In the summer of 2004, I became an appraiser of Asian Art with the American Society of Appraisers.  It involved taking four classes from the University of California at Irvine. I flew down from San Francisco for the first forty-hour class, not having read the required material and was stunned at the opening remarks by the instructor. He welcomed us to the class, there were about twenty, mainly women, from a wide variety of professional backgrounds like curators at art museums, PhD’s in art to residential construction electricians to me, a dealer of Japanese antique textiles and baskets.

‘Let’s start with ‘Socrates’ the male instructor stated. I realized at that point I had no clue what being an appraiser meant. Next came four days of eight-hour classes learning how to determine the scope of work for each appraisal purpose, and then a four-hour exam.   When my grades came for that first class, I had to go outside our home, and sit under the giant pine tree before I could open my grade. I passed the class! I proceeded to take the next five classes more seriously.

It’s difficult to become an art appraiser, too difficult for me to explain. I remember one of my professional colleagues stating that she wanted to become one of the best Fine Art appraisers in the country. Very few people begin their professional life as a personal property appraiser. Previously, this woman owned a contemporary art gallery in downtown San Francisco for more than 20 years. When she made the statement in 2005 about being the Best Appraiser it struck me as an unusual goal for someone who had seen success as a gallery owner, and now, due to health circumstances was becoming a fine art appraiser. Remember, I didn’t take the profession seriously. Today, I too, want to be one of the best Asian Art appraisers in the country. And I take the profession, and the requirements, quite seriously.

Each appraisal assignment is different, with different requirements, making a fluid scope of work necessary.

Since the COVID pandemic, many of my appraisals are virtual. My clients can geographically be in Hawaii, in Maine, Florida or Texas. IRS requirements for estate appraisals have been relaxed so that they can be virtual. This has meant the volume of my estate appraisals has gone up significantly. Virtual meetings are more common and adding the word ‘virtual’ to my website services increased the number of inquiries significantly. I have a pair of my favorite pearl earrings and my lipstick always at my desk for my virtual meetings.