You are here:

Distance Learning/distance learning for antiques/appraising and valuating fine/decorative art


D Arecher wrote at 2010-10-19 16:39:46
As someone who works for a major auction house, I can maybe help clear-up a few of the questions in the previous answer/post.

When it comes to the hiring of appraisers, our auction house uses graduates from not only the Southampton Institute as well as the Asheford Institute of Antiques, but also from the University of Central Lancashire.

Over the years we have found that these organizations have been consistent in the quality of education that they provide to students, as well as to potential employers.  

Each school has its own strengths, and although the Southampton Institute and the University of Central Lancashire offer degrees, this should not diminish your options of choice, since a school such as the Asheford Institute, which is solely devoted to the instruction of antiques, collectibles and appraising, and has been doing so since the mid-1960's, can be done entirely through correspondence (or online). All of these programs are well respected within their field of study, and are recognized internationally.

The best way to find out what program might suit your needs, would be to Google each of these organizations, and see what comes up. Find out what people are doing with their degrees and certifications, and see if that fits with the profession you're looking to enter into.

As I mentioned earlier, as an employer of appraisers, we use the above schools (and a few others), as the primary "pool" for our hiring requirements - each of these organizations provides recognized teaching principles, sound training, and are well recognized in the antique community.

If you're looking for a comprehensive program that is geared towards the "professional" study of antiques and appraising, then my recommendation would be to start your investigation with these schools first...

Bret wrote at 2012-01-31 16:28:05
Greetings Lisa,

Not sure about being able to fully answer your question, about all these different organizations, but I do know that one of the schools you mention (Asheford Institute of Antiques) does certify it's appraisers internationally. I spoke with a gentleman a while back who worked at a fairly large auction house in London, and they were using a number of Asheford graduates at their UK offices for appraisers (I was on a buying trip at the time). I'm not sure if these credentials from Asheford would apply or be valid in Ireland, but I would think it to be likely. You can always contact them to find out, and ask how extensive their international certification process is. Hope this is of some benefit to you. Best, Bret

dt wrote at 2015-07-05 23:42:00
I have taken the course and also looked for reviews before making the investment. I did quite a bit of research and was not able to come up with much, which after taking the course I was quite surprised. Here is my unbiased review.

I ordered the course and received the materials in about four or five days. I was exited to begin exploring the material and learning. However, my first experience was that they had put another students appraisal card in my kit. This could have been an honest mistake, but after paying for the course in full instead of installment plans at close to $1000, this did not leave me with a good feeling.

Inspecting the kit I found the material for the course was not intended to present itself very professionally and worth the money paid. The books were all what appeared to be simply bound pages run off on a copier. I dismissed this again only thinking who cares what the material look like. There must be a wealth of information that will help me in my business.

I took a few days to review some of the books. I believe you get five days to send it back for a full refund. I skimmed through most of the books and was not overly impressed. Again, I though I would give it a try and the five days to return the material for a refund expired.

The series of books mostly contain a profit book and a pleasure book. The profit goes into the business side of things while the pleasure deals with antiques themselves.

I completed the first set of books and did not feel there was much useful information. The profit section was mostly common sense material for anyone that has taken a general business course or high school equivalent. The pleasure section mostly focused on furniture, history, and the restoration of furniture. I passed this all off again and thought it only had to get better.

Finishing the series of books I found it did not get any better. At best close to 3/4 of the pleasure books focused on the history of furniture, the restoration of furniture, and identifying furniture. In addition, there were many grammar errors in the books and I even found one to have duplicate pages.

Another book focused on the travel of either the founder or an instructor with the course and it did not focus on antiques at all. This almost seemed as though it was used as a fill for the book to make it seem to have more information.

The conclusion is do not waste the time or money on the Ashford Institute of Antiques course. The course is outdated, poorly put together, and will not add any value for the money spent. It is a money maker for the people running the course and this is intrinsically reminded at the end of each book as the author reminds the reader to send in a payment if they are on a payment plan for the course. There may be two or three hundred dollars worth of material with the price guide in the course. The remaining balance is profit for Ashford. This may explain why they are able to write about their European travels so extensively.

You can get the same education by reading some antique, restoration, and business books from the library and paying a few dollars in late fines.  

Melvin wrote at 2016-01-07 15:01:46
This is obviously a very, very old post with an answer that seems somewhat outdated and riddled with incorrect information.

If you are looking for "International" accreditation in the field of appraising for antiques, collectibles and memorabilia, then the "certification" process offered by the Asheford Institute is probably going to be the best way to go.

The Asheford school is not only recognized in North America, but throughout Europe and Asia as well. Our auction house is located in Hong Kong, and we've used and hired valuers from the Asheford Institute for over 30 years, with very good results.

In my experience working with professional appraisers and insurance companies, I would say that the program from Asheford is likely to take you a lot farther than any other if your aim is to become an appraiser in the field of antiques.

Distance Learning

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Gert Potgieter


Undergraduate and graduate degrees by distance learning through universities based in the U.S. as well as in other countries (such as South Africa, U.K., Australia, Canada). How to pick a legitimate program and avoid the scams. Accreditation -- what it means and why it`s important.


I have completed courses by distance education from institutions on three different continents. I am an adjunct professor in the online graduate program at a major state university in the U.S.

Author or co-author of 37 scientific publications. (None of them about distance education, though.)

BSc South Africa; MS, PhD Stanford University; MSc Birkbeck College, University of London (in progress, distance education); MProfComp University of Southern Queensland (in progress, distance education).

©2017 All rights reserved.