The International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) was formed in London in 1993. IADAA is the international association of leading dealers in works of ancient art with high ethical standards. Members adhere to a stringent code of conduct designed to serve not only the interests of their clients but also the integrity of the objects themselves.
At present, 32 members from eight countries belong to IADAA. Membership is highly sought after but hard to achieve; applications are rigorously vetted.
History of IADAA
The foundation conference took place at the Westbury Hotel in London on July 4th 1993. Within the first year, 30 of the world’s leading galleries for antiquities were members. One of the main objectives of IADAA is to encourage cooperation between the trade, museums, and the archaeological community. For this purpose, IADAA has organised a number of colloquia. Its members regularly participate in national and international conferences relating to Protection of Cultural Property.
Since 1996, IADAA has cooperated formally with the Art Loss Register, the world’s largest database of stolen works of art. Since then each member of IADAA is required to check all objects with a resale value of more than 5.000 Euros or over (or local currency equivalent) with the Art Loss Register as part of their due diligence procedure.
Objectives – an extract from Article 2 of the Rules of the IADAA
- To encourage the study and interest throughout the world of ancient art and to address issues exclusively concerning works of ancient art from the Mediterranean civilisations and other civilisations directly in contact with them.
- To encourage contacts between museums, archaeologists, collectors and the trade and to foster their relations with governmental and non-governmental international organisations.
- To actively encourage the protection and preservation of ancient sites.
- IADAA subscribes to the view put forward in the Preamble to the Hague Convention of the 14th May 1954 (249 U.N.T.S. 240), that “Damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world.” The members of IADAA believe that a more liberal and rational approach to regulations on the import and export of works of art will help to protect world cultural heritage.
- To organise mutual assistance between dealers in works of ancient art and official institutions, by communicating to members of IADAA all information needed to apply strictly to the IADAA Code of Ethics and Practice. (cf Annex I).
Annex I – Code of Ethics and Practice
- The Members of IADAA will make their purchases in good faith.
- The Members of IADAA undertake not to purchase or sell objects until they have established to the best of their ability that such objects were not stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions or private property.
- The Members of IADAA refuse to dismember and sell separately parts of one complete object.
- The Members of IADAA undertake to their best ability to keep intact complete assemblages that were originally meant to be kept together.
- The Members of IADAA undertake to the best of their ability to keep photographic records prior to repair and restoration, to be honest and open by describing in writing the amount of repair and restoration undertaken to a prospective purchaser.
- The Members of IADAA guarantee the authenticity of all objects they offer by the best of their professional knowledge and belief.
- The Members of IADAA undertake to inform the Administrative Board about stolen goods and thefts. The Members of IADAA also undertake to co-operate with international and national agencies involved with the recovery of stolen goods.
- It is a condition of IADAA that Members should exercise due diligence when buying items of ancient art. Unless a piece has already been checked, Members must ensure that any item which is to be sold at a price in excess of €5,000 (or local currency equivalent) must be checked against a database of stolen art, approved by the Board, such as The INTERPOL Database of stolen art or The Art Loss register.
- IADAA condemns illegal use of metal detectors.
Annex II – Due Diligence Guidelines
- In order to prevent the illicit trade in stolen antiquities, the Members of IADAA must endeavour to take the following steps:
- Require a vendor to provide their name and address and to sign and date a form identifying the item for sale and confirming that it is the unencumbered property of the vendor which they are authorised to sell.
- Verify the identity and address of new vendors and record the details
- Pay particular attention in the case of any item offered for sale where the asking price does not equate to its market value
- If you are offered an item you suspect to be stolen
(a) Attempt to retain the item while enquiries are made
(b) Contact the appropriate authorities
(c) Check with the relevant stolen property registers
- Look critically at any instance when requested to pay in cash and avoid doing so unless there is a strong and reputable reason to the contrary. In the absence of such a reason pay by cheque or other method that provides an audit trail.
- Be aware of money laundering regulations
- Ensure that staff are aware of their responsibilities in respect of the above code
- You should be particularly careful only to acquire well provenanced objects from actual trouble spots and adhere to national laws and international regulations with regard to the above.
Please note that members’ national laws must be considered with regard to the above.
As approved by the General Assembly on 11th November 2015. Adapted by the General Assembly on 5th December 2018.