• Content:What Is An Appraisal
    • Content: Who Qualifies As An Appraiser
    • Content: Types Of Appraisals
    • Content: When Do I Require An Appraisal
    • Content: Do's and Dont's
    • Content: The Appraiser
    • Content: Appraisers Background
    • Content: Where Do I Go From Here
    • Content: Featured Articles
What Is An Appraisal? An appraisal according to the New World Dictionary states, an item or items being appraised,  An appraised Value or price, especially, an expert valuation for taxation, tariff duty, sale, estate, donation, etc.  Black's Law Dictionary defines an appraisal as "a valuation or an estimation of value of property by disinterested persons of suitable qualifications" and "the process of ascertaining a value of an asset or liability that involves expert opinion rather than explicit market transactions"

Who Qualifies As An Appraiser? Anyone can be an appraiser however to better serve your needs it is recommended to contact a professional and there are organizations that certify and test individuals interested in the field of appraising.  The American Society of Appraisers is one of several organizations that tests and certifies its members (Members  tested and certified can be located throughout the United States and some foreign countries by searching the American Society of Appraisers Website).  An appraisal prepared by a professional appraiser identifies clearly the appraisal questions (objective) for the appraisal, the intended use (function) of the appraisal, and the type of value (purpose) being estimated. Still another criteria as important are Ethical Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.  One such set of guidelines that certified appraisers must comply with are those required by The American Society of Appraisers (Principles of Appraisal Practice and Code of Ethics) as well as those of The Appraisal Foundation ,best known as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, USPAP.  You are assured to have both quality and high standards if you elect to engage an appraiser with these qualifications.

Types Of Appraisals. Probably the two most common appraisals you are familiar with are Real Estate and Personal Property, however also frequently requested appraisals are for Gems and Jewelry, Machinery & Equipment and Business Valuation.  This site will concentrate specifically with Personal Property and with a specific and specialized category.

When Do I Require An Appraisal? I am sure you are asking yourself when do I require an appraisal or is it even necessary?  It all depends on the circumstances and the appraisers first concern and question to you, What Is The Intended Use and Purpose for the Appraisal?  In Personal Property the most common requests for an appraisal is for Insurance Scheduling.  Lets say you believe you have an item (collectible) that might be valuable but you really are not certain. If you don't know then you should consider contacting a qualified appraiser.  The Valuation for Specific Purposes and Intended Use in this instance would be Estimating Replacement Value for Insurance Coverage.  In other words, you want to know exactly what the item is worth so that it now has a designated Estimated Replacement Value assigned and can be scheduled in your Home Owners Policy  for future reference should anything happen to cause possible loss or damage.  While we are discussing this particular subject regarding Insurance, do not assume that your Home Owners Policy will cover the entire loss in full of the item (collectible) that might be damaged.   If you believe you have an item (collectible) that has a potential high dollar value, you need to contact your Insurance agent and have them go over your policy and discuss just exactly what you can expect to receive as a payment for the item (collectible) if damage or loss should occur.  The previous sentence bears repeating once again, do not, I repeat do not assume that you will receive full payment for a loss or damage based on a standard Home Owners Policy.  Insurance companies will only pay the allowable amount based on what your policy states and in most instances that will never be the full value unless you have specifically scheduled that item (collectible) so that the loss or damage now becomes minimal.  Keep in mind the Insurance company you have your policy with has no clue what you have in your home other than what they refer to as household contents or goods.  The first order of business is to take a general inventory of the contents in your home and if you are not certain about a specific item that could be valuable chances are pretty good you will require a written appraisal to prove its Estimated Value.  There are other reasons for requiring an appraisal and they are for Charitable Contribution, Estate Tax, Dissolution of Marriage etc., but each has its own Specific Purpose and Intended Use.

