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[ Do I need an appraisal? | Alternatives to an appraisal ]


The Philadelphia Print Shop no longer offers appraisals of antique prints and maps and related books. However, some of this information may still be useful to those contemplating seeking an appraisal.

The cost of appraising an antique print, map or related book is sometimes not warranted either by the needs of the owner or by the value of the item in question. If you are unsure whether an appraisal would be appropriate for your needs, read our comments below.


Do I need an appraisal?

There are many reasons why someone wants to know the value of a print. Some of these warrant the expense of an appraisal, either formal or e-mail, and some do not.

It would be nice if one could obtain free appraisals, but it would also be nice to get free medical examinations or legal advice. If you are just curious, consider spending some effort and pursuing the alternatives to getting an appraisal.

Knowing whether to sell the item
As a word of advice, it is not usually cost-effective to have an appraisal before offering an item for sale. First, you might not gain enough advantage from the appraisal to recover its cost. Secondly, even if you ask for an appraisal indicating a wholesale price, each dealer figures wholesale prices differently depending on the nature of their business, their needs, cash flow, etc. Thus it is very difficult to come up with a wholesale price that would apply to a general range of dealers.

Finally, if you get an appraisal you may be eliminating one of your best options for selling the item in question. In order to receive a good appraisal, you should have it done by an expert in the field. However, this expert would likely be one of the potential buyers for the item and when a dealer performs an appraisal, then that dealer should not subsequently make an offer for the item. This would be an unethical conflict of interest.

Knowing how to treat the item
If you are unsure whether your print, map or book should have special handling or framing, etc., we are happy to advise you in this matter at no charge.

Estate or tax matters
These are the most common reasons for obtaining a formal appraisal.

Depending on the value of the item(s) in question and the nature of your policy, your insurance company may or may not require a formal appraisal.


Alternatives to an appraisal

There are two main ways to find values besides paying for an appraisal. Both of these require an effort on your part, but other than your time they don't cost anything.

Look on-line
If you browse our on-line gallery (and of course, other on-line galleries), you may be able to find items similar to that for which you are seeking a value. Though issues of state, edition, condition, etc. do affect values, this method can provide a general range of values for the item in question.

Reference books
There are quite a number of price guides for antique prints, maps and related books. These are based on dealer and auction prices. A good city or university library is likely to have one or two of these. Doing your own research may provide the information you are seeking. It is important to remember, however, that the prices gleaned from these guides can be inaccurate and must be understood in context. At best, price guides offer only a general range of values for the items listed.


To contact us; call, write, fax or e-mail to:

PPS Logo The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.
8441 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118 USA
(215) 242-4750 [Phone]
(215) 242-6977 [Fax]
PhilaPrint@PhilaPrintShop.comMail Box

©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd., 2019