Case Study: Valuer - Martin

What do you do?

Like other valuers, I evaluate property for several purposes, including insurance, legal settlements, taxation etc. Personally, I focus on fine and decorative art, antiques, collectibles and memorabilia, including paintings, carpets, crystal, sculpture and porcelain.

I own and run my own company. I also write manuals and other professional guides for people in the industry. In addition, I train valuers.

What is your background?

I studied Fine Art, receiving both a Master's and a Doctorate degree in my native country, Romania, before moving to Britain.

I became interested in this field because I realised that valuation was a service very much in demand. I taught art history for a while, but was constantly consulted by people about the value of their artwork. I studied valuation and became a valuer.

I've now been working as a valuer for more than 30 years, mostly in the areas of fine and decorative art. I often work as a consultant to people in the insurance industry as well as to lawyers and managers of public and private collections. I'm also an 'expert witness' for the courts.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?

Valuers must be dedicated to the profession. They must be honest and objective, conscientious and thorough. They must do their best to complete each job with integrity.

What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?

We can teach valuation, or deliver lectures for groups like heritage societies, public galleries or rotary clubs. A sample topic for a lecture might be 'when to invest in art' or 'how art differs from other investments'.

With some additional training, valuers can also become curators.

Also, valuers can move into buying and selling the goods they deal with because they are experts at determining the value of these goods.

What changes will there be in the future?

In the future, there will be continuous changes in technology (eg, carbon dating to see when a piece of art was created). This will continue to affect the work of valuers.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

There are many challenging parts to this job. For example, valuers have to do a lot of careful 'detective' work, which can be quite challenging.

Also, valuers have to be consistently accurate in their work - if they provide inaccurate appraisals, they may lose their reputation or even get sued.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

There are opportunities in all parts of the UK at the moment. It is important to be well qualified.

What do you like about your job?

There are new experiences every day, practically every hour. For instance, for one client, I might look at an antique French 19th century wardrobe, for insurance purposes. Whereas the same afternoon, for another client, I may look at a modern art piece by Salvador Dali, for tax purposes.

And in each case, the cultural, historical and economic aspects are all very interesting.

What do you dislike about your job?

Believe it or not, there is nothing I dislike about my work. I am 64 years old - or young, depends how you look at it - and I still look forward to coming to the office every day.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

There are two components in my profession. The arts and culture, and the economics. And you must have both if you want to succeed at it.

A day in the life

9:00 am - 10:00 am

Checking answerphone and email messages; looking at my schedule for the day and making changes to it; responding to clients' and colleagues' messages; answering staff's questions.

10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Travelling to site (a large corporation's art collection); examining its new piece of artwork; taking photographs and video of it; recording information about the painting on my computer.

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lunch.

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Preparing photo and video film for development.

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Transcribing my computer notes; generally writing a detailed description of the painting I saw this morning.

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Starting my research on the painting: looking for information on the artist, the painting, its market value and previous owners. All of this information, combined with my examination of the object, will allow me to determine how much it is worth.

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