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 but the other estate assets could infer significant personal property. 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 art, 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 $1million. 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. An appraisal is a researched narrative thesis supported by evidence and logic. It is manifestly improbable to be able to identify and value everything in the world made by people. Therefore, a personal property appraisal involves the identification of the property. its value characteristics, its market, and proceeds to extensive develop evidence to support the opinion. 

IRS Non-Cash Charitable Donations Assignments Appraisal
  • Bar Harbor Art Deco Criterion Theater Artifacts
  • Intercontinental Ballistic Atlas 5 Missile Launcher donated to the Plattsburg Air Force Museum
  • Lord and Burnham Imperial Conservatory donated to The Trustees of Reservations
  • George C. Devol (inventor of the Robotic Arm) historical archives being donated to the Henry Ford Museum.
  • Cogeneration Equipment to a Massachusetts technical high school
  • Cell tower to Town of Harriman Utah.
  • Chief George Colbert Chickasaw circa 1790 Sash donated to the Tennessee Valley Art Association, Inc. in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
Diverse Types of Personal Property Appraised
  • Bridgeport Connecticut Container Terminal
  • Quincy Shipyard 25 story gantry crane
  • Robinson Tea Box. Only known surviving Boston Tea Party Tea Box for Tea Party Museum
  • Whydah Pirate Treasure Valued the only know western hemisphere 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.

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. 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.