Any collector wanting to have her/his fans appraised should first thoroughly catalogue the collection. Note the fan’s date, dimensions, materials, possible province and a detailed description. If possible, also include information about prices realized by comparable fans at sales/auctions and references to similar fans in any of the standard fan books. (See the cataloging section in Mary Rhoads’ The Fan Directory for further information). Doing this preparation ahead of time will save on charges from the appraiser you select.
Fans are a highly specialized area; finding a qualified appraiser is not always easy. Become part sleuth: question other fan collectors; ask recommendations from museums, costume or historical societies with fan collections; consult an art historian at a nearby college; discover if your insurance company can recommend someone; see if a tax lawyer has suggestions. If you are seriously considering selling fans of high quality, contact a major auction house. If you want only an appraisal for your own use, ask if the auction house has an upcoming appraisal seminar or walk-in clinic.