San Francisco Bay Area Music Appraiser

The San Francisco Bay Area is thriving with a strong culture of arts, entertainment, and especially music. With San Francisco’s infamous cultural diversity and the city’s inherent eccentricities, it is evident why the city is so influential to the music industry. With its rich culture and lengthy music legacy, it is obvious that valuable music memorabilia is widespread. There is significant value in having an experienced music appraiser, such as Stephen M.H Braitman, ASA of, assist in securing and insuring your music possessions.

 Music appraisers are able to research value to the possessions you keep in your Bay Area home or business. All types of musical memorabilia including records, CDs and posters, from all eras and genres can be evaluated and appraised. It is important, however, to recognize the distinctions between an evaluation and an appraisal. Evaluations offer a quicker method of determining the average potential sale or purchase price; this best used if you want a quick estimate to sell your memorabilia or simply want to know its potential worth. On the other hand, an appraisal is needed for legal purposes. An appraisal produces a legal document of valuation for insurance, tax or property purposes and is accepted (and needed) by the I.R.S. and legal courts for donation and settlement issues.

Music Appraisal for Insurance Coverage

Insurance companies trust Music Appraisers to value possessions in an effort to insure property, make adjustments on damages, settle disputes and contribute in litigation. For instance, if the San Francisco Museum of Performance + Design (, 893B Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, 415-741-3531) wanted to make adjustments for damages to their recorded media and musical content, they could use the services of experienced music appraisal with ( to assess and determine accurate claim settlements. A music appraiser can help foster a smoother resolution in the event of a loss and the degree of damage or loss.

Louis Armstrong Music Radio Program Museum Performance
Louis Armstrong singing on the Stanford Hour radio program (1950), Part of the project, “Preserving San Francisco’s 20th c. Musical Landscape” by the Music of Performance & Design.


The Mission of the Museum of Performance + Design is to keep the unfolding history of the performing arts in the San Francisco Bay Area alive. We collect, preserve and interpret materials on performance and theater design to support learning, appreciation and creativity within a worldwide community of artists, researchers and the general public.

Music appraisers are available to conduct a thorough and objective valuation of any type and form of musical possessions. They are not only useful for appraisal or appraisal review, but are also available for litigation support and expert testimony.

If the Stanford University Archive of Recorded Sound (, 541 Lasuen Mall, Braun Music Center, Stanford, CA 94305-3076, 650-723-9312) wanted to ensure appropriate insurance coverage for their extensive music archives, they could benefit from the services of a music appraiser. An experienced appraiser will accurately assess the fair-market value of collection pieces, and prepare the required documentation for submission to insurance companies.

Yehudi Menuhin Collection
The Yehudi Menuhin Collection is one of the significant resources of the Archive of Recorded Sound at Stanford University.


The Stanford University Music Library and Archive of Recorded Sound promote research, teaching, and learning in music by providing library services that allow users to find and obtain the resources they need easily and effectively; by developing and maintaining strong collections; by permanently preserving research materials; and by improving methods of access to music materials in all forms for the Stanford University community.

 Music Appraisal for Donations

Individuals may have attained music memorabilia either purposely or accidentally (e.g. inherited it through a family members will or estate, bought a collectable from a Rolling Stones concert many years prior, etc.). Whatever the reason, they may want to donate it to a public collection or archive. Music appraisers are able to provide objective analyses of donated music possessions. They will conclude the fair-market price and provide the required documentation for a qualified charitable contribution credit with the I.R.S.

A music appraiser provides guidance, knowledge and improves the ease of making a donation to a music collection such as the Jean Gray Hargove Music Library at UC Berkeley (, Department of Music, University of California, Berkeley, 104 Morrison Hall # 120, Berkeley, CA 94720-1200, 510-642-2678).

Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library
The Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library supports advanced research in musicology and ethnomusicology, and also serves the needs of composers and performers.


The Music Library provides strong support for instruction, research, and performance at Berkeley. The Hargrove Music Library currently holds some 180,000 volumes of books and printed music, 50,000 sound and video recordings, 30,000 microforms, and extensive manuscript and archival collections.

Similarly, suppose an organization had music memorabilia they no longer wanted or needed, and simultaneously wanted to improve their image and goodwill in the Northern California community. The organization could donate these possessions to the Internet Archive (, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118, 415-561-6767). The Internet Archives goals is to digitize the bulk of humanity’s creative expressions, from books, artworks, and music. They actively solicit donations from throughout the world in all media. Both donor and recipient organizations can benefit from the music appraiser’s assessment of donated music memorabilia and certification for the charitable contribution.

Live Music Archive
The Live Music Archive of the Internet Archives has thousands of live concerts by artists from every type of music genre.


The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996, the Internet Archive has an historical Web collection (the Wayback Machine) of over 150 billion web pages, about 240,000 movies, over 500,000 audio items (including over 70,000 live concerts), over 1,800,000 texts, 1600 education items, and over 30,000 software items. And we’re growing bigger every day!

About Stephen M. H. Braitman, ASA

If you or your institution need professional music appraisal services, Stephen M. H. Braitman, ASA is an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers. He is the ONLY accredited appraiser in the country with a specialty in Recorded Media (LPs, 45s, CDs, all formats) and Music Memorabilia (Posters, Photos, Signed Instruments, Promotional Items, Artist-Owned Objects, Sheet Music & Scores). His services consist of:

Professional Appraisal Services for Individuals

  • Insurance Replacement Cost Coverage
  • IRS Charitable Donations
  • Equitable Division of Property in an Estate or Divorce
  • Estate Planning
  • Expert Witness
  • IRS Federal Estate Tax
  • Loss of Value Claims
  • Opinions of Value
  • Settlement of Damage
  • Valuation and Settlement

Expert Appraisal Services for Collectors and Professionals

  • Record Collectors and Dealers
  • Archives, Libraries, Auction Houses
  • Insurance Agencies
  • Executors for Estates

Stephen M. H. Braitman can be contacted at 415-897-6999 or email at braitman@musicappraisals.