& Personal Property Appraiser

"Value in Doubt? Find Out!"


Phone: (626) 292-2224


Novotny Appraisal Services in Los Angeles

A Novotny antiques and personal property oral appraisal or pricing valuation service is fast, cost effective and meets all applicable USPAP requirements. He can frequently appraise or price personal property an the pace of fifteen to a hundred or more items per hour, especially for common and ordinary household goods, residential contents and objects of nominal value. An oral appraisal by Novotny is like having an “Antiques Roadshow” in your home.


Do you have hidden treasures? Novotny will seek to discover and identify unusual or rare treasures such as those shown on the pages of this website.


On-site oral appraisals are frequently used for trust management for equitable distribution (when appropriate) or pricing objects for a sales advisory. Many antique and personal property appraisal 

A properly documented Novotny oral appraisal will provide an:

  • inventory and valuation of the subject household contents with identifications and descriptions,
  • confirming onsite computer research which, when conducted, provides value support by printing out comparable research data
  • a client's hand-written list or spreadsheet, their audio or visual recorded data and photographs, and 
  • the paper work provided by Novotny, including his CV,
  • a one page oral appraisal report disclosure form that identifies in writing the appraisal problem, the scope of work, limiting conditions, assumptions and disclosures, along with, on the same page a signed appraiser's certification statement that certifies his ethical stance and competency, and an audio record of the oral appraisal that Novotny retains in his workfile.

Preparing For An Oral Appraisal Of Household Contents

In order for an oral appraisal to proceed in the least amount of time Novotny suggests that you number selected subject objects, room by room. Begin with rugs on the floor, then objects on the walls, then furniture, lighting and decorative objects sitting on the floor and finally the small objects displayed on furniture and in cabinets. Begin at the entry and go from left to right and repeat the sequence in each room. It is advisable to photograph those objects in the same order. It is helpful to identify sets of china and silver and to list maker and pattern. The inventory list that you develop, and that Novotny may value, can be hand written or input into a spreadsheet for a full blown form appraisal report ( before or after the oral report). Novotny encourages clients to document his oral appraisal by means of a video or audio tape on an Iphone or Ipad.


The folder and documents Novotny provides each client upon arrival for their review in every personal property appraisal assignment he performs offer meaningful context to help the client and identified intended users understand the report whether it be oral in scope or formally written. His brief, one page contract identifies the essential elements and mutual agreements of the appraisal assignment. His appraisal reports have those same elements repeated in all of his his report templates whether on one page or ten pages. This  ensures the appraisal report is never misleading and always relevant to the appraisal problem that was identified in communication with the client before the appraiser-client relationship is entered into. His "oral appraisal report" provides many important written disclosures that far exceeds oral report requirements. These "oral appraisal report" disclosures provide a written transmittal document for the typed or hand written value section the documents the appraisal and provides an historical record of objects retained for proof of ownership. These documents help make the oral appraisal report more meaningful to the client and identified intended users. It may be possible, if necessary, for Novotny to produce a full blown formal appraisal report  with photographs if required later as a new appraisal assignment.



Contact Novotny now to discuss his fee and arrange a fast verbal or oral appraisal.


Visit the Home Page.


Read one of Novotny's published articles about the competency requirements and the scope of work necessary to conduct an oral appraisal.

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Copyright 2009-2017 - all rights reserved - William M. Novotny

assignments are not appropriate for an oral appraisal report. An oral appraisal report can be provided only if a formal and typewritten appraisal report is not required.​


By the way if there is only one object (or just a few) that needs appraisal, Novotny now offers you the opportunity to come to him at his San Gabriel home office for a brief, cost effective, 20 minute oral report. Novotny can utilize his extensive library and do whatever quick research that may be necessary to inform his oral appraisal report. Call Novotny now: (626) 292-2224 (sorry, but no free appraisals)

A November 2013 letter from a client:

As Chairman of a first ever Antique Appraisal Event I asked William Novotny (Bill) to help us develop an "Antiques Road Show" type of event for Riverside, California and to be the primary appraiser. He did both splendidly. We raised several thousand dollars for local scholarships and philanthropies based on one hour of his private personal property appraisals and two hours of his public appraisals to an auditorium full of public attendees, most of whom remained for the entire two hours.

Mr. Novotny valued three tables loaded with all types of personal property objects, many of which were very unusual and interesting.  We provided a person to research as needed but he was able to proceed mostly without this research. He explained to the audience what each object was, its important value characteristics and how he was able to date it.  He was entertaining, easy to understand and informative. He shared his  methods of valuing and the important internet tools that he most frequently uses and how to properly use those tools to establish a credible value opinion. He engaged the audience and managed to keep  them involved and interested. The feedback from attendees and staff was  positive.

