Collectibles and Memorabilia : Finding A Good Appraiser

Finding A Good Appraiser

I'm looking for a knowledgeable appraiser for some items that had belonged to my father's great-aunt, and now sit in my apartment, after we sold my parents' house. (My father would have turned 100 last year, to give a gauge of age.)

- An extensive collection of silverware, the knives with Mother-of-Pearl handles ... place settings for 8, and miscellaneous other pieces. (118 pieces, altogether)

- An 8-place setting of dishes that are thin, opaque white glass. I don't know if it is, technically "milk glass," as I think of that as thick, with a knobby surface.

- Two gold "gentleman's pocket watches."

I'm not looking to make a fortune, but I do want a fair appraisal. I know that I'm not going to use them. Some have warned me about jewelers who will underestimate the value, and offer to buy. What used to be "Butterfield and Butterfield," now "Barton's and Butterfield," have a local reputation for being quite condescending, and I've been told that Sotheby's tends toward fine art.

What questions should I ask an appraiser about his/her/the company's background?

Should I just get multiple appraisals?

Is there a specialty, apart from jewelry, that would be best for the dishes?

I live in San Francisco, and these kinds of services are fairly plentiful. I just want to know the best way to approach the effort.

Thank you.