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To Contact Melissa Fouse Appraisals

March 28th, 2015 by Melissa Fouse

Call 907-744 -5100

Should I melt down Granny’s Silver?

May 12th, 2012 by Melissa Fouse

Probably not.  Antique sterling silver in good condition often has value above the price per ounce.  There will always be a market for beautiful old things.  For instance, an identical silver cake knife to this one I recently appraised  sold for $836.50 at auction in 2007.   Although silver is metal, it is soft and can be damaged.  Old silver can be over-polished, so be gentle.


Antique Silver Cake Slice

Hooper Bay Basket

May 11th, 2012 by Melissa Fouse


Hooper Bay Basket 1970s:  This fabulous Hooper Bay Basket from the 1970s exemplifies the basket maker’s art.  Note the symmetry of construction and the even and tight stitching.  When looking at baskets, run your thumb down the ouside from top to bottom.  It should feel like silk.  When appraising baskets, I always look at the quality of the weaving, the size, and the condition.  Retail Replacement Value on a basket of this size and quality is in the neighborhood of $1500.  So be kind to your baskets!  Like all fine objects they should be kept out of the sun, dusted regularly, and never kept in the kitchen.  

Cleaning Out Your Closet

May 11th, 2012 by Melissa Fouse

It is not uncommon to have the yen in Springtime to clean out closets, excavate from under the stairs, and open up those old boxes languishing in the basement. Objects often appreciate in value over the years. If you have any doubt at all about what you have and what it may be worth, call an appraiser! I recently walked through an estate and found several thousand dollars worth of artwork unrecognized by the owner, among them an original Rie Munoz painting.   Part of my practice is to walk through and identify what should most likely be appraised.  If you think that is a service you can use, please feel free to contact me.

What is a Personal Property Appraisal?

May 19th, 2011 by Melissa Fouse

It is an opinion of value, set by the market, done by a qualified appraiser.

All Melissa Fouse Appraisals reports adhere to and exceed the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice developed by the Appraisal Foundation.  The Appraisal Foundation is authorized by Congress as the sole source of standards for appraisals and appraiser qualifications.  Our reports are comprehensive, certified and bound documents and may be used in court.


A qualified appraiser looks at the object to be appraised, determines the value in the appropriate marketplace, and produces a report.  That is the short version, of course.

  • Looking at an object involves assessing condition, taking measurements, taking photographs, and making thorough notes on any damage, markings, or special attributes.
  • Determining value in the appropriate marketplace requires that the appraiser understand the best marketplace for an object and how a particular object will fit into that marketplace.  It also requires knowledge of market conditions generally and specifically as those conditions may relate to the object being examined.
  • Reports not only describe the object and its value, but also typically must contain a privacy policy statement, a certification that the appraiser has no financial interest in the object, limiting terms and conditions, and a glossary of the technical terms used in the report.  A report for one object may be as many as 20 pages.


Specific purposes may include:

  • Insurance scheduling (special insurance for a particular object) and relocation
  • Probate of estates for both State and Internal Revenue Service requirements
  • Charitable Contributions which are subject to Internal Revenue Service rules
  • Equitable Distribution purposes such as Estate Planning, Prenuptial Agreements, and Marital Property division.
  • Damage and Loss Claims
  • Expert Witness Testimony & Litigation Support


  • Fine Art to include original paintings, prints, and Alaska Native Arts
  • Antiques and decorative items such as porcelain, fine china, crystal, and silver as well as antique furniture
  • Heirlooms and other tangible assets

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