I am very often asked to do appraisals. First of all, I cannot provide that service because I am not licensed to do so. This morning I was asked about how to find the True Value of some turquoise pieces that a gal had owned for several decades. Following is my response.
I want to share a story. It's kind of raw, but it's how it happened and my lesson was learned. "True Value". That is a concept that is subject to each of us personally. The monetary value is what a buyer is willing to pay you for an item today. It's value to you is quite another thing.
I learned this lesson from a wise cowboy named Pete, years ago. We were in the barn with our horses and talking about the value of said horses. I had a beautiful Arabian horse just as I do now. He asked me what I thought my horse was worth. I said he's not for sale. He told me that if I had to sell him right now, he's worth $1000.00. I told him that the horse was sold as a colt for $10,000.00. (Not to me) and that he was a fancy Polish Arabian. He told me that if I had to sell him fast, he was worth $1.00 a pound to the meat killers and that was his true value right then, that day. If I wanted to look for a buyer and market him, train him to do wonderful things, show him, fix him up all pretty and advertise him then he would be worth more to the right buyer. But I would have to find that buyer. To me, the horse was priceless and not for sale at any price, but the lesson was learned.
True value of your pieces will depend on who is selling them, who is marketing them, what current trends are and who wants to buy them. In the end, if no one wants what you have and you need to sell those things fast, they go to the melter...for what they are worth in weight... or to a dealer who is willing to spend the money to market and advertise them. A dealer will not pay a collector price for a piece.
When I am buying I look for the best pieces that I can find. Usually the rare pieces are snatched up by collectors within minutes of my listing of them. Other pieces, even though I think that they are great, don't find homes quite as fast. It's just how it works. When that happens, I cut my losses and put them in the Messy Bowl to find someone else who loves that piece as much as I do.
So appraisals are basically for insurance purposes.
"True Value" is subject to many factors.