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Appraisal Policy

The Kansas Historical Society is unable to provide appraisals of the monetary value of materials offered as gifts, brought in for identification, or submitted for any other purpose.

The Internal Revenue Service regards libraries and museums as interested parties, and considers appraisals prepared by them as subject to question. This resulted because some libraries and museums in the past competed for gifts by providing high appraisals. Consequently, to protect both its donors and itself, the Society, as an interested party, ordinarily should not appraise gifts made to it. Most libraries and museums now follow appraisal policies similar to ours.

When an appraisal is used for tax or insurance purposes, an appraiser must be prepared to defend his or her appraisal in court. This requires an expert knowledge of prices. The Society is not in the business of buying and selling on a daily basis, so staff members cannot provide current market information. Furthermore, appraisers often have much more extensive collections of price guides and related bibliographies than can be found in most libraries.

Similar considerations apply when appraisals are requested for reasons not connected with gifts and tax deductions. Accurate establishment of a price can be a complex procedure, requiring a time-consuming search in auction records and price guides that we are unable to undertake.

The Society provides a list of appraisers operating in Kansas and nearby states as a service to its donors.

Appraisers in your area also can be identified by checking the telephone directory under headings such as "Appraiser" and "Antique-Dealers." The Appraisers Association of America, Inc., 541 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022, will send a directory of members for a small fee. For printed works and manuscripts, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, 10020, also publishes a directory of members.

For on-line resources, consult the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America. These web sites offer searchable listings of appraisers.

You should expect to pay an appraisal fee unless materials are subsequently purchased by the appraiser. For income tax purposes, fees paid for the appraisal of materials donated to a qualifying charitable institution are deductible within the limits established by law.