Personal Property Appraisal: The Court and Settlement

One of the really big early personal property appraisals that I did was involved in a court case dealing with a divorce settlement.  The wife, in this case, had a very large doll collection.  I was contacted by an attorney and asked if I could do an appraisal on her doll collection.  I accepted the assignment, and set about to appraise a collection of dolls that amounted to about 300 individual pieces.


At the time, I knew several stores that sold dolls, and a couple of these sold dolls almost exclusively.  I contacted them and found out that there were a group of people, locally, that  had very large doll collections, some in excess of 500 dolls.  I contacted a few of these in soon found that there were some of them that would be glad to help me.  I went out and bought some doll books and read them from front to back before I did my inspection on the subject dolls.  I also took with me one of the collectors that I had introduced myself to, who had a doll collection that numbered approximately 600 dolls.


One of the first things you learn if you are going to be an appraiser is that if you cannot identify something properly, you cannot appraise it.  I went to inspect this stall collection along with my doll expert and between us we set about identifying each one of our subject dolls.  Once you learn the basics about this, it is not all that difficult.  It took us a long time to look at each one of these dolls, but we got them identified, and then all we had to do was the research.  This was the easy part.


I then wrote an appraisal report about the value of these dolls and subsequently testified in court as to my findings.  I knew enough about these dolls to be declared by the court to be an expert witness.  The other side did not have an appraisal, so because courts decide issues based upon what facts they have, not based upon facts that they think they know themselves, we were successful, because we were the only side to introduce facts into the record concerning the value of each one of these dolls.  That was the very first time I testified in court, and although I was very nervous, I had a very good time.