A & D Musical Instrument Appraisals – Accredited Senior Appraiser – Musical Instruments and Expert Witness, Rebecca Apodaca, prepares IRS and USPAP compliant musical instrument appraisals for all instruments. Vintage guitar appraisal are her specialty » A and D Music, A&D Music, AD Music, litigation, Guitar Expert, Musical Instrument Expert, Expert Services, Guitar expert witness, rock band equipment.

What’s A Certified Appraisal? Why have one?

As per Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practices USPAP . . .


There is an applied science to accurately appraising the value of any instrument. A Certified Appraisal has many elements of information that need to be recorded, photographed, measured, checked and verified for accuracy in identification, condition and history of ownership. The Certified Appraisal Report is a legal document that will hold up in court. There can be legal ramifications to the appraiser for under or overvaluing an item, with financial penalties to the appraiser. Certified Appraisers are paid legal rates because of this research and responsibility. They are a disinterested third party who is paid an hourly or flat rate and not a percentage of the value The values are just not our opinion. We are required to base the value on comparable sales similar to a real estate appraisal. If we can not find a comparable sale, then we have to find the nearest make, model and year and then, through systematic analysis, we set the value. Our reports must be bound and can not be photocopied. The item must be personally inspected or have a Conservator Report.

Some of information included: There are many elements to an appraisal report and its purpose determines what will be included. An appraisal should have the name of client, the effective date of value. If a judge is reading it, they might not know what a guitar truss rod is, trumpet’s first valve trigger, a violin’s flamed back, or a sax’s rolled tone-holes. This information would be written into a glossary. Here is some of the other information that might be included in an appraisal report.

Type of Value – must be listed to distinguish if it is Fair Market Value (one person selling to another,) Replacement Value Comparable (same year, make & model,) Replacement Value – New (retail value) Liquidation Value (orderly or forced,) Salvage Value (value of recoverable parts) or Scrap Value (value of recoverable materials)

Literal Description of property – Measurements, date and age, manufacturer, materials, distinguishing features, markings, logo, condition and value conclusion. The Narrative includes summaries of the factual and literal description. It includes an analysis of the market research including an argument for the value. Photos.

Privacy Policy – An appraiser and their staff are not allowed to discuss the names and specific details of an assignment without written permission. We are under rules established by the Federal Trade Commission. The reports are to be kept in a locked file cabinet. Any employee that might have access has to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Limiting Conditions – Statement included that the opinion of value is only for the stated valuation date and only for the stated intended use. An appraiser is to be a disinterested third party. They are a disinterested third party who is paid an hourly or flat rate and not a percentage of the value. They should have no interest in buying or selling the item and if they do, it needs to be stated in the report.

Bibliography – Sources consulted such as publications, dealers, auction houses, experts

Comparable sales – We have to try and find sources of actual sales of a comparable item.

Glossary – words not in common language of average person needs to be listed.

Certification – Report must be compliant with USPAP specifications

Appraiser Credentials – The appraiser needs to show their appraisal education and work background according to their area of expertise. They need to belong to a recognized appraisal organization. Credentials should include types of assignments the appraiser has accomplished.
An intake sheet needs to be filled out for anyone who calls for an appraisal. A log must be kept of all assignments. Reports have to be bound and kept for 5 years or two years after litigation. A written record must be kept by the appraiser of what was valued and the amount of value, even on a verbal appraisal. If at a party someone asks a Certified Appraiser to give them an idea if what an item is valued, the appraiser is required to record that value including the person’s name into their files.

Why have an Appraisal?
As musicians, the most important thing in our lives is our musical instruments. For some, even more important than their families. A lot of what we own was made before the turn of the century 1999-2000.

Home – At home, do this for your protection. You protect your home with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, you protect your car with auto insurance. You protect your business. Some of us have medical insurance. People think they are covered under the contents of the home but most homeowner’s insurance plans have a $2,000 cap on musical instruments. That cap is for ALL the instruments in your home, unless you have them scheduled. These caps have not been raised since the 1950’s. Many of us are privy to limited additions, prototypes, rare and unusual and celebrity owned instruments.

I have found that the insurance companies charge about $100 per $10,000 value per year.
Don’t let an insurance company give you $100 for that “old guitar” that just happens to be a 1920s Martin that is valued in the thousands. We have just had floods in Nashville, tornadoes are increasing and fire is always out there. The economy is bad and thieves are more knowledgeable about musical instruments.

Marriage Dissolution – Protect what you brought into a marriage or what you purchased during the marriage. These are the tools of our trade.

Touring Musicians – You need protection while you are on the road in case of damage or theft or if instruments are destroyed.

Estate Settlement – There needs to be an equitable distribution of assets to all beneficiaries in the event of death.

Tax Donation – If you are feeling generous and want to donate some or all of your collection to a museum, non-profit organization or a great charity event, then the IRS says you can receive a tax-credit for your generosity. You may receive Fair Market Value for your tax-donated instrument.

Hypothetical Appraisal – If you have lost an instrument or had it completely destroyed in a disaster, a hypothetical appraisal can sometimes be accepted. This is where the appraiser must reconstruct by photos and other evidence that the instrument did exist prior to the disaster.

In 2006 the IRS created the Pension Protection Act. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p561/ar02.html#d0e1653 In this, they decided that there is a requirement to have a “qualified appraisal” report written by a “qualified appraiser” for items that will be used in a tax return such as for Tax-Donation Credit, Estate Settlement or Dissolution of Marriage. I have been seeing more insurance companies following suit and also making the same requirements. According to IRS standards, a “qualified appraiser” is a member of a recognized appraisal organization, has completed education in appraisal studies, has experience in appraising, buying, selling that type of items and is not an excluded individual, such as the donee.

Become a Musical Instrument Appraiser – Our industry has unique knowledge. Visit the American Society of Appraisers www.appraisers.org for more information or contact Rebecca Apodaca at www.admusic.net

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