An Interview with Art Appraiser & Author Scott Zema


Scott is a long time professional art, antiques, and collectibles appraiser, certified and highly experienced in the sale of art, antiques, and collectibles as well as their appraisal. You can visit his website at to learn more about Scott and his fantastic book.

Welcome to The Writer’s Life, Scott! Would you give us a brief synopsis of what your book is about?

My book is simply about how buyers of art, antiques, and collectibles can make purchases that have and retain financial value.

How long have you been an appraiser and why did you choose the profession?

I have been an appraiser for twenty years and settled on the profession after studying art history at the college level, owning my own art and antiques business, coming from a family of art and antique dealers, working at museums, and teaching at University level. I decided (eventually) that full-time appraising and its theoretical/intellectual bent in the marketplace was best suited to talents and to a demonstrated need in my part of the country.

What’s the difference between seasoned collectors as opposed to flea market shopper sort of buyers? Can you spot the differences right away?

Right away. Seasoned collectors (hopefully) look at quality, condition, and value as well as taste. Flea market buyers or inexperienced buyers simply buy what they like without further thought about anything else.

But who can blame them? The powers that be in the art and collectibles world have solemnly declared that they have no other advice to offer!

Why do you feel that people make poor financial choices when making their art, antiques and collectible purchases? Can you give us an example?

Many reasons, but see 'Buy what you like' under industry advice given above. If that's all they are doing, how can people help but make poor financial choices? What if people bought stocks that way? What if-for example-the regents of Harvard University tailored investment of their endowments based only on what they 'liked' after a couple of glasses of wine without any other thought?

Also, prior to my book, a giant void existed in the current literature regarding analysis of the personal properties markets and the way valuable personal properties move through those markets from manufacture to museum collections. Understanding the markets is a major key to understanding how investments in art, antiques, or collectibles can benefit the consumer over time.

And I can give you lots of examples of poor investments. How about the tipsy well heeled tourist who drops a load on a severely damaged Salvador Dali print while on vacation (purchased for a 'steal')?

Damage may give me heartburn. But if the tourist likes it, so what? Who else in the art industry will argue with him besides me?

How is your book any different from other art, collectible and antique books out there that will show you the same thing?

There are mountains of books that describe every aspect of collecting except investment. Show me any other book that describes 'the same thing!' I'm really curious to see it!!!

Does your book offer any information on the care of antiques, art and collectibles after they are bought?

The book offers good, comprehensive advice in a specific chapter devoted to this topic.

I have to tell you, I love antiques. What kind of antiques are hot right now?

American folk art, native Americana, good quality Chinese antiques produced for the native market, American art pottery, American Impressionist paintings... the list is very extensive.

Back to your book, what kind of research did you have to put into the writing of THREE STEPS TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS?

Research on tax law, research on what books were available in the marketplace on the subject (virtually none), and twenty years of my company data and experience is evaluating collectibles on a continuous and daily basis.

Your book is self-published. Can you tell us why you chose that route?

I figured why bring on board other people who would control the deal and give me a pittance when the internet and my own business saavy (twenty years with a successful appraising business) keeps me in complete control and gives me the lion's share of the profits. The internet I believe is the publishing industry's potentially worst nightmare.

What, in your own situation, has been the most challenging of self-publishing your own book?

Getting the word out. It's not nearly as easy as I thought it would be.

What are the benefits of self-publishing?

I make all the decisions.

Can you tell us why you chose to go on a virtual book tour to help promote your book?

To publicize my efforts and to hopefully make money. JK Rowling, look out!

I thank you for coming, Scott. Your book sounds absolutely wonderful. Would you like to tell us how we can pick up a copy?

Please go to my website to purchase this revolutionary work.

Tags: the writer's life, book promotion, book publicity, author interviews, blogging authors, guest blog, guest bloggers, book blog, virtual book tour, online book promotion, Scott Zema
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