Hello again JA Customer,
IRS Publication 561 provides the following rules for putting a value on paintings, antiques and other objects of art and states the following:
Your deduction for contributions of paintings, antiques, and other objects of art, should be supported by a written appraisal from a qualified and reputable source, unless the deduction is $5,000 or less.
Art valued at $20,000 or more. If you claim a deduction of $20,000 or more for donations of art, you must attach a complete copy of the signed appraisal to your return. For individual objects valued at $20,000 or more, a photograph of a size and quality fully showing the object, preferably an 8 x 10 inch color photograph or a color transparency no smaller than 4 x 5 inches, must be provided upon request.
More weight will usually be given to an appraisal prepared by an individual specializing in the kind and price range of the art being appraised. Certain art dealers or appraisers specialize, for example, in old masters, modern art, bronze sculpture, etc. Their opinions on the authenticity and desirability of such art would usually be given more weight than the opinions of more generalized art dealers or appraisers. They can report more recent comparable sales to support their opinion.
To identify and locate experts on unique, specialized items or collections, you may wish to use the current Official Museum Directory of the American Association of Museums. It lists museums both by state and by category. You might also check with the museum that you plan to donate this artwork to, and see if they have a qualified appraiser on staff that can provide these appraisals for you.
If the total amount you would be claiming for the value of this artwork is $5,000 or less, then you could also use the method of comparable property sales to value the artwork. This would entail finding similar art work that is for sale by the same artist or an artist with a similar background and reputation. Using an appraiser is still recommended as in the event of an audit this would hold more weight, but you could use this method if the entire value of the collection is less than $5,000.
Thank you JA Customer