Have you ever wondered how an appraiser would value some of the most iconic homes in America? What factors would you have to consider when coming up with a value? We sat down with Barden Prisant FRICS, president at International Art Advisors, to talk about his Iconomics Series during the RICS Summit Series Americas. Barden has valued the Chicago Curbs, Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park, and many others. His next one will be held in Los Angeles on June 5th.
Buzz: For those who don’t know you, how long have you held your RICS designation?
Barden: In 2002, I was made an Eminent Professional Fellow.
Buzz: Why was it important to you to become RICS qualified?
Barden: Most of the American organizations which include art appraisers are U.S.-centric. As years went by, I realized that more and more of my projects required an international mindset. RICS offered the clearest path to others of like mind.
Buzz: Why did you choose your field of valuation?
Barden: I majored at Yale in Art History. At the time, I studied both fine and decorative arts, but the business I started in my senior year focused on fine art. That was because it was an art database company, and coding the details of paintings lent itself to the logical structure inherent in computerization.
Buzz: Tell us about the Iconomics series at the RICS Summit Series Americas. Where did you get the idea to turn your skills to valuing the White House?
Barden: Years ago, I was speaking with Ken Patton of the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, and we realized that in both of our professions, there were some projects which truly taxed our established procedures. For me, it would have been the Mona Lisa, for him, the Empire State Building. We understood that the Red Book offered both of us guideposts and that an exploration of its application to both our fields could be both worthwhile and entertaining.
Buzz: What are the unique challenges in pinning a value on an icon?
Barden: Of course, the whole point is to find challenging subjects, though I often feel as if I have bit off more than I can chew. Ultimately, with enough help from the co-panelists who are selected for each talk, we can at least chart a way through the hazards. The paramount challenge is that we are compressing into 40 minutes what it would take a team of 20 a year to do if it were an actual assignment.
Buzz: How did the Iconomics series become a series?
Barden: Neil Shah had always figured that it was a topic which could travel well, since every locale has some form of regional icon which could be valued. Once the Summit Series came to be, I was quite gratified that he chose to include it as a fixture.
Buzz: What was the most challenging icon to value?
Barden: Awkwardly, it was the first, the White House. The building, land, and content were all unique, and the talk was delivered just prior to the election. Combined with the fact that this was the prototype presentation, it made for a bit of anxiety.
Buzz: What are you looking to accomplish next in the series?
Barden: In in 2019 Summit Series in Vancouver and L.A., we are breaking ground in two ways. In the former, we will be taking on a natural resource, a park, and in L.A., something which practically defies categorization from an appraiser’s point of view, a sign.
Buzz: Is there something you wouldn’t attempt to value or that you could not set a value for?
Barden: I am always up for a challenge. If someone would care to suggest something which is “un-valuable”, I would enjoy putting my mind to it. There is always 2020.
Buzz: Barden, thanks for talking with us today on this interesting subject!
There is still time to register for his new presentation on valuing iconic places like the Hollywood Sign on June 5th at the RICS Summit Series Americas in Los Angeles, among other important sessions for the real estate sector.