Do's and Dont's. Appraisers who provide a service especially when certified and tested are professionals. They are here to serve you in every possible way but require as much cooperation that you can possibly provide.  Those who are certified through appraisal organizations will have a designation after their name.  In the case of those whose membership is with the American Society of Appraisers will have either an AM (Accredited Member) designation or ASA (Accredited Senior Appraiser) designation.  These are individuals who like other professionals, Attorney's, CPA's Doctors, etc., are required to maintain their certification and must do so by attending classes through continuing education.  After reading these first few sentences you might be wondering what does this have to do with the Content title of this section?  The following are the Do's and Don'ts when considering whether or not you require an appraisal.  By all means Do contact an appraiser if you feel you have an appraisal need, again listed is a contact source of appraisers for all your needs.  We are here to assist you, but know as professionals we must charge a fee for our services.  When you contact an appraiser Do ask questions regarding what your needs are.  Do be specific as to why you believe you require an appraisal and if you are not certain ask the appraiser for guidance.  The only way we can be of assistance is with your ability to provide as much information as possible.  The appraiser when you Do call for possible assistance will tell you whether or not he/she is qualified to take on the assignment based on the information you provide. If you are calling an appraiser to request a value for an item you have, Do by all means tell him/her that you are seeking this information because you want to sell the item if that is your intent. All items may not necessarily require having a written appraisal especially based on the desire to sell and the appraiser can again direct you towards the best solution for your needs.  Don't be upset if the appraiser states he/she is not able to assist you with your appraisal needs. With the case of a Personal Property item (collectible) Don't ask the appraiser over the phone or via email how much your collectible is worth.  The appraisal process can be both lengthy and time consuming done correctly, this is why you want to employ a professional to prepare the appraisal.  Don't fail to tell the appraiser if someone recommended you, professionals always recognize and appreciate this information.

The Appraiser.  Now that you have the basics on appraising and hopefully a better understanding I would like to properly  introduce myself and the area of expertise and certification I retain as an appraiser.  My name is NoŽl Burndahl and my specialty is in Personal Property , Classified Specialties, Automatic Musical Instruments.  So that you fully understand my area of expertise let us define what the term Automatic Musical Instrument is according to Q. David Bowers dictionary term listed in the Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments.  An Automatic Musical Instrument is a musical instrument which plays a musical composition programmed on a pinned cylinder, disc, music roll, or other device, and which (usually) requires no musical knowledge on the part of the operator.  A self-playing or mechanical musical instrument.  The term "automatic" was originally used to describe all types of self-playing instruments.  Although the term "mechanical" is often used synonymously today, "mechanical" is used originally to describe instruments with sophisticated expression capabilities (e.g., certain large orchestrions, player pipe organs, reproducing pianos).  Motive power for an automatic musical instrument may be provided by spring-wound clockwork, by an electric motor, by a weight-driven system, by foot-pumping, by turning a hand crank, or by other means.  What is this in simple terms.  These are collectibles that were the entertainment for Royalty to the simplest of individuals, primarily turn of the century, mainly of the 1750 -1940 era.  They were the music boxes, player pianos, nickelodeons, band organs, calliopes and so many more to numerous to mention that became the music and entertainment of the day.  Today these items (collectibles) have become the entertainment for the next generations.  Individuals collect them primarily to enjoy but also know (these are the knowledgeable collectors) they have accumulative value for investment.  As the appraiser I provide a written document based on your needs to identify as well as clarify value so that if something should happen that would cause loss or damage the collectible will be properly covered when kept on record especially if it is scheduled with your insurance carrier.  If your needs are for Estate, Charitable Contribution, Dissolution of Marriage, Damage or Loss, etc., I can also provide a written document that will support the current value in the current market.  Please know that as a professional I cannot provide costs to prepare an appraisal on this Website but will be more than happy to discuss my fees when you contact me.  As stated earlier in my presentation, there are three main tasks that must be accomplished when preparing an appraisal document.  They include, field work (viewing the items to be valued), research, and preparing the written document.  It sometimes seems like it should be a simple cut and dry operation especially if you are familiar with watching the Antiques Roadshow and I know so many of you who will be reading this material do watch, but it isn't quite that simple nor is it a value based on a range. For your information the reason they provide a range is because they usually are discussing Auction Value.  In the end there is a definite single value even after an auction is completed not a range between x amount of dollars.   Depending on the type of appraisal requested determines how much time might possibly be involved in preparing the document.  Know this, if an appraisal is prepared properly, I must comply with my certification requirements as prescribed by The American Society of Appraisers and The Appraisal Foundation, not only is it a living document but one that should be supportable.  I have included a few photographs of Automatic Musical Instruments on this site for you to view.  Please know that the number of collectibles in this particular category are numerous.  If you are curious, I mentioned earlier in this section regarding the definition of what an Automatic Musical Instrument is, comes from a wonderful source called The Encyclopedia Of Automatic Musical Instruments, by Q. David Bowers.  This book is excellent reading but difficult to obtain now.  This book  demonstrates nicely how large the field of Automatic Musical Instruments truly is and it has even expanded beyond its publication date due to locating more items.

