As seen in the Huffington Post- An Expert Shares in Buying And Appraising Silver

People sometimes get cheated buying silver. As an appraiser, I have heard of some incredible mistakes people have made both in the United States and abroad. Read more>

Published by Associated Press December 06, 2013

Andy Warhol portrait appraised by Lee Drexler for celebrity case

LOS ANGELES – An Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett currently held by actor Ryan O’Neal is worth an estimated $12 million, an appraiser told a jury Friday. New York art appraiser Lee Drexler testified in a lawsuit by the University of Texas at Austin against the actor in which the school is seeking to […]


Appraising Personal Property in Divorce
Consider Using a Single, Neutral Professional


When an appraiser is retained to appraise tangible personal property (for example, fine arts, furniture, antiques, jewelry) in a divorce case, the people involved should know that if two appraisers are used (one for the wife and one for the husband), the values will be considerably different. Even assuming that both appraisers are experts with top notch qualifications, there is always some divergence on value. If two appraisers are used, there are two fees involved. Depending upon how extensive the tangible personal property is, using two appraisers may be very costly.


Avoiding Fakes and Forgeries When Buying Paintings

By Lee Drexler
May 5, 2003

Every year, thousands of people buy paintings they thought were by particular artists and later learned, to their dismay, that they are forgeries. There are ways to protect yourself if you are willing to take the time and effort to do so.


Cheaper By The Dozen?: Blockage Discounts in Art Valuation By J. Lee Drexler and James R. Cohen

By J. Lee Drexler and James R. Cohen

David Smith, the now famous American sculptor, died in 1965 owning 425 pieces of his own creation. In the audit of the estate tax return, the IRS valued each piece as if it had been sold separately. The estate argued for a “blockage discount,” a valuation based on what could be obtained if all 425 sculptures were offered for sale at the same moment. The 1972 Tax Court opinion on the issue (57 T.C. 650), written by Judge Tannenwald, is the well-spring from which all art blockage discounts flow, and well worth reading for blockage and several other valuation issues. This article summarizes the key issues and offers valuable information for collectors focusing on single artists.


Buying And Appraising Gold Jewelry: An Expert Shares Tips From Her Book ‘Fabulous Finds’

By J. Lee Drexler and James R. Cohen
November 11, 2012

Jewelry of all types, particularly gold jewelry, is one of the most popular things to buy personally and as gifts. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of jewelry purchases, people pay far too high a price. The average jewelry sale is figured at “triple keystone” price, which is what the trade calls triple cost. In other words, if a jeweler shows you a book with an item listed at a price of $3,000, he probably has paid $1,000 for it. He might offer you a “bargain” of a 20 percent reduction bringing the price all the way down to $2,400. Don’t feel that you’re taking unfair advantage of him, as he will be making $1,400 on an item he purchased for $1,000 — a profit of 140 percent.


Appraising Oil Paintings: An Expert Shares Tips On Buying And Selling Art

By J. Lee Drexler and James R. Cohen
November 21, 2012

Many people think they are making a great purchase when they buy oil paintings at reputable, large art galleries in Manhattan on Madison Avenue, Fifty-Seventh Street or in Tribeca. Oil paintings by unknown but decorative modern artists sell easily for over $10,000 each. However, if you try to resell these paintings, you may receive far less money than you paid. Generally, the only way to sell these works is to accept one-half of the sale price or possibly much less than what you paid in the gallery. Sometimes the gallery is willing to sell the painting on a consignment basis and will only take one-third or one-half of the sales price. This is a better arrangement if the work sells. But it could take one to two years before it does; or it may never sell.


Buying And Appraising Silver: An Expert Shares Tips From Her Book ‘Fabulous Finds’

By J. Lee Drexler and James R. Cohen
December 16, 2012

People sometimes get cheated buying silver. As an appraiser, I have heard of some incredible mistakes people have made both in the United States and abroad. First, it is necessary to know some relevant facts. Sterling silver is 925 parts silver and 75 parts alloy. That is why sterling silver is often market “925,” particularly if you buy it abroad. Silver items made in Italy or Germany are marked “800” which means they are 800 parts silver and 200 parts alloy. Modern silver items are worth less if they are 800 or 835 rather than 925. However, if it is a well-made piece, the differences are very slight.