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Taxidermy appraisal

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by CJFOUTDOORS, Oct 25, 2015.



    Looking for some assistance. .....have been practicing taxidermy for over 35 years and have been requested for the first time ever to do an appraisal of app.80-100 mounts for a divorce settlement.
    The problem I have is I don't know if I should charge by the mount or by the hour.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    By the hour is how I would handle it and the clock starts when I leave my shop until I leave their place. Have done for insurance purposes but never divorce.

  3. bowerbird

    bowerbird New Member

    by the hour, at YOUR expertise rate ,,,35 years ,,, probably longer in a profession than the legal beagle.
    just remember lawyers charge up to 500 an hour, 5 bucks a photocopy and 10 bucks a phone call without time interval charge,,,,, and we all pay it.
    Keep in mind you will have to collate, with descriptions, and research what similar values of similar items are on the market and there will be plenty of after hours work compiling a professional report .
  4. James Parrish

    James Parrish Tundra Swan...Its What's For Dinner!

    Don't forget to charge for research, also. When I have appraised mounts in the past, I spent as much time or more doing research on the values of skins/horns as I did looking/measuring the mounts.
  5. John Janelli

    John Janelli New Member

    The world's most experienced taxidermy appraiser, the late Jack Jonas, wrote many an article about appraisals from both ends of the spectrum. It is certainly not an easy task to perform and for several reasons. There is no "Blue Book" of values on taxidermy work. Even when and if replacement costs of skins can be verified, there is no guarantee of the legality in which replacement skins, antlers, horns, etc. may still be procured. Add to that current IRS rulings pertaining to the value of hunting trophies and the red tape just turns blood red with both accountability and responsibility which falls upon the one doing the actual appraisals. In the voluminous records and documentation that Mr. Jonas left to us, even he at best could not appraise a given mount for anything more than contemporary retail taxidermy costs. For example, he would look at a life size black bear mount that included a great deal of habitat and base work, in additional to high quality work on the bear itself, and after taking an average of 4 or 5 professional taxidermists fees, could derive an acceptable figure that would satisfy the needs of that current situation.
    Gone are the days when the plane fare, travel expenses, licenses and all the other incidentals combined could give an estate, insurance company (barring separate rider coverage per trophy) or divorce settlement the full value of one's investment in a collection, whether several trophy mounts or a mountain of trophies.
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Thank you JJ for relaying that information. I was thinking the same thing, you cannot put a dollar amount on a trophy other than what it costs to have the mount completed. The OP said it was a divorce case, I can't believe a judge would even consider them in a settlement.