Personal Property Appraisals

Durkin Valuation prepares personal property appraisals for a range of intended uses.

  • Division of Marital Estate Personal Property includes the appraisal of the Residential Contents, art, antiques, coin collection, car collection, gun collection, jewelry, sometimes even the family pets. 
  • Equitable Division in Decedent Estates. Sometimes personal property is specifically left to certain heirs, sometimes not. The identity of valuable items and an appraisal can be helpful to the personal representative in dividing the property. 
  • Decedent Estate where the personal property is insignificant and where other significant estate assets might suggest that the decedent's home must be overflowing with artworks, etc. It is not uncommon to find the value of a wealthy estate is in stocks and bonds and not in the contents of the home. Where the estate has taxable value, we might be asked to value the home contents to provide evidence that the wealthy decedent did not own fine artwork, oriental rugs or valuable antiques. 
  • IRS Non-Cash Charitable Donations requires an IRS qualified appraiser and a qualified appraisal report accompanied by a Form 8283. The IRS imposes penalties, fines and the threat of disbarment for appraisal wrongdoing.  
  • Casualty Insurance Claims cover losses from fire, water, mold, etc. Insurance companies have proprietary definitions of insured value, usually Replacement Value and Actual Cash Value. If the insurance company rejects a claim, the insurance company calls for the Appraisal Clause. This basically requires the claimant to get an appraisal and the insurance company to get an appraisal. If the two appraisers cannot agree on one value, then the ‘clause' calls for the two appraisers to pick a third ‘umpire' to review the two appraisals, perform his or her own appraisal. Where one of the first two appraisers agree with the umpire appraiser, that will be the final claim value.  
  • State and Federal Decedent Estate Tax Returns. This is less significant today because the federal exemption is exemption in 2020 is $11.18 million for singles and $22.36 million for married couples. Massachusetts exemption is $2 million. The appraisal sets the basis for the next owner. The appraisal is subject to IRS sanctions fines, penalties and disbarment under IRS Circular 230.
  • Casualty Insurance Claims Defense. We have provided appraisal defense appraisal work for insurance carriers for alleged false claims filed. 
  • Bailment Warehouse Storage in storage. An interesting area of appraisal because he type of value is commonly known replacement value and a type of value called peculiar value.
  • Bank Asset Based Lending. The type of value is orderly liquidation value. We have provided bank appraisals for wind farms, hydroelectric plants, cryogenic tanks, and complex machinery and equipment. 

Durkin Valuation is by training, experience and education well qualified as testifying valuation experts. Roger Durkin is a Fellow of the American Society of Appraises (ASA) and holds five separate appraisal Designations from ASA. He holds the Master in Personal Property Appraisal from the National Auctioneers Association, Senior Member Designation from the National Association of Professional Appraisers.  

Personal property is defined as a class of property/asset other than real estate. The distinguishing difference between personal property and real property, is that personal property is movable. It is not fixed permanently to one location.  Personal Property is also called movable property, movables, or chattels, and includes virtually any form of property other than real estate. 

Personal property appraisal covers a wide range of things including machinery, equipment, vehicles, jewelry, airplanes, yachts, antiques, coins, postage stamps, sports memorabilia, guns, prints, paintings, artifacts, fine art, decorative art, furniture, oriental rugs, and many forms of collectibles.

Personal property interest is possessory. The Uniform Commercial Code Article 2A (UCC) is used by lenders to put a lien on personal property used as collateral for a lease or loan. There are many laws that govern ownership of different types of property.

Personal property has an emotional quantity in that people are connected to the thing because of feelings, passionate attachment, an affection, possessory passion, tied to family ownership or childhood memories. Some objective person may see a chair, a painting, or a porcelain plate as what they are… things. Others with a possessory interest see them as part of themselves, as this chair, or painting, or plate was their grandmother's chair, painting, or porcelain plate. Hence, an appraiser is or should be aware of the sensitivity to the emotional attachment of some owners or heirs.

Durkin Valuation valued all the furniture and art for Aetna's Insurance Hartford headquarters, the entire art collection for Phoenix Insurance Albany New York and Hartford Connecticut. All personal property contained in 34 offices of the Old Stone Bank in Providence and Warwick Rhode Island for the FDIC. We valued all personal property contained at Babson College 450-acre campus including the Sir Isaac Newton collection. We were the contract appraiser for the U.S.S. Constitution Ship holdings, the FBI, Secret Service in seizures, the IRS (Whitie Bulger Property) and the Postal Inspection Service relating to seized art, antiques, and related property. Durkin Valuation was for 20 years the U.S. Customs appraiser from the Port of Boston, to Buffalo, and Baltimore for seized property including Iranian Rugs 


An appraisal is a researched professional opinion in the form of a narrative thesis supported by evidence and logic. It is manifestly impossible to know the identity and value of everything in the world. Therefore, an appraisal involves the identification of the property. its value characteristics, its market, and includes extensive develop evidence to support the opinion.

Non-Cash Charitable Donation Under Treasury Regulations S1.170A-1(c) of the Internal Revenue Code

Cell Tower Donation. When Tower Acquisition, LLC who had acquired a site and cell tower in Herriman, Utah wanted to donate

the cell tower and land to the City of Herriman, Utah, they chose Durkin Valuation Consultants to provide the IRS qualified non-cash charitable donation appraisal in accordance with Treasury Regulation §1.170A-13. 

Criterion Theater Donation.  When the owners of the 1930 era Art Deco Criterion Theater in Bar Harbor Maine wanted to donate all of the personal property including furniture, fixtures, equipment and decorative accessories, they chose Durkin Valuation to provide the IRS qualified non-cash charitable donation appraisal.

