When Novotny embraces the task to value a challenging property he will frequently consult with a specialist  to

  • confirm a value opinion, 
  • confirm the identification of the item, or
  • inquire whether there are relevant value characteristics not considered, and
  • to confirm the likely response of market participants to the identified object characteristics in the market.
  • He will do everything within his power to avoid significant error.  
  • Consultation frequently demonstrates diligence and not a lack of competence.
  • Such assistance, when significant and rendered, is disclosed in Novotny's signed certification and explained in his report. 
  • He will conduct research of comparable objects to identify sufficient relevant characteristics of subject properties to determine value.


Novotny's knowledge and experience varies with the objects listed below, many of which are rare, collectible and of a specialized object type. In most cases his knowledge and experience is sufficient to develop a credible value opinion using standard appraisal methodology. He can often appraise commonly found objects with little or no research. He  understands the various markets that may be relevant to different object types relevant to the assignment type.  Market value can differ significantly from replacement cost. As the value for an object increases, so does the requisite diligence needed to establish the credibility of his opinions, analyses and conclusions relevant to intended use.

For some of the property types listed below it may be necessary for him to consult with a specialist for that property as part of his opinion development process. Over his 37+ year career he has developed an extensive network of credible specialist consultants willing to work with him, or independently, to identify and analyze value relevant object characteristics and market responses to a subject property. There are also many types of personal property that Novotny always declines to value such as gems and jewelry, stamps, coins, machinery and equipment, livestock, airplanes, boats, and a long list of very specialized objects that require a specialist rather than a generalist. For such objects he often consults with experts that are recognized as competent among his peers. Here is a sample of the types of property with which Novotny has object and market knowledge, some of which is limited. The good news --- He knows his limits!


Fired objects:​
fired metals:  gold, sterling silver & plate, bronze, copper, iron, steel, pewter and lead objects
fired clays:  historic and modern porcelain, pottery, earthenware, stoneware, yellow-ware, red-ware and general ceramics,

American and European art and production pottery of the early 20th century
fired glass: historic and modern blown or molded glass or crystal, art glass, American and European

A Limited View of the Universe of Objects Frequently Appraised

Far Eastern Objects (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan etc)

William Novotny, a general antiques and personal property appraiser, has bought, sold, priced and valued complete residential contents, including antiques of all types, furniture, fine art, folk art, decorative art, collections, books, glass, crystal, pottery, porcelain, collectables, silver, brass and copper objects, ephemera, textiles, rugs, vintage toys, banks, mechanical coin-op and other machines, instruments of many types and musical players, historical objects, dolls, tools and most types of household goods. Throughout his career he has had an interest in, and has long studied, Native American objects and Far Eastern Asian objects (China, Japan & Korea - see the Far Eastern Asian Objects section below on this page).

Should the appraiser spend hours in further investigative diligence? Obviously, in this case the answer is yes. Without such diligence an unacceptable and major error would likely occur. For hundreds of other similar figures most appraisers would not investigate further. The client may not want to pay for such diligence especially when it only would confirm what the appraiser already knows. For other similar objects such diligence would be unnecessary and inappropriate. The fact remains that the experts at two auction houses failed to identify the importance of the figure.


Find out more about Novotny's personal property and antiques appraisal background, knowledge and experience. Review his CV on this website to see how he acquired the knowledge and experience necessary to appraise these many different personal property object types. Clients seek to minimize the cost of an appraisal service. Novotny offers his clients scope of work options, some of which can significantly cut appraisal costs.



Valuation Experience With Most Types of Personal Property

Above: Mahogany Capital

Back and Front Bar, 24 feet wide,

Brunswick, Balke and Collender Co.

Type your paragraph here.

From 1979 to 1999 Novotny was a full-time, Los Angeles antiques and personal property dealer with several stores. His 20,000 square foot general antiques store, which he opened in Glendale, CA in 1979, was soon filled with antiques, fine art (mostly plein air), native American and Asian objects of many types, pre-industrial revolution historical objects, craftsman period, mid-century and contemporary objects, general collectibles, a quarter million rare records, vintage toys, photographs/cameras etc. and general household goods such as appliances, sporting goods and all types of residential contents. Novotny has essential market experience in the retail, orderly liquidation and wholesale market levels for most property types, both common and rare. 


(Right: After Jeremias Metzger) An 1860 antique electrotype copy of a 16th century reticulated brass clock with nine winding holes and multiple apertures on four sides, 12”


Find out more about Novotny and the services that he offers. Visit his Home Page.

Object types:
art: Fine, collectible and decorative paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, bronzes, carvings, collage, photography etc.
antique furniture: American regional, European, Asian, mid-century, craftsman, and general 18th, 19th and 20 century
clocks antique: most types of tall case, mantle and wall clocks, collectible wrist and pocket watches
collectibles: rare records, badges, dolls, salesman samples, games, fishing/hunting items, rare tools, advertising, sporting objects, limited editions, figurines/plates/prints, vintage toys and iron mechanical banks 
common and ordinary household contents: furniture, appliances, sewing, tools, sporting goods, electronics, exercise equipment, kitchenware, etc.
decorative art: wall coverings, floor coverings, lighting, garden objects, architectural objects, accessories and small objects
ephemera: books, comics, magazines, photographs, posters, advertising, documents, autographs, etc.
instruments: navigation, medical, scientific, cameras, barometers, music boxes, musical players and instruments, pianos, automatons, patent models, scientific discovery, etc.
military objects: uniforms, helmets, buttons, patches, medals, weapons, firearms, knives, swords, etc. 
Native American objects: carpets/rugs, clothing, pottery, bead work, baskets, carvings, Kachina, weapons, etc, tourist and ritual
general cultural objects (for daily or ritual use or tourist objects): Oceanic, Asian, Far Eastern, European, African, Mexican, South American, European, folk art, carvings, ritual and art objects
Rare Records: Novotny had a rare record business with a quarter million LP's, 45's and 78's as part of his 20,000 and 8,000 square foot antique store for over 15 years. 
silver:  antique and current flatware services, hollow-ware, American, British and European, Chinese export repousse silver
textiles:  rugs, carpets, tapestries, quilts, samplers, clothing (ordinary or vintage), linens, lace, etc.
transportation and travel: planes, trains and automobile memorabilia, signs, posters, mascots, models, etc.

