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Linda Selvin, at the Helm of the Appraisers Association of America

Published on , by Nicky Griggs

As the Appraisers Association of America, the leading association of personal property appraisers focused on fine and decorative arts based in the United States, celebrates its 75th anniversary we spoke to Executive Director Linda Selvin about its history, where things are heading and how she found herself at the helm.

Linda Selvin© Appraisers Association of America Linda Selvin, at the Helm of the Appraisers Association of America

Linda Selvin
© Appraisers Association of America

Founded in 1949, today the Appraisers Association of America boasts around 900 members from across the globe, hailing from diverse backgrounds in the art world. Perhaps, most importantly this New York -based association works to educate while ensuring professionalism and public confidence. Can you tell us a bit about the history of Appraisers Association of America? The association was created initially as group of art dealers who did some appraising. I use that term loosely because in fact in 1949 there really weren't any standards. We had a big blue owl logo sticker that people would put on their door of their shop. It served as a type of endorsement, indicating that they were someone trustworthy. It was prestigious even back then. Can you tell us a bit more about this initial group? Its members would meet at a local hotel, The Belmont on Lexington Avenue. At that time it was mostly men who would play cards together, but they also would discuss the various pieces they were working on and consider valuation issues around those objects. So there was a constant dialogue around paintings and objects, on condition issues and how someone would assign value. These initial meetings fostered a dialog —not only among their peers, but also among people who wanted to join this conversation. So it also started as a type of club, and of course people love private clubs. What did it take to join the club? We are a nonprofit professional association and have always had a board of directors. There were different criteria that people would need meet to become a member. In the 1950s and 60’s, they would submit current, completed appraisals, which were reviewed by the board of directors. The entire board would have to agree that the applicant understood how to value an object. Potential…
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