Estate Appraisal Services

Capsule & Litchfield perform estate appraisals of tangible property for probate or equitable distribution. Our appraisals cover all manner of items found in an estate: jewelry, sculpture, antiques, paintings, prints, books, maps, silver, rugs and carpets, porcelain, glass, 20th century design, lamps, mirrors and so much more.


Yes, Capsule & Litchfield do provide auction valuations and estate appraisals of tangible property for probate or equitable distribution. We can appraise all manner of items found in an estate: jewelry, sculpture, antiques, paintings, prints, silver, carpets, porcelain, glass, 20th-century design, lamps, mirrors, couture, luxury items, maps, books, and so much more.

Property evaluations for sale at auction are provided at no-cost.

Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant estate appraisals for other purposes are fee based.

Depending on your needs there are a few ways to value property. For heirs and executors looking to sell property through auction, our experts can provide free auction estimates based on Fair Market Value. These evaluations represent what we believe the items would sell for at auction. Another option that some clients prefer is an offer to purchase. Many of our clients have used an outright purchase price as the value of their tangible assets when reporting to the IRS.

We can also provide appraisals for tax purposes, equitable distribution of property, or just for you to know the value. This service is available at competitive rates. Our appraisers are experienced experts and accredited members of the Appraisers Association of America. Our fee-based appraisals are legal documents that will stand up in court or for the IRS and follow the guidelines of the (USPAP). Fees for this work are billed on an hourly basis for time spent on-site, research performed off-site, and travel where applicable.

Insurance appraisals can also be arranged for a fee. These appraisals determine expected cost of Retail Replacement Value in case of theft or damage and do not necessarily reflect prices achieved at auction.

Capsule & Litchfield appraisals are our professional opinion of value. After a short conversation to determine the appropriate type of appraisal for you we will recommend the most suitable expert(s). 

If the evaluation is intended for a consignment or purchase offer we will schedule a no-cost visit to view the property (in some situations this can be done remotely or from a spreadsheet).

On-site, the appraiser(s) will inspect the contents of the home or apartment, take inventory, document with photography, and will then conduct additional research off-site. 

In order to evaluate each item our appraisers must determine exactly what it is.  Is it a painting, watercolor, print? Is it signed? By whom? Is it an important work by an artist or just a casual sketch? Is it a gold watch or a gold-plated watch? Do you have an antique George II chest or is it a reproduction? The foundation of accurate evaluation and appraisal is knowledge and experience, and this is what our appraisers bring to their work.

From there we can provide sales estimates, determine selling commission and fees, as well as offer an auction schedule in which the items will be offered.

For appraisals that are not conducted for auction purposes, a fee is charged. All costs are disclosed upfront. You will receive a fee schedule and contract before scheduling the visit . This type of appraisal must be conducted in person. 

Our experts will do all of the above mentioned research and ultimately submit their report to you as a signed document which will include detailed descriptions of the items, their values, and an outline of the process by which values were determined.

Fair market value (FMV) is a selling price for an item to which a buyer and seller can be expected to agree upon at a given time. For the purpose of selling property  — the valuation reflects the current market.

Fair market value is determined by researching sales results of comparable items which have appeared recently in the public marketplace. For estate items such as antiques, fine art, jewelry, asian art, rare books and 20th-century design, auction databases are an invaluable resource. Capsule & Litchfield maintain subscriptions to the industry’s best databases that aggregate results from salerooms across the world and provide relevant data regarding the auction at which it was offered (date of sale, location, and, of course, price realized).

After finding results for comparable items, our appraisers compare and contrast. Is the example in your estate larger, more attractive, in better condition, earlier, more or less important, made of better material, etc.? Factors surrounding the recorded sales event are also considered. Did the comparable item have exceptional provenance or was it sold to benefit a charitable cause? Did the sale take place in a country whose economy was much stronger when the sale occurred, or has the market for that type of item changed dramatically since the sale? Using an understanding of how the market has since developed and their best judgment, our appraisers can confidently ascribe value.

For everyone’s health and safety, we are taking every precaution to avoid any potential spread of COVID-19. In all aspects of our work and personal lives, we each take serious care and preventative measures, including rigorous social distancing and mask wearing. We monitor our health and are regularly tested for COVID-19. 

Onsite visits begin with thorough hand washing or sanitizer. The entire appointment is conducted with masks on. We ask anyone in the house to do the same. Furthermore, we maintain at least six feet of distance and especially in smaller spaces, ask that windows be kept open. All Capsule & Litchfield representatives including specialists, assistants, photographers, art handlers, and our transportation team practice social distancing and wear masks at all times.

In situations where additional precautions are necessary it is possible to evaluate property for auction remotely, by video conference, photographs, and documents. Even if an eventual visit is required, preliminary images and an inventory description can reduce the amount of time we will need to inspect.

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