Joshua Baer: Qualifications as an appraiser of Antique American Indian Art

Joshua Baer is the managing partner of Joshua Baer & Company, a fine arts gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Joshua Baer & Company specializes in the appraisal, purchase, resale, and restoration of works of antique Native American art, New Mexican folk art, New Mexican furniture, Spanish Colonial furniture, and vintage photography. Joshua Baer & Company has been a New Mexico Corporation since October of 1987.

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Appraisal experience

Since 1985, Joshua Baer has performed more than two thousand appraisals of antique Native American art, New Mexican folk art, New Mexican furniture, Spanish Colonial furniture, and vintage photography. During this period, Mr. Baer has acted as a consultant to auction companies dealing in Native American art, including Bonham’s & Butterfield’s of San Francisco, Christie’s of New York, and Sotheby’s of New York. Individual appraisal and consultation clients include Tony Berlant, Steven Jobs, Ralph Lauren, Arthur Levitt, Hal Riney, Gerald Peters, Helen Schwab, Jack Silverman, and other private collectors. Between 2003 and 2004, working on a pro-bono basis, Mr. Baer appraised all of the classic and late classic Navajo blankets in the collection of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Joshua Baer & Company has advertised its appraisal and consultation services in the Santa Fe Yellow Pages, in American Indian Art Magazine, and online at WESTERNPICTURES.NET. Joshua Baer has appraised works of antique Native American art which were donated to the Navajo Cultural Museum in Window Rock, Arizona; the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe; and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe. Mr. Baer has also appraised works of antique Native American art which were later repatriated to the Acoma, Apache, Hopi, Jemez, and Navajo tribes.

Court case testimonials and tv appearances

In 1996, Joshua Baer testified as an expert witness in a court case involving the commercial values of works of antique Native American art (Burke versus Harmon, Lincoln, Nebraska, June, 1996). Mr. Baer has appeared on CNBC (January, 1997), on NBC (January, 1997), and on CBS (October, 2000) as an appraiser of antique Native American art and as an expert on fair market values for antique Navajo blankets and rugs. Mr. Baer was featured in USA Today (January 14, 1997) as a prominent dealer in Navajo textiles. Between February, 2000, and February, 2001, Mr. Baer performed online appraisals as the Native American art specialist at AUCTIONWATCH.COM.

Education and publications

Joshua Baer is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he received bachelor's degrees in Art History and English Literature in 1974. He is the author of three books on Native American art: Collecting The Navajo Child’s Blanket (1986), Twelve Classics (1989), and The Last Blankets (1998). He is the author of numerous magazine articles on Native American art, some of which have appeared in Hali Magazine, The Magazine Antiques, Tribal Art Magazine, and the Santa Fean Magazine. Mr. Baer has also written articles about antique Navajo blankets and prehistoric Southwestern pottery for AUCTIONWATCH.COM.

Curatorial experience

In 1986, Joshua Baer was the curator of an exhibition of antique Navajo child’s blankets at Morning Star Gallery in Santa Fe. In 1992, he was guest curator of a major exhibition of classic Navajo chief’s blankets for The Monterey Peninsula Museum in Monterey, California. In 1998, he was the curator for The Last Blankets, an exhibition of nineteenth and early twentieth century Navajo double saddle blankets. The Last Blankets appeared at Joshua Baer & Company in Santa Fe, and at the Winter Antiques Show in New York. In 2001, in cooperation with the San Francisco Folk Art Museum, Mr. Baer was the curator for The Rio Grande Serape, an installation of nineteenth century Mexican, New Mexican, and Navajo serapes at the Tribal and Textile Show at Fort Mason in San Francisco.


Joshua Baer & Company appraises works of antique American Indian art.

Verbal appraisals

Verbal appraisals are free. If you e-mail us an image of the item you want appraised, and include your telephone number and a good time to call you, we will call and tell you the replacement value and the fair market value of the item. If you are trying to decide whether or not to sell an item, we will also give you limited advice regarding resale strategies for that item, and an estimate of how much the item will be worth in the future. All of that information is free.

Email appraisals

Written appraisals sent to you by e-mail are $50 per item. E-mail appraisals state the circa date, the tribal attribution, and the fair market value of the item being appraised, but do not include consultation regarding cleaning, restoration, resale, or charitable donation of the appraised item. E-mail appraisals are not valid for insurance, loans, tax credits from charitable donations, or other legal valuation purposes.

What an e-mail appraisal will do is give you the information you need to negotiate on an equal footing with dealers, or with the auction companies. Whether you’re buying or selling, the knowledge of what an item is, and of what it’s worth, makes that item more valuable. Again, e-mail appraisals are $50 per item. Discounts are available for multiple item appraisals. Overnight service is also available for an additional $50 per item.

To receive an e-mail appraisal, send pictures of the item or items you want appraised to Include dimensions of the item or items you want appraised,and include any history you know about the items. If the item has been damaged, include notes about that damage. If you want to pay for the e-mail appraisal with a credit card, include your credit card number and the expiration date in the text of your e-mail. Finally, make sure to include a telephone number where we can reach you, in case we have questions about the the item you want appraised.

Written appraisals

Written appraisals on paper are billed at the basic flat rate of $250 per hour. Written appraisals in paper include:

A picture of each item appraised
The date of the item
The tribal attribution of the item
The item’s Fair Market Value
The item’s Replacement value
Suggestions and recommendations regarding cleaning or restoration (if necessary)
Consultation with Joshua Baer regarding the best ways to realize the highest price for the appraised item.

There are several common sense ways to reduce the cost of a multiple item appraisal. Many of our appraisal clients provide photographs and schedules of the individual items in their collections. After making sure each item is properly listed and described, we list the replacement and fair market value for each item, and then sign and date each photograph. Working that way, we have appraised as many as 10 items an hour.

Many collectors, institutions, banks, and insurance companies have used our written appraisals for loans, insurance claims, charitable donations, and IRS matters. We stand by our written appraisals, in that we can demonstrate to any bank, insurance company, or government agency that the values we assign to any item we appraise can be verified by comparable sales either at public auction or through private sales.

Joshua Baer reserves the right not to appraise any items submitted for appraisal. While almost any item can be appraised from a good photograph, an item of extraordinary value and rarity will usually require examination in person as part of the appraisal process.

Appraisal fees

Joshua Baer charges $250 per hour for appraisals. His minimum day rate for on site appraisals is $2000. Appraisals fees are calculated according to these rates. Appraisal fees are never based on the values of the works of art being appraised.

Standard Appraisals include the Replacement Values of the works being appraised. Custom Appraisals include Replacement Values and Fair Market Values of the works being appraised, along with recommendations of how, when, and where to sell or donate the appraised works of art.

Joshua Baer is available for consultations regarding auction consignments, auction reserves and estimates, bidding representation at auction, and long-term management of private or corporate art collections. Consultation fees are based on the nature of the consultation, the time involved, and the collector’s ability to pay for the consultation.

Consultation and other services

Joshua Baer is available for consultations regarding auction consignments, auction reserves and estimates, bidding representation at auction, and long-term management of private or corporate art collections.

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