Appraisers Background. I actually started my journey to appreciating this interesting field of Automatic Musical Instruments at the tender age of 2Ĺ years old.  My first experience was to visit and listen to a music box (Mira Empress Concert Grand) at the amusement park Knotts Berry Farm located in Buena Park, California.  From that time forward as a child growing up I enjoyed seeking these incredible sounding music boxes at antique shops or any other location that might have them.  Fast forwarding, at 16, I joined an organization known as The Musical Box Society International  and became the youngest member.  Attending local meetings of member collectors expanded my knowledge of all the numerous collectibles that were available to be owned but little did I know or realize it was even greater than what I was viewing.  This allowed me the opportunity to see more of what actually makes up this wonderful world of mechanical musical instruments.  At the age of 20 I had the most unique experience become reality when I became employed by a firm then known in 1967 as Hathaway & Bowers, Incorporated.  This facility was filled with hundreds of Automatic Musical Instruments available for sale to the public and a stock that seemed to be endless.  When joining the organization I became their manager in charge of sales but also was involved in restoration as well as preparation of the catalog that was circulated to over 12,000 individuals at that time.  It was like a kid being in a candy shop with so many items to choose from and the education was and is still to this day the greatest opportunity someone would have take place in their life who started out enjoying a music box at 2Ĺ years of age and now being able to share and learn the experience of how vast this field of collecting actually is. Other responsibilities included purchasing for the company and travel.  Also I was involved in and with the restoration department that was located at the facility.  I learned but was also self taught to restore the pneumatic systems, instruments including player pianos, nickelodeons, band organs and of course music boxes.  As the years went by, the firm took on two more partners and the name changed to American International Galleries, Inc.  The company became even more diversified and we started selling antiques and decorative arts collectibles.  Amongst those included some mechanical machines, arcade machines but primarily clocks, all styles and types of furniture, paintings, etc.  The chapter finally came to a close working for the owners of both firms and I branched out on my own but not before being employed by two brothers to assist in putting together both a private museum as well as an impressive collection of Automatic Musical Instruments.  This was located in Glendora, California and my role amongst many was Curator, restorer, purchasing, and more.  The collection consisted primarily of the Automatic Musical Instruments as well as Classic Cars but also included antique and decorative arts along with other collectibles.  That was a fifteen year project and the owners decided to move to Florida which I decided not to follow.  My own place of business opened in 1992 however prior to that time I had already been working privately as an appraiser.  I did my appraisal service from home and after hours since my commitment was to my employers.  I currently am located in Arcadia, California and have both restoration services as well as an appraisal service. You probably are also asking, do you collect and the answer of course is yes.  I have selected instruments that have special meaning to me.  During the years I worked for Hathaway & Bowers, Inc./American International Galleries, Inc., I learned to love and enjoy all of the mechanical musical instruments.  I would have to say what impresses/impressed me most is how phenomenal they are not only as a beautiful work of art but how sophisticated the music compositions can be knowing they were manufactured long before our electronic age.  Until you have experienced the pleasure and joy of listening to a quality music box, nickelodeon, orchestrion, band organ, etc., you have no concept as to each instruments capabilities.  All those who have had the pleasure of either hearing one or owning one will share their own joy and experiences.  I have been appraising over 25 years and have been certified with The American Society of Appraisers for 20 years with the Accredited Senior Appraiser designation, ASA, in Personal Property Classified Specialties Automatic Musical Instruments.

