Thursday 18 March 2010

The Association of International Antiquities Dealers Code of Ethics

The Association of International Antiquities Dealers Ltd. is a not-for-profit trade association, a company limited by guarantee, registered in the United Kingdom. It is an association of dealers in antiquities (including fine art, coins, metallic and ceramic objects) whose aim is
"to promote the benefits of artefact collecting and of the antiquities trade", but also "to promote responsible antiquities dealing and to provide a support network and means of exchanging relevant information about fakes, forgeries, fraudulent misrepresentation and stolen goods with a view to identifying such items offered for sale and notifying the appropriate authorities".
The AIAD Secretariat
"provides a service to Member companies and individuals dealing in antiquities by helping to establish a favourable trading and operating environment, by providing a forum for discussion on non-competitive issues, and by providing information to assist them in the achievement of their aims [...]. AIAD promotes responsible trading which necessarily includes meeting all legal requirements concerning reporting and documentation. Antiquities and ancient art dealers within AIAD apply the code of conduct set out in this website".
What a change from the attitudes of certain trade and antiquity collecting organizations over the other side of the ocean supporting robber-baron attitudes and moralities.

The AIAD Code of Conduct "is intended to provide a guarantee of responsible behaviour by Members in dealings with their customers".
1. GENERAL. The Member agrees to support the aims of the Association as set out in the constitution.
2. The Member agrees to conduct his business at all times with due regard to all pertinent current legislation and with utmost good faith.
3. Breach of the terms of this Code may result in the expulsion of the Member.
4. PROVENANCE. The Member agrees to maintain full and accurate records of relevant sales and purchases. Provenance of any item offered for sale is to be established to the extent that this is reasonably achievable, and the description thereof is to be as full and accurate as possible.
5. The Member agrees not knowingly to sell stolen items, fakes or forgeries nor to pass off as genuine items which have been restored, repaired or otherwise altered without clearly describing them as such. The Member agrees to take all reasonable steps to ensure that he has legal title to any item offered for sale.
6. The Member agrees to apply for all relevant legal permissions in respect of the supply of any item, including but not limited to export permits where applicable. A reasonable charge may be made to the purchaser for this service.
7. The Member agrees to offer appropriate written certification of items offered for sale, on request.
8. DESCRIPTION. The Member agrees to adhere to the relevant standards of best practice in advertising.
9. The member agrees to include in the item’s description the following information: (i) period and/or culture of origin; (ii) material(s) from which the item is made; (iii) any significant repair or restoration.
10. The Member agrees to take all reasonable steps to correct any errors in description or ascription in respect of any item offered for sale, and to deal promptly with any subsequent claim in respect of such an error.
11. APPROVAL. The Member agrees to provide items upon payment in full on 14 days’ approval for authenticity and grading. [...]
12. The Member agrees to offer to refund the purchase price of any item in full if the description is found to be significantly incorrect or misleading. [...]
13. VALUATIONS. The member agrees to provide written valuations for items, on request. A reasonable charge may be made for this service.
The Code does not affect the customer’s statutory rights in the United Kingdom
Interesting. It's a bit too good looking though isn't it? Point 9 omits any mention of the provenance/legal origin doesn't it? I liked the bit about reporting criminals to the relevant authorities, but wonder how many times it happens.

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