Use this skill to tell an antique from old junk, a sword that is old and fancy from an elven heirloom, and high-quality jewelry from cheap stuff made to look good.
Check: You can appraise common or well-known objects with a DC 12 Appraise check. Failure means that you estimate the value at 50% to 150% of its actual value. The DM secretly rolls 2d6+3, multiplies the result by 10%, multiplies the actual value by that percentage, then tells you the resulting value for the item. (For a common or well-known item, your chance of estimating the value within 10% is fairly high even if you fail the check in - which a case, you made a lucky guess.)
Appraising a rare or exotic item requires a successful check against DC 15, 20, or higher. If the check is successful, you estimate the value correctly; failure means you cannot estimate the item's value.
A magnifying glass gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Appraise checks involving any item that is small or highly detailed, such as a gem. A merchant's scale gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Appraise checks involving any items that are valued by weight, including anything made of precious metals. These bonuses stack.
Action: Appraising an item takes 1 minute (ten consecutive full-round actions).
Try Again: No. You cannot try again on the same object, regardless of success.
Special: A dwarf gets a +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items because dwarves are familiar with valuable items of all kinds (especially those made of stone or metal).
The master of a raven familiar gains a +3 bonus on Appraise checks.
A character with the Diligent feat gets a +2 bonus on Appraise checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 ranks in any craft skill, you gain a +2 bonus on appraise checks related to items made with that Craft skill.
Untrained: For common items, failure on an untrained check means no estimate. For rare items, success means an estimate of 50% to 150% (2d6+3 times 10%).
For Dwarves and Gnomes
Many dwarves develop a keen sense of value, and their love of stone and metal makes them even more skilled at evaluating such items.
In addition to using Appraise to determine the value of items they are offered in trade (or come across in their adventures), the dwarves have another use for this valuable skill. By turning a knowledgeable eye to an item, a dwarf can discern if it is dwarvencraft or of dwarven manufacture.
Likewise, no culture that prizes the arts as highly as that of the gnomes can lack a way to critically evaluate nontangible works of art such as music, drama, or writing. A specialized use of the Appraise skill allows gnomes to discern the value of a performance by viewing, listening, or reading a Work, thereby rating the skill and value of the artist as well.
Check: In addition to appraising concrete items, any character can appraise the quality of a performance. A successful Appraise check (using the DCs above) means that you estimate the approximate daily income a performer might be able to expect from a performance of this quality, as shown in the Perform skill description.
A character can also appraise a work being performed to determine its value, just as a physical item can be appraised. See the Craft skill for approximate values for artistic works.
Fast Appraise: You can appraise an item quickly, but the DC increases by 5. Failing the check means that you cannot estimate the item's value at all, much like Appraise checks made to determine the value of rare or exotic items. Appraising an item quickly takes 1 round.
Identify Dwarven Craftwork: You can tell whether an item is dwarvencraft or of dwarven manufacture or by making a successful DC 10 Appraise check.
Action: Normally, appraising an item takes 1 minute. Appraising the quality of a performance requires the character to view and listen to the performance for 1 minute. However, appraising the actual work being performed (the entire song or poem, for example) requires the character to view and listen to the entire performance.
Try Again: If you attempt a normal Appraise check, you cannot try again on the same object, regardless of success. If you fail to appraise an item quickly (or even if you succeed), you can still try to appraise the item normally. Doing so requires the normal amount of time (1 minute).
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in any Perform skill, you get a +2 bonus on Appraise checks related to performances using that Perform skill.
Expanded Description - Complete Adventurer
Whether performing a daring burglary or a hasty act of espionage, adventurers don't always have time to carefully study the value of potential loot. Characters can use the Appraise skill to make a quick but rough estimation of an item's value.
Check: You can appraise an item quickly, but the DC is higher. Failing the check means that you cannot estimate the item's value.
Trade goods (spices, food stuffs, raw materials, etc.), mundane items, livestock
Fine clothing, precious metals (unworked), gems, artwork
Unusual gems (strange colorings, unusual to the region, unusually large or pure), spell components, jewelry, obscure religious items
Masterpiece artwork, royal jewels, crowns, or other adornments
Action: Appraising an item quickly takes 1 round.
Try Again: You can try to appraise an item normally (requires 1 minute), but you cannot try to appraise the item quickly again. You can try to appraise an item normally whether or not you successfully appraise the item quickly.
Special: The Appraise Magic Value feat enables you to use the Appraise skill to determine a magic item's properties.