), and the client will tell you it will be more convenient to come with the diamond set, and by the way, the vendor has provided to you data on proportions...how will you advise the client on the choice of bringing the diamond set or unset? And why?
 

Regular Guy

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Date: 12/13/2005 11:04:16 PM
Author: Richard Sherwood

10. Cost (value)- Three market levels of value are given:
Retail Replacement Value (a traditional jewelry store retail value, typically used as the appraised value)
Low Retail (Sale) Value (a discounted ''sale'' retail value, stated in a range and sometimes used as the appraised value if client desires)
Expected Internet or very competitive B&M pricing (a deep discount retail value, stated in a range but not used as appraised value, as client might not be adequately insured three years down the road.)
This is very interesting. With respect to the "bottom line," (i.e., I like to understand, but what I pay annually really gets my attention), although I quarrel with the practices my appraiser used with respect to their non-analysis of cut, I think their single dollar amount they arrived at must have had the same sort of logics embedded that is implied in what you have here, with respect to the valuation part of the session.

Though I''m sure there''s a lot that could be said about this...but is there any background to add? No free lunches? You can only get so good a deal? For example, calling these retail, low and expected...for those paying "expected," why recommend retail presentation to the insurer vs even expected...on what basis do you choose? What expectations of protection are reasonably there?
 

strmrdr

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Thank you everyone that took the time to reply.
 

RockDoc

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What Value should go on an appraisal for insurance purposes?

Retail Replacement Value?

B&M store prices

Internet Price?

Some other value?


What''s the general consensus from both appraisers and consumers?

Rockdoc
 

strmrdr

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Date: 12/17/2005 10:43:57 PM
Author: RockDoc


What Value should go on an appraisal for insurance purposes?


Retail Replacement Value?


B&M store prices


Internet Price?


Some other value?



What's the general consensus from both appraisers and consumers?


Rockdoc

whats funny rockdoc is i was just going to start a new thread on that very subject.

new thread:
https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/appraisal-values.37528/
 

Richard Sherwood

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Date: 12/14/2005 11:48:17 AM
Author: Regular Guy
Date: 12/13/2005 11:04:16 PM

Author: Richard Sherwood


10. Cost (value)- Three market levels of value are given:

Retail Replacement Value (a traditional jewelry store retail value, typically used as the appraised value)

Low Retail (Sale) Value (a discounted ''sale'' retail value, stated in a range and sometimes used as the appraised value if client desires)

Expected Internet or very competitive B&M pricing (a deep discount retail value, stated in a range but not used as appraised value, as client might not be adequately insured three years down the road.)

for those paying ''expected,'' why recommend retail presentation to the insurer vs even expected...on what basis do you choose? What expectations of protection are reasonably there?

The answer to this is also being discussed on Storm''s other post about what value an appraiser should assign a piece.

The "expected internet or very competitive B&M pricing" I consider too low to adequately protect the client in the event of a loss, particularly if they were to lose the item a couple years down the road. Many diamond vendors cannot replace a diamond for the same price this year that they sold it for last year.

I find that most internet clients are interested to hear what the "average retail replacement value" is on the stone they purchased, but in the end like to use a figure from the "low retail (sale) value" range for the value they insure at.
 

Regular Guy

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Date: 12/18/2005 1:28:48 PM
Author: Richard Sherwood


The answer to this is also being discussed on Storm''s other post about what value an appraiser should assign a piece.
Indeed it is...and thanks for returning your attention to this, Richard.

This morning I went to a talmud class at my temple, where they wrestle about "why" something is said a certain way...what''s the proof text for it. Since the valuation established by the appraiser can have the end result in setting the basis for which a sum paid annually to insurer will ostensibly, on their schedule, satisfy the requirements for insuring it...surely the basis for whatever amount is set is one that would make anyone curious. I do find the rationale''s expressed so far very "impressionistic" and frankly wanting. Also, I note it''s interesting that despite your advice, Richard, you find your customer frequently, on their own, choosing to insure from one "notch down" from your recommendation.

Since it is customary to insureres, I think, to say they will "abide" by what the appraiser judges the value to be, what do you, as an appraiser, understand your obligations to be for reporting?

I think Denver''s critique of the increasing valuation is a reasonable one...inasmuch as values can go up and down going foward, and the appraiser can set whateve controls it wants personally to account for this...whether throug inflation protection schemes, or whatever. Likewise, although Denver uses the alternative and interesting phrasing..."“The necessary funding required to allow the item to be replaced in a reasonable amount of time and in the usual marketplace with another of like kind and quality and having similar materials, condition, techniques, authorship and other qualities as defined in this report...." why should there be a premium allowed to accomodate these other and varied conditions? While the least complicated forumula I''ve still heard is one USAA I think assumes...accept the amount printed on the receipt that the buyer paid....such that if that number, if purchased at an internet vendor, could reasonably be used from the point of view that a willing seller parted with the diamond to a willing buyer at the stated price....Richard....still, your other figures could serve to helpfully inform the shopper...with an internet valuation to tell the buyer how he did, apples to apples, and with a higher prices to give them a sense of how much better they did, apples to oranges. Although this frankly seems all up and up to me...it seems one controversial option would be to offer a below purchase amount as an appraisal number to a shopper who did go to a B&M, because you knew that an internet vendor could do it for better. So, that scenario aside, getting at the "why," as a backup to whatever you do, apart from the worry that someone may hassle you some day for some reason...I would be curious to know.
 

Richard Sherwood

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There's usually two "whys" as to what I do (valuation).

One, the client wants to know "how they did" in their financial expenditure. Was the amount they spent reasonable for what they got within the market level they purchased?

Two, the client wants to know that they are adequately covered in the event of loss. As most insurance companies recommend having an item re-appraised every three years, it stands to reason that the client would want to be covered within this time period in the event of loss.

The multi-tiered market level approach covers the first "why", and the retail or low retail valuation covers the second "why".

It's a balancing act, in which the appraiser uses his experience and education to protect his client's interests. Far from being "very impressionistic" there are appraisal industry guidelines established from national markup averages as well as databanks of comparables and personal research which guide the appraiser in his final decisions.

As long as there are a half-a-dozen market levels at which jewelry and gemstones are sold there will always have to be educated judgement calls made at what level to insure an item.

You can't always go by what a person pays, either. Let's say an astute collector buys an undervalued Art Deco premium piece from a dealer who hasn't done his homework. Should the collector insure that (irreplaceable) piece for what he paid, knowing full well that the appropriate market level is far more?
 

RockDoc

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Richard Sherwood wrote:

You can''t always go by what a person pays, either. Let''s say an astute collector buys an undervalued Art Deco premium piece from a dealer who hasn''t done his homework. Should the collector insure that (irreplaceable) piece for what he paid, knowing full well that the appropriate market level is far more?
________________________

This, of course is the exception to the rule, but I agree with you, however in this scenario it would very special special attention.

The key word here is irreplacable In this situation, I believe the appraiser has to have a very deep knowledge of the type of insurance the client is getting. One needs to ponder the question of how good would an insurance policy be, if the typical claim settlement is for the replacement of an item that is irreplaceable?

Closely related is the use of the term priceless

The factual bearing is that much that is considered irreplaceable really isn''t given the terms and conditions of an insurance policy.

This may require the consumer have the underwriters, include special endorsements to the policy or purchasing a different type of policy.

But for the normal consumer buying even a "normaly" sold item is far more prevalent than the above.

Rockdoc
 
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