Where Do I Go From Here? Only you can decide based on what you have read.  What I can say, it doesn't cost a thing outside of your time to contact me and ask questions but please keep in mind that if it is determined you will require an appraisal I must charge for my services,  I do not and will not provide values of any items you want a value for without going through the appraisal process. Part of my responsibilities and what I am hoping to portray on this site is there is a process which I as an appraiser must perform and I will do so to the best of my ability.  I mentioned the Antiques Roadshow earlier on this site and I want you to understand, that is a great program, but that truly is not an appraisal other than verbal.  Anyone can tell you something is worth so much but without the appropriate market information demonstrating why you express a value must have proof along with the source that you are obtaining that value from and why you now have listed the price/value in a document.  All of the individuals who are involved with that show will and should tell you the same thing.  The program tends to make appraising look simple but if you listen clearly, they will mention they have resources they are searching to obtain a value or they are seeking help from their colleagues also to obtain a value.  I can be reached at .  I will try my best to answer your questions.  Again please remember that I am not a Musical Instrument Specialist, one who appraises musical instruments.  That is an area of expertise in and of itself and if you have items you are interested having appraised such as trumpets, trombones, guitars, flutes, violins, violas, harps, etc., I cannot assist you.  I can recommend those individuals who specialize in appraising musical instruments. I am able to help you provided the items are all in my specialty area.  As a side note because player pianos, nickelodeons, orchestrions generally all have a piano as their basic instrument I am very capable and qualified to appraise pianos.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Protect Your Investments.

Trusted Appraisers

A year ago I along with fellow professional appraisers members of The American Society of Appraisers were requested by Family Circle Magazine to conduct an appraisal of selected antiques or as the article indicates Hidden Treasures. The May edition will have the full story, what those Hidden Treasures were that each appraiser was provided to render an Estimated Value and the appraiser involved. Those appraisers selected are accredited experts listed at the Virginia-based American Society of Appraisers that provided well-researched, reliable estimates of the hidden treasures one might find in your home.  The article as indicated will be featured in May and the site will be posted as soon as it becomes available. For now you may click on the title Trusted Appraisers and it will connect to the Website listing those involved whose appraisals were featured in the Article along with additional information.  It is important to understand any feature article written is always limited to space so it provides the very basics each trusted appraiser who was selected must comply with to provide the final Estmated Value.  I would especially like to caution all who read the article by sharing, there is a tremendous amount more work involved and so you are only seeing as one might say the tip of the iceberg.  I can assure you the item I was involved with an Estey Upright Piano, included a half day just to go view the piano, take photographs, measurements,  describe the condition, listen to the tonal quality and ask questions of the owner that I felt were important so that I could then take that information back to my business and now start to prepare the physical document.  There are processes and procedures we each must attend to before we complete what then becomes the appraisal document.  I know many reading this right now probably watch or have watched the Antiques Roadshow and although you are told what the person whose item/s being shown and discussed is not even remotely close to what we the Trusted Appraiser must do to comply with our organizations Principle of Appraisal Practice and Code of Ethics. It is a great show to inform the viewer but there is so much more involved. The Purpose as well as the Intended Use of the appraisal will dictate the process we apply to provide the final Estatimate of Value and trust me it is not a range either as expressed on the show.  There is a definite process involved and each of us takes our role as the Trusted Appraiser very seriously because we want the individual were are preparing the document for to feel they received the very best.  I hope you enjoy the article and I will say without a doubt I am honored to have been selected as one who was requested to prepare an appraisal document.

I hope you find the article interesting

Featured Articles.  This section is devoted to articles dealing both with the appraisal, profession, the appraisal process, as well as how to consider whether or not you even require or need an appraisal. There will be other related articles that should also be helpful with making the right decision.  For your convenience just click on Featured Articles.

Links: Please note, that the item shown as links to the left or top is important to view and relates to individuals or organizations I consider extremely valuable and important relative to the collecting of Automatic Musical Instruments.  More links related to the entire site will also be added relating to each category so be sure to check into this section often for any new additions or updates. I especially want to thank those individuals who have allowed me this opportunity to list them since I consider them important and without them my site would not be complete. © 2007, all rights reserved!