How to become a coin appraiser?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by coloradotokens, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. coloradotokens

    coloradotokens Junior Member

    A few weeks ago I was asked to appraise a coin collection for an estate, but this estate had a “conservator” which is basically a power of attorney appointed by the county court. At the last minute I was called and they said I was not approved by the courts to do the appraisal. The estate was then appraised by the only certified coin appraiser in the county and I lost the job because I was not a court approved appraiser. The appraisal came out to about $200,000 and cost almost $8,000 to do the appraisal, about $125 an hour. The executors of the estate were not pleased with the coin dealer that did the appraisal because of the price that he charged, and I was hoping that someone on CT can tell me how to become a licensed coin appraiser.
    I am looking into the American Society of Appraisers, but have also been told that some colleges or online programs can also certify people to become appraisers.
    Can someone please shed some light on this inquiry?
    Thanks CT,
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  3. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

  4. CappedBustDimes

    CappedBustDimes Senior Member

    Most court appointed appraisers are NOT coin specialist, but are general appraisers that focus on art or areas of antiquities. I would contact and interview some attorneys whose main focus of practice is working with settling or setting up estates. It is more of who you know rather than what you know when it comes providing court approved services.

    here is what i found online that can explain it better than I.

    "Unfortunately, there are no federal or state laws regulating personal property appraisal. While dentists, plumbers, real estate appraisers and butchers are regulated, licensed, and monitored by government agencies, personal property appraisers are not. Anybody, for whatever reason, can call himself an “appraiser of art” and many do. But within the last few years, several laws affecting fine arts appraisal have been passed. And several more are pending. This will affect the testing and certification of appraisers. These laws will effectively eliminate the employment of amateurs, conflicts of interest, and self-appointed "experts".

    For now, there is no standard method of court certification. The way most legal entities such as courts avoid the faux appraiser is by making sure to use an appraiser who is certified by one of the three major appraisal accrediting organizations in the country at this time, ASA, AAA, ISA. These organizations offer classes, provide testing operations, and require peer review before awarding accreditation. They certify and re-certify their accredited members. An appraiser with the “ASA” designation after his/her name has gone through a rigorous series of tests and a demanding peer review process. He/she has had to submit two appraisal reports (one for Fair Market Value, the other for Replacement Value) to a national board of reviewers. He/she receives the ASA designation only after having passed an ethics exam, four academic course exams, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) exam, and after having submitted two written reports to a peer review committee. Lawyers and accountants undergo similar certification. ASA accreditation is enforced. The American Society of Appraisers recently withdrew its ASA certification from a long-time member precisely for violation of ethical practices.

    I would assume your services would be marketable if you took and passed some ANA courses as well as being endorsed by one of the following appraisal groups.

    Here is a short list of some of the best appraisal organizations, which test and accredit personal property appraisers:

    P.O. Box 17265
    Washington, DC 20041
    Phone: (703) 478-2228

    ASA is the largest and oldest (founded in 1936) professional society that educates, tests and certifies personal property appraisers. With certified members in over 20 countries, the ASA is an international body whose 6,000 members are accredited in designations such as fine arts and antiques and decorative arts. The ASA offers a referral service. Call the above number with a description of the item you need appraised and they will give you the names of appraisers in your area. Or consult the website, go to ”personal property” and follow the instructions. Personal Property is distinct from Real Property. Often you will be linked directly to an appraiser’s own website and email address. Talk to the appraiser on the phone about your needs.

    386 Park Avenue South, Suite 2000
    New York, NY 10016
    Phone: (212) 889 5404
    Fax: (212) 889 5503

    The AAA is another widely recognized professional organization which tests and certifies professionals. Founded in 1949, the AAA has more than 1,000 members located throughout the United States. AAA also offers a referral service. A call to the above number prompts a computer search of members in your area, the results will be mailed to you. The website puts you in touch directly with an appraiser of your choice.
    1131 SW 7th St Suite 105
    Renton, WA 98055
    Phone: 206-241-0359

    ISA tests and accredits its members. The website allows you to search for and contact individual members.

    Any or all of the above organizations will be able to anwer any additional questions you have about the qualifications of court appointed appraisers. Good luck."
  5. coloradotokens

    coloradotokens Junior Member

    Thank you guys for taking the time to respond to this question, I know it is not a common one answer question. I understand that most appraisers are not coin specialists, but more general appraisers. I am trying to figure out how to become a certified appraiser for coins, I have not interested in learning or apprising art, antiques, ect.
    Are there any CT members with a legal back ground that can maybe shed more light on this subject?
    Bustdimes, thank you for messaging me the list of agencies, I will look into them. Also I already have 6 ANA courses under my belt, I have excellent references, but I just don’t know what the courts want. I am waiting to hear back from the judge, but I am assuming the courts want endorsement from one of the major appraiser agencies as you mentioned.
    Are there any CT members who are accredited coin appraisers that could comment on this?

