Featured Insurance Appraisal...Never Had to Do One Before. Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by mirana, Feb 28, 2024.

  1. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I've never had to insure an art object before as I've never had anything too crazy. Then I started picking up things in the past 2 years and my cameo collection in particular has risen steadily until this last acquisition that may be worth high 4-figures. That seems to be the point at which I should definitely have a rider policy, no? :confused::nailbiting:

    Have any of you gone through the process of individually insuring an item or collection in the US? I assume I would need to have an official appraisal done....and that's a whole other issue. Cameos are sort of a gray area in appraisals. They are jewelry, but jewelers rarely see them or know about them. This particular piece also happens to be the self-commissioned piece of a famous Union Civil War General by a famous Italian carver to royalty (with pieces in major museums). :bored: So...Jeweler appraiser, Civil War Militaria apprasier, or generalist Art appraiser?

    I've done, or collected with help, all the research. A similar Civil War cameo went for nearly 9k in 2008. So, there is an auction record for the carver/carver workshop, and a similar-ish sitter, and certainly auction records for related CW militaria. A lot of leg-work done for the appraiser...I just need someone with the right associations to fill out the paperwork in the end, maybe? :nailbiting:

    The cameo in question was carved (and signed) by Tommaso Saulini:
    Saulini T Gentleman Mirana 1 Asm.jpg

    I found the original preparatory sketch with signature of sitter circa Dec 1860, in a Saulini book by 2 historians:
    Saulini T Mr Alfred H Perry Book Page Mirana 1 sm.jpg

    The signature of General Alfred H. Terry (mis-identified in the above book):
    Gen Alfred Howe Terry Signature.jpg

    An article about Terry noting that he travelled to Europe in 1860 (the cameo was sat for in Rome in 1860). The other Civil War cameo sold (found from a mention by PepperAnna!). Obviously it sold some time ago, during the recession, but it was also "only" carved by the Saulini Workshop and not a named carver, of a former TN mayor and Confederate colonel who died during the war. So, there are variations.

    This is such new territory for me and if it's worth that much it makes me nervous! :bag:
  2. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    You need an auction house appraisal rather than one from your local jeweller, who will pronounce with great authority & be absolutely clueless. Saulini portrait cameos are plentiful. Think the value for this particular one is more historical.
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  3. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I think you are right on that. CW is probably the driving factor but those gents usually do guns and uniforms lol. Just found a cultural museum has letters he sent to his family while in Europe, so now I'm really keen to see what they say!

    I thought an auction house appraisal was for selling through them? As opposed to insurance purposes.
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  4. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    I don't think that will be a problem if you tell them it's for insurance purposes, not sale, and you pay them to do it.
  5. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Or you tell them you're considering selling, depending on value. When you tell an appraiser it's for insurance purposes & you want a figure for replacement value, they'll come back with a number twice as high as is realistic for a sale price.

    This was probably worn by Mrs. Gen. Terry.
  6. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    make sure your Ins company insures art....or if jewelry.....check 1st their cost per $100....

    I once had a problem with my company....
    I wanted to insure one mask.........instead some clownfart thought I wanted to insure every item in the Gallery..... for $20,000 a piece !!!!!!!!
  7. Joe in PA

    Joe in PA Well-Known Member

    Here’s a link with some basic info. https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/how-to-appraise-and-insure-collectibles
    You could also call your current insurance agent and get their advice about riders to your homeowners/renters insurance. I would start with a spreadsheet of what you paid for the items as the minimum coverage you may want to get. Also watch out for the ton of fine print that lets them deny claims in certain cases (floods etc). There are also specialized insurers for antiques you could check out
  8. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    yes......know your enemy !!!

    I would not quote ....paid for prices.....in an insurance policy.....cuz that's all you'll get in the event of.......:eek::eek::eek::arghh::arghh:
  9. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    Okay just looked at Sotherbys as an example and they offer this. Their whole presentation makes me feel like their rate will be hella expensive! :pompous:

    Gen Terry didn't ever marry, so my guess is a fancy souvenir for his momma as he knew he'd be enlisting (and did so right after he got back). Possibly someone he was courting, though he lived to his 60s and never put a ring on it...

    Good point about getting sale vs. ins values.

    Way ahead of ya on the spreadsheet! I have one of those for just about everything, but when I started collecting antique jewelry and cameos over a year ago, I immediately started 2 fresh spreadsheets just for that, with photos in-line, size, weight, price paid, est worth, history, art movements, sitters, purchase invoices...you name it. Backed up in 3 places. I have one for art as well...I have rather a lot of that too. I know my insurance is particularly squirrely on "art and collectables" and I've been putting off dealing with that for too long. :rolleyes: I am safe on the flood plain map, but yes in an area with hurricanes and of course we all know how insurance companies are THE WORST with that. I just hate phone calls...sigh.

