January kicked things off by confronting an often-sensitive topic: what to do when it’s time to downsize a lifetime of acquisitions. Then we took a deep dive into the advantages and risks to investing in art, complete with statistics from a Fine Art Index and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

In February, we reviewed Deloitte’s annual Art & Finance Report, with projections for the global art market for 2018. Do you know what to look for when selecting an appraiser, or what you can expect from them? Here’s a step-by-step guide to the appraisal process. Rounding out the month, we discussed the importance of a separate fine art insurance policy, to manage risk and protect against, among other risks, fire, theft, and water damage.

March brought into focus the ethics of appraising, with guidelines from the Ethics Committee of the Philadelphia Estate Planning Council (PEPC). Freeman’s has long held that keeping a collection together and offering it as a whole adds a premium to its value. A high-point amongst Freeman’s continued success with single-owner collections came with the 2014 sale of the Horst Collection. And we visited the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, for a peek at a George A. Weymouth exhibit.

In April, there was the curious case of coin collection confusion, which served as a reminder that an accurate appraisal is always a good idea. And if you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between three professional appraisal organizations is (The Big Three), we broke them down.

In May, we paused to reflect on our 215 year history, from our beginnings in 1805, when Pennsylvania Governor Thomas McKean appointed Tristram Bampfyde Freeman, a print-seller who’d arrived to Philadelphia from London, to the office of auctioneer. Do you know how often to reevaluate your insurance? The frequency varies, but we offered some helpful tips. And we explored some of the more creative ways to protect your valuable assets.

June arrived, and we revisited the benefit of single-owner sales, after the white-glove auction of the Collection of Dorrance “Dodo” H. Hamilton. A Wealth Management Professional offered several insights into the motivations of wealthy investors (and profit is rarely one of them). We got entrenched with the semantics of “any” vs. “all,” and how it relates to a specific trust case brought before the Court of Appeals.

In July, with summer in full swing, we explored art financing and title risk, for collectors looking to leverage their art collection. We reviewed US Trust’s Insights on Wealth and Worth, which revealed some surprising statistics about millennials and the art market. We wrapped up the month with a cautionary tale, about an attorney disciplined for conduct as a personal representative of an estate.

August rolled around, and with it, a look at the complex process of determining fair market value, defined by the US Federal government for tax liability assessment, be it estate tax, gift tax or income tax. A lawsuit out of Los Angeles raised a host of legal questions with wide-ranging implications, most prominently: who really owns graffiti? And there was a case study in restitution appeal after a divorce dispute over personal property.

In September, an eagle-eyed specialist got up close and personal with a large painted view of Federal-era Philadelphia, which hangs at Independence National Park. We explored a Pennsylvania Court ruling on Inter Vivos Gifts, and tried to unpack the many-layered case surrounding the late Robert Indiana’s contested will.

October featured four fascinating stories. A topic seemingly always in the headlines, Nazi-looted art and restitution, was again brought to the forefront with a lawsuit involving the heir of a Jewish Dutch art dealer and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Is there legal recourse if a claim is made against a work you own? The story of the (stolen?) bronze horse tried to answer that question. We investigated the other “values” of pre-death appraisals, and reviewed a West Virginia family’s dispute over an executor’s fault in selling personal items of an estate.

In November, we revisited the need to plan with (and for) your fine collection, whether you’ve just started your collecting journey or you’re ready to part with it. Pop Artist Jeff Koons made headlines this month, and not for his oversized sculptures made to look like balloon animals: a French court found him guilty of plagiarism. And we answered the question, “Who owns the other edition of Shusaku Arakawa’s ‘The Mechanism of Meaning?’” to help understand artwork ownership as it pertains to estate law.

The year is not yet over, and we have more exciting things to come. The specialists in Freeman’s Trusts & Estates and Appraisals Department looks forward to 2019!

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