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    From what I have personally seen of these appraisers, albeit limited, most of them don't know squat about coins. The few appraisals I have seen them make are off by 60-70%.
  7. coloradotokens

    coloradotokens Junior Member

    I agree that an appraisal can dramatically be off from the real value, but I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable in US coins, currency and exonumia and have done appraisals in the past. There is no requirement or license needed to be a coin appraiser unless you are appointed by the courts, which I am trying to do. I have had cases where estates need appraisals and they have to be approved by the court but there is only one personal certified and he gets all the work. I have done some research and apparently for someone to be a coin appraiser for a court case, one needs to be certified in personal property appraisals.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    My thoughts - schedule a face to face appointment with the judge and go sit down and talk to the man.
  9. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Agreed. Courts simply need to be confortable that you are knowledgable in the area in which you are giving an opinion, there are few requirements in most states. I would check with the court as to what they want to prove you are knowledgable enough to give an informed opinion. Remember, an appraisal is simply an opinion by someone, you need to come off as a respected expert in the area in which you are a respected expert in your field. I believe helpful to that would be professional memberships, (ANA etc.), years in hobby, references from other numismatists, and the like.

  10. blsmothermon

    blsmothermon Member

    I would agree with the above opinions. Contact your ASA local chapter about their guidance, join the ANA, pass the ANA Diploma Program, and join the PNG as an affiliate member (not general since you're not a dealer). Being a ASA, ANA, PNG member binds you to a code of ethics (USPAP, etc.) that gives you a built-in sense of accountability. Also, for some classes, even though they oversee Real Property, your state appraisal board (the one that licenses R. E. Appraisers), state chapter of IAAO, state chapter of the Appraisal Institute, etc. can be helpful, because alot of appraisal classes can be applicable to ALL types of appraisal. There are alot of differences between R. E. Appraisal vs. Chattel Appraisal, but when it does come down to it you are giving an "educated opinion of market value" regardless of material. I hope this helps.

    This is my opinion as a county Real Estate Appraiser, Arkansas Senior Appraiser (Level IV), Member of IAAO (International Association of Assessing Officers), and Residential Evaluation Specialist Candidate. I have been doing real estate appraisal for tax purposes for about 6 years. I have taken and passed more appraisal exams than I care to mention, including USPAP.
  11. coloradotokens

    coloradotokens Junior Member

    It all does help, thanks guys. I am a life member of the ANA and have several summer seminar classes under my belt, I am not PNG, I thought that was just for dealers. I do consider myself a dealer, but dont meet all the critera of PNG ie quarter million in inventory.
    I did just read the quidelines about "associate membership" and looks like having that acreditation will make sense, and the critera is a bit more lax.

    I appreciate everyones help on this, and special thanks to blsmothermon, all the info you listed is a great reference.
  12. Hobo

    Hobo Squirrel Hater

    I noticed your avatar is a Lesher Dollar and you go by 'coloradotokens'. Do you live in Colorado Springs or the Pikes Peak area? (For those that don't know, Lesher Dollars were issued by Lesher in Victor and Cripple Creek, Colorado on the opposite side of Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs.) If you live in the area you should drop by ANA. Someone at ANA should be able to point you in the right direction. If nothing else I would expect the ANA Library to have a book or article that will answer your questions. If you are not able to come to the ANA Library they can ship the books to you. I think shipping is free for Life Members. (I am also a Life Member but, since I live only 6 miles from ANA Headquarters, I just drive over whenever I need a book.)
  13. sunflower

    sunflower New Member

    Great question.
    I am enjoying reading the responses.
    Seems like some Estate Appraisers of coins might be related to the weasle family.
  14. jallengomez

    jallengomez Cessna 152 Jockey

    Know a tiny amount about a lot of things and carry a Red Book. That seems to be the requisites for coin appraisers. I know some fine and knowledgeable people who do appraisals, but as Doug pointed out, most don't know anything more about coins than to take a Red Book, stab in the dark about grade, and make a call.
  15. coloradotokens

    coloradotokens Junior Member

    Hobo, my avatar is in fact a Lesher dollar, still trying to figure out how to load a good image on CT as I do not get on the site that often. The story of Joseph Lesher is one of my favorites and anyone who is interested can learn more about him at
    I kind of live it the area of ANA, about 60 miles away so I do get down there from time to time and will take your advice on meeting with someone there who might also be able to help me out. Face to face meets are the best way to gather info but it can be hard to for some people to find the time, unless you can catch them at lunch or something.
    I have done some research based from the posts that were left on here and I noticed that when doing a search of PNG dealers in Colorado there are only three off the PNG site. Also I know a former president of the PNG who canceled his membership because they say one thing but sometimes do another and he said that some members get special privileges meaning that when there is a grey area when it comes to ethics sometime the organization will look the other way. I mean what has the PNG ever really done? I do enjoy reading about how the PNG always offers rewards when a coin dealer gets robbed, but what I really want to see is the PNG represent the coin community and push for the 1099 bill repeal.
    I also did a search for certified appraisers for coins in Colorado off the American Society of Appraisers and there was like only two people for the whole state. I look back to my original question and I agree with the moderator that I need to chat with the judge, because she is the only one who can advise me on the matter. I have come to the conclusion that anyone really can become an appraiser, but it’s a bit tougher to get appointed through the courts.
    In response to jallengomez, it does seem that anyone can pick up a red book and assume they are an appraiser. In my opinion the best part of the red book is the info being mintage, and pictures; you have to take the pricing with a few grains of salt. It’s not even 2011 and they are about release the 2012 prices, and my question is how do they know what the marker and economy will be in one year. It’s also my opinion that the greyhen, green sheet, blue sheet and past auction prices realized are better indicators to a coins value rather than the red book.
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