Appraisals for Insurance

This question is for all of the experts since all of you have collections worthy of being insured. We live in an area devoid of anyone who has enough knowledge of Red Wing products to be able to give a value for insurance purposes. The foremost antique appraiser in the area has said outright that she doesn’t know much, if anything, about Red Wing. How then do we provide a statement of value that an insurance company would accept? Book value, eBay, RWCS auctions, something else? Charlotte

I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on the subject but I’m not shy about sharing my opinions. Very few Red Wing collectors have had a formal appraisal of their collections. For most of us the cost of the appraisal exceeds the value gained. Very valuable pieces (more than $1000) might warrant an appraisal, but for most Red Wing items market value can be established in other ways.

The correspondent is on the right track. Auctions, sales, eBay, pricing books are all ways to establish market value. An actual sale of an item is a better indicator of value than a listing in a book. Generally "book value" is acceptable but sometimes the book can undervalue an item significantly. Consider saving (printout or save electronically) an eBay listing for an item that sells higher than book value. Auction results are good; an insurer would probably give more credence to a results price list from the auctioneer than one written in by hand during the auction.

The most important concern is to document ownership of your collection. I have every item we own listed on a spreadsheet which includes a detailed description of the item along with condition, date purchased and price paid. I keep a copy at home and on a disc at work. If our home is destroyed I’ll have a record of what we own. Photos and/or videos of your collection are also essential. While it would be a hassle, market value can always be established after the fact.


I agree, photo’s and documentation are most important. Book values would be ok for average items, one of a kind-rare, may be a little different for insurance. Steve n Rose