Many people, when reaching the end of an illustrious career, look forward to retirement and unrestricted freedom to enjoy life. Others, like Brownsville’s Linda Wise Marin, go back to the beginning and pick up a career they left behind while attending college. “I loved art, but I loved people, too,” Marin said. “Although the many fine art electives I took in college strengthened my love of art, I completed a degree in psychology, a master’s in education and became a federal probation officer.”
Years later, Marin was Assistant Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Officer in Brownsville and approaching retirement. She set her sights on becoming a fine art appraiser and began working toward that goal. “I never lost my life-long love of art and museums,” Marin said. “I became acquainted with an antiques appraiser in Harlingen who became my mentor. She helped me learn the profession and introduced me to the International Society of Appraisers.”
Accreditation took several years, with Marin spending weekends and vacation time completing courses in Dallas, San Antonio and Chicago. Many courses included learning laws governed by the Internal Revenue Service. The learning process culminated in passing exams required by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the quality control standards board for valuation appraisal, analysis and reports in the United States.
Marin became an accredited member of ISA in 2004 and assisted her mentor in her free time. After retiring from the federal position in 2007, she became educational coordinator for the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art and later, the interim director. She continued to build her appraisal business during her spare time.
Now a full-time appraiser, Marin specializes in fine art. She also is qualified to appraise antiques (categorized as fine art by the IRS) and other areas. Personal property appraisal falls into three general categories: insurance, legal or estate. Many of Marin’s requests are from lawyers, usually during a divorce settlement or for tax assessments for inheritance and estate liquidation. The bulk of Marin’s work comes from insurance and estates.
An appraisal process includes inspection for condition, artist research and market value determination. “I examine the work carefully to determine the condition. For instance, is there a rip in the canvas? How big is the rip? Does it affect the value? I research the artist. Whether the artist is renowned or obscure is part of the determination of the market value. Then I determine the market value for the work, also through research.” Marin researches online, at antique shops and through catalogues. Fine art, which includes paintings, prints and sculpture, and antiques, uses the same appraisal methodology as antiques.
To continue reading this story by Anita Westervelt, visit the “Current & Past Issues” link on this website or pick up a copy of the March 2014 edition of Valley Business Report.