Carbon Credit Donation. The Commonwealth Resource Management Corporation developed a method to recover methane gas from landfills and obtained tons of carbon credits. The group wanted to donate $300,000 in Carbon Credits, (Verified Emission Reduction (VER), to the International Institute for Agricultural Development Trust. The carbon credits are formally titled “CO2-Equivalent Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions. The company owned over 600,000 tons of CO2 equivalent carbon credits generated by its projects in prior years and registered with the program for Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases of the U.S. Department of Energy. Durkin Valuation Consultants prepared the IRS qualified Appraisal to support the non-cash charitable donation of carbon credits.

Barosin Art Collection Donation. When the family of Holocaust Survivor and Artist Jacob Barosin wanted to donate his extensive art collection consisting of over 100 color drawings and paintings of Holocaust events, Biblical Prophets, and an assortment of religious themes to the Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College, the family chose Durkin Valuation Consultants. 

Robotic Arm Inventor. George Charles Devol Jr. (1912 – 2011) was an American inventor,best known for creating Unimate, the first patented industrial robot. When the Estate of George Devol wanted to make a donation of the Devol historical archives to the Henry Ford Museum, the executors chose Durkin Valuation Consultants.

Large Photograph and Camera Collection. When E. B. Luce Corporation of Worchester wanted to donate thousands of 19th century negatives and 19th century cameras to the Worchester Historical Museum, they chose Durkin Valuation Consultants to provide the IRS qualified appraisal. Edwin Luce was particularly well known for his Pullman railroad photography. The company, which was the oldest photographic laboratory in the United States, had an extensive collection of glass plates, proof prints, negatives, and cameras.


Ballistic Missile Firing Console. When the owner of an abandoned Atlas 7- Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Silo wanted to donate the Atlas7 Nuclear Missile Launch Console to the Plattsburgh New York Air Force Museum, the owner chose Durkin Valuation Consultants.  We provided the IRS qualified appraisal to support the non-cash charitable donation.  


Other IRS Non-Cash Charitable Donation Appraisal Assignments
  • Lord and Burnham Imperial Conservatory donated to The Trustees of Reservations
  • Cogeneration Equipment to a Massachusetts technical high school
  • Chief George Colbert Chickasaw Indian Bandelier circa 1790 donated to the Tennessee Valley Art Association, Inc. in Tuscumbia, Alabama. 
Diverse Types of Personal Property Appraised
  • Bridgeport Connecticut Container Terminal
  • Quincy Shipyard facility for the U.S. Maritime Administration including the real property, machinery and 25-story gantry crane
  • Robinson Tea Box. Only known surviving Boston Tea Party Tea Box for The Boston Tea Party Museum
  • Whydah Pirate Treasure Valued the only known pirate treasure from the ship Whydah sunk in 1717.
  • Durkin valued the champion rings for Indianapolis Colts Team, champion rings for the Anaheim Ducks and Indianapolis 500 championship rings.
  • Durkin valued all of the assets in the Bankruptcy of Titanic Inc, including thousands of recovered artifacts, artifracts remaining in the sunken ship and debris field.   

Appraisal Experience Relative to Plaintiff and Defendant Insurance Issues.

Fire destroyed an art collection in Erika Jansson Brown & Alan Brown v Shelby Vesta Fire Insurance Company. For Vesta, 

Attorney Richard L. Burpee, Smith & Brink, P.C., A fire and explosion case Lewiston Radiator Works, et, al v. Northern Utilities, Inc. for the defendant, 

Attorney Eric R. Passeggio of Brickley, Sears & Sorett, P.A. Silverman v. Patrons Mutual Insurance Company, Civil Action 99-1336A for Payton Insurance, art and antiques, 

Attorney Robert M. Payton, Burke, McMenimen & Payton, P.C. TCM Distributors v Kemper National Insurance, 1998, For Kemper in comic book wholesaler warehouse fire. 

Michael McGough v Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, 1999, for the defendant Dominion, stolen sports memorabilia collection.  

Vamco Industries v. Travelers Sept. 1998 Destroyed jewelry manufacturer, for defendant Travelers.

 Benedict v. Booska, Mayflower, et al. 1998, balee tort personal and intangible property, for the plaintiff, Attorney Stephen Ellis, Springfield, Vermont.  

Yvon & Yolaine Beaulieu et al. v. P.M. MacKay and Sons, Inc. and ServPro of Derry/Londonderry, Inc. and Royal Indemnity Company, mold damage insured loss, for Royal Indemnity, Attorney Courtney Merrill, Merrimack NH. 

Yaqin Li et al. v. Board of Governors University of RI, et al., 2003, personal property bailment tort, RI, for plaintiff, Attorney Noelle Clapham, South Kingston, RI. 

Expert for the plaintiff counsel Clark, Sawyer & Phillips, P.C., and insured in the Water Street, Danvers port Real Property Explosion against Verlan Fire Insurance Company, in Insurance 

Settlement Negotiation. Appointed Appraisal Umpire for Union Mutual Fire Insurance v. Anthony and Susan Pate Civil Action Rhode Island Bristol County Superior Court No.CA 13-1620

Valuation of Titanic Artifacts in U.S. Bankruptcy Ct, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville. In re: RMS Titanic, Inc. Chapter 11, Case No. 3:16-bk-02230-PMG


  1.  An appraisal Designation is a form of certification from a professional association. The usual criteria is 5-yeas experience, completion of the association's 120 hours of course work, and the submission of report to a peer review committee.