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McAllister/Fossum Seattle Appraisal Services
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Seattle Fine Art Appraisal Services 

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Leading Independent Art Appraisal

McAllister/Fossum Appraisal Services has been a leading independent art appraisal firm in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years. We operate independently of any auction house or dealer and specialize in confidential and objective appraisal services and advice. The first step of any appraisal is to identify the intended use, and we provide a variety of appraisal types, including estate tax and estate distribution, non-cash charitable contribution (donation), insurance, insurance claim or damage/loss, equitable distribution, bankruptcy, and advice on the acquisition or sale of fine arts.

Andy Warhol, Birth of Venus (After Botticelli), 1984, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, 48 x 72 inches

Famous Art We’ve Appraised

Throughout the 30+ year history of McAllister/Fossum Appraisal Services, we have appraised a variety of unique artworks and historical objects, including the famous Vladimir Lenin statue in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Years ago our firm also appraised the original “R” on the roof of the Old Rainier Brewery in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle before it was moved to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) where it can be seen today in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Types of Art We Appraise

We appraise artwork in a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, prints, works on paper, sculptures, statues, glass, ceramics, and art installations. We are well-versed in appraising a variety of fine art, namely American and European art from the 19th century through today. Our specializations include Northwest artists, including the work of the famous Northwest Mystics (Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey), as well as Northwest Coast Native art and Alaskan Native art. If you have questions about an artwork and you’re wondering if we are qualified to appraise it, do not hesitate to contact us.

Emil Venkov, Statue of Lenin, Seattle, 1988, bronze, 16 feet

How Does Art Appraisal Work?

The appraisal process begins with a discussion with our clients to determine the intended use and scope of the objects to be appraised. The valuation approach is then determined, and an onsite inspection is arranged to examine, measure, and photograph each item. Next, an estimated fee is given based on the hours of work anticipated to complete the assignment and the type of appraisal needed. The value of each object is researched based on comparable sales using selected online databases and gallery and auction listings, as well as academic resources, exhibitions, provenance, and catalogue raisonne research.

Accredited Reports

We write our fine art appraisal reports according to the rules and guidelines of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP) set by the Appraisal Foundation, which is based in Washington D.C. Erin Fossum is an Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) and follows the report writing guidelines and ethics that are imperative to writing quality appraisal reports. Our appraisal reports are accepted and respected by federal and state government agencies and courts of law. We have completed hundreds of estate tax appraisals that have been submitted to the IRS and have never had a report questioned. We have conducted hundreds of equitable distribution appraisals that have been used and accepted in legal venues. Art experts, attorneys and insurance companies consistently advise their clients to make sure when hiring an art appraiser that the appraiser is a member in good standing of an organization such as as the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), the Appraisers Association of America (AAA), or the American Society of Appraisers (ASA).

Hire an Objective Art Appraiser

Every year the IRS Art Advisory Panel reviews hundreds of art appraisals related to estates and gifts. In 2017, the panel recommended adjustments upwards of $28 million in aggregate value. Estate tax appraisals can be rejected or questioned by the IRS if they are not conducted by a qualified, professional appraiser. This is one of the many reasons it is critical that you do your research and hire an appraiser who is an expert in the objects in question and who is well trained and educated in appraisal methodology.

Note: The Inland Marine Underwriters Association (IMUA) recommends that fine art be appraised every three to five years for updated insurance coverage.

Erin G. Fossum, MA

Accredited Appraiser

Erin specializes in appraising fine art, antiques & residential contents. She offers appraisals for a variety of purposes, including insurance, estates, donations and divorce.

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