    This is my issue. I'm fully aware that paid prices are your baseline proof of worth. And of course my whole collection is built on buying cheap what others didn't know, or buying ground floor that which has gone up! So appraisal(s) and reassessment is in order...

    I'd get a safety deposit box but humidity being damn terrible here, a sealed box with moisture is the fastest way to destroy this.... :nailbiting:
  10. Joe in PA

    Joe in PA Well-Known Member

    Yeah true, but it's a starting point for how much coverage you may want at a minimum. I think there are a bunch of variables when you insure wrt agreed values and replacement value and replacement value at the time of loss, etc. Reading insurance policies gives me a head-ache, which is why it's good to have an insurance agent with LOTS of experience with this- not one just reading from a script :)
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  11. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    Isn't your bank climate controlled?

    I have to admit that I've long thrown caution to the winds and never added any extra insurance on my homeowner's policy for my valuables.
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  12. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I assume it's climate controlled, but so is my house... I have a waterproof fire safe and if it doesn't get opened regularly (and/or have silica packets changed every couple of months) then everything molds.... :yuck: Of course you know cameos are susceptible to bynes if they are in high humidity with no air flow. Maybe I'm worrying too much about that.

    Also, I do actually want to look at it on the regular ha. But I'm looking at months of work travel and it would be nice to drop it at a bank and not worry while I'm gone.
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  13. 808 raver

    808 raver Well-Known Member

    IMHO I don't bother with insurance, the insurance company will want to know where it's kept, what sort of alarm you have and then charge you every year and if it ever gets stolen or damaged they will do their very best to get out of paying you. It sounds like you are the same as me, you specialized in a field that not many know about and picked this $5000-$7000 (auction) cameo for not a great deal. Any collector who buys like us will over time acquire some good stuff, if you start insuring it all the cost will quickly become very expensive. Most stolen art is very difficult to sell, people who steal only steal things they can easily sell and can't be recognised where it came from. Have you ever needed to make a insurance claim before? or wished you had had something insured? If the answer is no then I wouldn't bother, I don't brag about what I have or it's value, I don't invite untrustworthy people into my house and I rely on if all the people in a global auction didn't know what it was then a burglar wont know either.
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  14. Bdigger

    Bdigger Well-Known Member

    Get one of those food sealers that suck the air out of a plastic bag to keep food fresh. I bet it would keep it safe from climate damage. But I may be wrong, just an idea.
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  15. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    It's less about theft, and more about fire for me. There's also weather related damage, but that's more about the things I can't take with me like large art and antique furniture (as hurricanes let you know they're coming ahead of time...).

    In theory, a burglar would certainly know what gold was, which is why they would take it and promptly scrap it. But again, not my primary concern.

    I'm lucky to have never needed to make a claim, but my parent's home burned with everything in it. They had to make a claim and it essentially was "make a spreadsheet with all contents" and then they had to provide proof of purchase on certain large ticket items. They got their max payout in the end. But certainly my insurance company has issue with things of jewelry, "collectable" or "art" in nature, specifically wanting a separate policy. Lucky me, that is basically everything of worth that I own.
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  16. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I'm not impressed with either Sotheby's or Christie's when it comes to knowledge of engraved gems or the market for them. Bonhams, Drouot & Fellows would be better, although of course there's the small issue of their being on the other side of the Pond.

    They do what we do: characterize an item as thoroughly as possible, then look to see what comparable items have sold for in the past. You've already done the research, the characterization. The Gen. Terry cameo I think does need the opinion of someone who knows the market for Civil War-related items that are not swords, uniforms, etc. But for most things you can probably estimate value as well as an auction house can.

    Jewellers are usually good about precious stones & metals, if you have pieces that need that kind of assessment.
  17. laura9797

    laura9797 Well-Known Member

    As I was an Accredited Member of International Society of Appraisers, I will tell you that you should find a local AM ISA or CAPP ISA. Auction houses will provide you will fair market value and for insurance purposes you will need certified replacement value. Everyone should document their collections with photographs, video, etc and save to the icloud or external hard drive. I did a lot of appraisal work for entire contents on Chubb fortune 500 clients. One of our client's lost his home and everything in it due to a fire. He would have only gotten a fraction of the worth of the contents if we had not documented and had certified appraisals for significant pieces.
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