- Joe Cornell
- February 15th, 2017
- Personal Property Appraisal
I am an accredited, certified professional appraiser of personal property. I performed my first appraisal in 1972, on July 27. At that time I was 25 years old, but I knew a lot about firearms, more than most, more than anyone I knew at the time except my Father, so when he was asked to provide an authentication for a particular weapon that was very valuable, I was given the call, and I traveled to Lebanon, Pennsylvania to take a look at the particular weapon involved. The firearm was not what it was supposed to be, so I guess you could say, I saved my Client $25,000 in cash and kept him from making a very big mistake.
In this case, my Client was a very famous celebrity type from Las Vegas, Nevada. Well, he put the word out to friends of his who were also collectors and I started getting telephone calls asking me to authenticate particular weapons and/or to give my opinion as to what a particular gun/weapon might be worth. At that time, I believe I was the only person in the United States that was doing what I was doing, and could do what I was doing. It was a great start to a fabulous career that is both exciting and rewarding.
My Mother had taught me about American antique furniture and other American antiques/collectibles. She was particularly attracted to early American cut glass. In order to expand my ability to make money as an appraiser I immediately undertook the task of educating myself about all types of American things that people were collecting. At that time, it was not a full-time thing, but I made as much money doing that as I did with my other enterprises. You see, it did not take me very long to understand that if you have valuable information and there are people that want it, or need it, you can charge a respectable rate for your knowledge. It is kind of like being an attorney, or a doctor. They have very specialized information and if you need it you are more than likely willing to pay the going rate for it.
So how did I teach myself about all of these things? It is simple: I read every book I could get my hands on, and I went around to every antique store, every junk store, that I can find, on a regular basis, and I also went to every auction and estate sale that I could find that was within about 50 miles of where I was living at the time. I would say that I averaged at least 2 auctions and to estate sales a week for the next 35 years. If you do these kinds of things, your are going to learn a lot about things that people are collecting and willing to pay money to own.
It did not take me long to be able to tell people that I can appraise almost everything in your house, your barn, your garage, your shed, or your pasture.