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Stephen M. H. Braitman
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FAQs    arrow arrow arrow Ask Your Own Question
· What is Appraisal?
Appraisal is the authoritative analysis and estimate of the value of property, made by a qualified professional called an “appraiser.” Depending on the purpose for the appraisal, there are different types of value researched, including Fair Market Value, Replacement Value, and [retail] Cost Basis.
· Why get my record collection appraised?
Collecting the artifacts of recorded sound — 78s, LPs, 45s, CDs, etc. — has been regarded as a hobby by other professional dealers and industry associations in areas such as coins, stamps, and art. But that view is rapidly changing.
With the highest values for some rare records now going for $20,000, $30,000, and beyond, a rush is on to professionalize this “hobby” into one with stricter grading standards for condition, first pressing editions, historical provenance, cultural significance, and other considerations.
Although records have been bought and sold for almost 100 years now, with many hundreds of millions of copies in the marketplace, it is important that archives be appraised as a personal asset. This information can be useful in any number of ways:
  • Insurance — Scheduling, relocation, and damage/loss claims.
  • Investment — Acquisition goals for near-term and future planning.
  • Estate planning — Including will preparation and the equitable distribution of assets to heirs.
  • Tax purposes — Estate tax, inheritance tax, charitable donation, and collateral loans.
  • Property dispersal — Matrimonial dissolution and equitable distribution.
  • Cataloging and preservation — Assess scope of issue and needs.
  • Disbursement — Sale through retail stores, auctions, set sales, the professional dealer and collector network, and the media.
· What music items do you appraise?
  • Recorded media: LPs, 45s, 78s, CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, reel-to-reel, master tapes, acetates.
  • Packaging media: Covers and jackets for LPs, 78s, CDs, and picture sleeves for 45s and EPs.
  • Memorabilia: Posters, flyers, handbills, tickets, promotional toys and gifts, press photographs and kits, artist-owned objects and material.
  • Printed media: Magazines, newspapers, books, programs, brochures, catalogs.
· What is it that you actually do?
First we examine the physical item or items and note condition, edition, and other key points of recognition. We do on-site inspections or, in some circumstances, we can work with detail lists supplied by the client.
Then we conduct extensive research to ascertain the current market profile of the item or collection, based on recent sales figures, professional consensus, trend analysis, catalogs and guides, and other materials.

Our appraisal service concludes with a document that details the specific value characteristics of the item or collection, as well as a valuation based on the type of value under consideration.

This document exceeds the appraisal requirements of the IRS and insurance companies.

An informal analysis is an Evaluation, not an Appraisal, and it reports on three categories related to an item or collection:

  1. The current estimated retail value
    (What it would cost to purchase on the open market.)
  2. The current estimated wholesale value
    (What it would reasonably expect to sell to a dealer or store.)
  3. A statement of the item or collection’s overall quality level
    (Condition, pressing edition, cultural or historical touchpoints, desirability.)
· Are appraisals certified?
I follow the Appraisal Foundation’s current Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
From the Appraisal Foundation Web site:
The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 recognizes USPAP as the generally accepted appraisal standards and requires USPAP compliance for appraisers in federally related transactions. State Appraiser Certification and Licensing Boards; federal, state, and local agencies, appraisal services; and appraisal trade associations require compliance with USPAP.
I passed my first American Society of Appraisers (ASA) Principles of Appraisal Practice and Code of Ethics exam in September 2004, and have continued training.
· What is your fee structure?
I offer both hourly rates and set fees for standard services. Custom projects can be negotiated.
· What do I do after an Evaluation?

We offer several different additional services to help with your collection. If you’re interested in selling, we can recommend local retailers who may be interested in buying your collection. We can partner with you on Internet auction and sales sites, such as eBay. We can work through the appropriate collector’s media to advertise and sell your collection. See our Services page for other things we can do for you.
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