Phone: (626) 292-2224


General personal property appraiser Novotny lived in Japan for two years in the late 1960's while serving in the United States Army as a paratrooper near Tokyo. During his stay in Japan he studied the history, culture and arts of Japan and visited many museums and historical sites. He also learned to speak Japanese and to read and write both phonetic Kana and approximately 600 Kanji. 

Ten years later he became an antiques dealer. From 1979 to 1999 he bought and sold all types of far eastern objects and had an Oriental decorative arts section in his antique stores and exhibits. Since 1979 he has continued to pursue both formal and independent study of Asian decorative arts generally focusing on the ceramics, paintings, prints, furniture, textiles metal-work, ivory, lacquer, folk art, decorative, cultural, ceremonial and collective objects and export wares of China and Japan. He often explores objects from other Asian countries and near eastern countries along the silk road and India. 

Novotny has a solid, well grounded knowledge of common and typical Asian objects, and tries to stay current with the rapidly changing and emerging market for rare, unusual and special Far Eastern Asian objects through daily study of basic texts and by reviewing current auction results on a regular basis. Novotny has significant expertise in the appraisal process and how USPAP standards apply. Compliance with USPAP provides a basis  is the best support that a valuation is worthy of belief and that significant further research and analyses.


Mistakes are Costly


All experts are subject to error. Asian objects in particular are challenging. Huge valuation mistakes can happen to the best experts. The demand for certain Chinese objects has resulted in the experts at major auction houses vastly underestimating the presale estimates when compared to the amount actually realized at auction. The literature is replete with examples which are frequently reported in trade magazines 

Cowan's is a major national auction gallery and one of the best. On January 8, 2011 two ceramic oriental polychrome male figures, stamped "China" in red on the base, were offered by Cowan's as a lot estimated at $100/$200 for both figures. The pair sold for $36,425.00. 

The Chinese 20" porcelain monk figure, with an impressed seal artist's signature, had been purchased at another auction for $65 (Maine Antique Digest, p12-A, March 2011). This important Chinese porcelain figure turned out to be a 20th century work of an artist with a small, committed international following. The bidding soared unexpectedly. 

A general personal property appraiser would be vulnerable to making a significant error on such a piece. Why? Because readily apparent identity supports that the figure was early 20th century based on the red stamped "China" mark and style. Early 20th century Chinese ceramic figures are usually common and of nominal value. Similar impressed stylized character marks frequently do not impact value. Based upon apparent evidence, without diligent further investigation of the impressed mark, and consultation with an expert to decipher the mark and identify the maker, the value conclusion of an appraiser could be consistent with the Cowan's estimate because of the abundance of figures with similar characteristics that are common and ordinary and sell for nominal value.

Novotny Appraisal Services in Los Angeles

General Antiques Personal Property Appraiser

"Value in Doubt? Find Out!"


(Right) Charcoal and Graphite on Paper

Norman Rockwell  (American, 1894-1978)

Untitled, depicting a mock jury, signed and dated 1942


Some objects are unique, rare and very special. A generalist appraiser must be competent to identify rare and important objects. In each and every assignment the appraiser must be competent to develop credible assignment results for every object included in the assignment. The task is daunting, knowledge and experience matter

Call Novotny now: (626) 292-2224 (sorry, but no free appraisals)


Novotny has bought, sold, consigned, collected, studied and appraised the types of objects in the above list for over 37 years. Yet within each of the above property types there may be objects with important characteristics unfamiliar to Novotny.  Clearly no person can possess the knowledge and experience to value all movable objects that exist. Every appraiser lacks knowledge and experience to some extent. 

There may be some objects for which Novotny does not conduct confirming research. Errors that could result in such scenarios will remain undetected. Novotny assumes that, if research were conducted, it would support the value opinion that was not researched.  Such assumptions could affect his assignment results. Novotny is mindful to keep the client apprised of the scope of work conducted, limiting conditions that applied and extraordinary assumption that were employed.

A client may have a property type(s) for which Novotny is not competent, such as stamps, gems and jewelry, machinery and equipment, livestock, meteorites, airplanes, intangible business assets, etc., (its a long list). Novotny will decline to appraise such objects (since he would lack the necessary knowledge and experience). Novotny may decline to value certain objects or disclose the need to consult with an expert at an additional cost. The client always has the option to hire a specialist in such instances.

Novotny may offer to imbed the independent work of another appraiser within his report in order for there to be only one report and help the client avoid the expense of an independent transmittal report.

Read his publications about the appraisal process requirements or the competency and scope of work requirements necessary to protect the public. Beware of appraiser incompetency!


If you need a generalist appraiser with solid credentials CONTACT NOVOTNY NOW  

& Personal Property Appraiser