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Goods & Services June 2014: For What It’s Worth

  • Karen Cakebread

When Secret Service agents seized 2,200 fine-art photographs from a New York warehouse in 2012, they called on New York Fine Art Appraisers (www.nyfaa.com) to determine the worth of the trove of works by masters such as André Kertész, Edward Weston, and Alfred Stieglitz. The firm’s consultants have appraised everything from the art and furnishings at Rockefeller Center to Old Master paintings for a West Coast estate, but their expertise also extends to collectibles, fashion, and even wine. Following the launch of a branch in Los Angeles in 2012, NYFAA opened an office in West Palm Beach, Fla., last fall to serve both local clients and longtime New York clients who have second homes in South Florida.

“The Florida office has been off to a great start,” says Danielle Rahm, NYFAA’s executive director. “We were able to assist several clients with Art Basel Miami purchases and we will be offering guided tours to our clients next winter.” The new branch’s on-site experts’ areas of expertise include jewelry, Asian and contemporary art, and ancient artifacts, but the staff is backed by a nationwide network of specialists. The family-owned business was founded in 1980 by Rahm’s father, Jason, who is the president. Discretion is key: Most clients require privacy, so the firm uses a personalized approach—including advisory and curatorial services, representation at auction, and litigation support—while minimizing the number of people involved, to maintain confidentiality. Rahm says that an individual item can be appraised for as little as $150, but for large projects, an hourly rate includes on-site time and research.

While the company maintains a presence at prominent Florida art events, through sponsorships, lectures, and attendance, most of the office’s work there focuses on insurance, estate, divorce, and damage appraisals—services that many collectors require at some point in their lives.  

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