Why Can’t Lofty Tell Me What My Item Is Worth Over The Phone?


Lofty is thrilled to be offering a free virtual evaluation service, and we want to make the process as seamless as possible for our clients! We’ve thought long and hard about the quickest way to provide the highest quality evaluations possible, and one of our protocols is that we require photographs in order to give our sellers an estimate of what their items might be worth.

Lofty’s Client Service Specialists, who take our phone calls, often field questions like:

“I have a work by [insert artist name], can you please tell me if your company would be interested before I go to the trouble of submitting?”
“Can you please connect me to your silver expert? I would like to find out what my tea set might be worth.”

There are a few reasons we don’t offer evaluation services over the phone or in person, and the first and foremost is a practical reason: Lofty works with a network of more than 85 accomplished and experienced Experts.

As a result of our virtual model, we have been able to draw from Experts at the top of their field from all over the country. This means our Experts are not in-house—they are appraisers, dealers, and curators who have been handling, studying, and valuing items in their respective specialties for decades, and, for the most part, they’re off running their own businesses. Lofty provides you access to their expertise—and saves you the search costs of having to find qualified experts yourself—but our Experts are not answering our phone lines. Instead, we submit completed evaluation forms to them, meaning that we have photographs and a description for each item they review.

The next reason has to do with expertise. Unfortunately, when it comes to art and antiques we don’t always have what we think we have. Lofty’s Director Sarah Shinn Pratt did a fabulous job of explaining this in a previous post titled “The Perks of Virtual Appraisals.”

She recalls a scenario we try to avoid here: “I have been talked into traveling a long way, enticed by a potential seller’s seemingly knowledgeable description of their property, only to find out that while they were sincere, they actually did not have what they said they did.” It can be difficult to describe art works and antiques over the phone, and the most efficient way to confirm whether a work on paper is a print or an ink drawing, for example, or if a painting was made in the 18th or 20th century, is to take clear, high-quality photographs and send them to our Experts to be reviewed. They know exactly what to look for, and if they need additional photographs or information, they’ll request it!

Our aim is to provide you with the most accurate feedback possible when it comes to your collectables. Completing our (short) submission form helps us to do this.

Image: Elmer L. Novotny’s Farm in Portugal (“Portugal #2”) was recently valued at $1,800 by Lofty’s network of expert appraisers.