Thursday, 11 December 2008

You've bought your antiquity - now what?

Once you have decided to buy an antiquity at auction or from a dealer you may think you can sit back and relax - but consider the implications.

You are now the proud custodian of (like Rolls Royce you never truly "own") an ancient artwork.
So how do you get it home or to your office?

An anecdotal tale which should serve as a warning - on UK television awhile back ( I don't remember the exact details) an English couple were moving to Spain to open an art gallery. Having spent c£50,000 on glass sculptures they then relied on a regular household removal firm to deliver their stock for the opening of the gallery. Not surprisingly the works were a) delayed and b) broken.

Art handling is a specialist skill and there are plnety of expert companies around to assist you, so shop around and get the best quote. Of course, if buying small artworks you may be able to carry thom home yourself on the plane, by car or even the train. However, if you want a sculpture professionally installed in your home and don't know whether or not you require an export licence, let the experts worry for you. All good commercial galleries and public museums trust them, so why shouldn't you? They even have bonded warehouses to please the customs.

Export licences for antiquities are tricky things in the UK at present becuase of the 'Waverley Criteria' and zero-rating, which I will explain soon.

For now we recommend the following for UK clients:

Gander and White
Constantine Ltd
Martinspeed Ltd
Ward Thomas

Good Luck

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