Based upon this success we plan to do a similar fundraising appraisal event again  and he agreed to advise us as needed. We were happy with Mr. Novotny in every respect. JA

1901 molded iron "NOT LEFT"

cigar tip cutter and clock

A Novotny personal property oral appraisal report can help you make important decisions regarding downsizing, selling, insuring, donating, distributing or disposing of personal property.


Oral appraisals are challenging due to the vast variety of personal property object types. No personal property appraiser can credibly answer every question about every object type. All appraisers have limits and must perform only within their range of competency. 


Frequently the best answer is "I do not know". 


Demand Credibility and avoid incompetency


As part of his oral valuation service in your home Novotny can advise you of how to acquire internet links to powerful research "price realized" websites. You can retain these links to these websites for your future use.  With your permission he can then either use these websites on your computer to inform or confirm his value opinion while developing his onsite value opinion, and to provide you with evidence, as needed, that supports his opinion. Note that if you do not have a computer or internet access that Novotny can bring his  laptop and hotspot to conduct any necessary research while providing his oral appraisal report.

Like an "Antique Roadshow" in your Home!


​"Knowledge and Experience Matter"

All of this documentation of the Novotny oral appraisal will, in the event of a later loss from fire, smoke, water or earthquake, work together to provide comprehensive data that will allow Novotny, or another appraiser, to prepare a formal appraisal report should such a need arise in the event of a substantial loss. Please note that all this documentation should be retained by the client off site, such as in a bank's safe deposit box or a trusted friend or family member. It provides evidence that inventories and values all the subject household contents.


Novotny Will Price Your Estate or Yard Sale  - You Conduct It!


​Novotny, beginning in November 2013, offered a new pricing service. He will price your sale quickly, using his pricing gun which applies a tag to chosen objects. The tags are a break-away type that are difficult to remove without destroying them. He will explain each object, as needed, while pricing it, and inform you of supply and demand factors and how much to negotiate to achieve a sale. He will identify rare and special items which may be "keepers." He will explain how to stage the objects, ensure security, where to locate the cashier, entry and exit, how and where to advertise and generally prepare you to conduct your own sale. By so doing you are in charge and will keep the 25% to 50% that most estate sale agents charge to perform these same services.  


On January 30, 2013 Novotny conducted a household contents inspection for IRS estate tax purposes. The client was also going to have an estate sale of  the subject property in a few days. While inspecting and identifying subject properties for a formal IRS report, he also priced the common and ordinary objects, and objects that would not be retained, during the inspection. To do so he provided his "first impressions" of fair market value and a suggested "asking price tag" that the client might reasonably expect to reduce to half price later during sales negotiations. Novotny would indicate which properties had demand and alternate markets and gave advise as to how to stage, advertise and the extent to negotiate to conclude the sale. For objects that needed research he reported later. He also introduced the client to the free websites he commonly uses while conducting research, and how to use these websites properly to determine or confirm value. 


On February 10, 2014 Novotny got the following email:
Hi Bill, Thank you again for all your wonderful help. The estate sale went very well, we sold about three quarters of the items! It was very nice to work with you. I have given your name to my real estate agent so you might be hearing from her. SM
By the way you have the option of having Novotny conduct your estate sale.


The Generalist Personal Property Appraiser must be Competent.


Novotny is a generalist and therefore can typically value household goods and complete residential contents. His exceptional market experience in the various competing markets coupled with his extensive knowledge of most types of personal property types provide him with a basis to identify and value most common and ordinary property types (when appropriate without research). His knowledge and experience often runs deep regarding many rare and unusual objects that may have significant value. His understanding of characteristics that the market seeks, and his tried and true methods and techniques, all work together to guide him through the development of credible valuations.


  • ​over 37 years of valuation experience
  • experienced with most property types
  • experienced with most assignment types
  • knowledgeable with many rare and unusual objects and object types 
  • over 20 years of buying most personal property types at auction 
  • since 1979 has continuously sold personal property at antique retail stores, antique malls, antique shows, estate sales and swap meets
  • restoration experience with furniture and other antiques and art
  • an expert in USPAP appraisal standards
  • purchased or liquidated many dozens of complete household contents as a buyer and many more as an estate sale agen
  • antique dealer for 20 years 
  • estate sale agent for over 20 years
  • generalist antiques & personal property appraiser 25 years