Law, crime and regulation

Legal cases, stolen art, regulation and tax issues remain important part of the art and antiques sector.

This category ranges from the levy of the Artist’s Resale Right to controversies over fakes and forgeries.


Stolen goods conspiracy – dealer gets five years

13 September 1999

UK: A DEALER who “fenced” nearly a million pounds worth of stolen art and antiques over six years has been jailed for five years.

Helpline to beat art and antiques theft across UK

06 September 1999

UK: FROM September 6, 1999, antiques dealers and auctioneers can check up on any suspicious item they are being offered instantly, seven days a week.

Tiffany expert convicted of trafficking stolen windows

16 August 1999

US: TIFFANY stained glass authority Alistair Duncan was convicted on Thursday by a New York federal jury on all five counts of trafficking in Tiffany windows stolen from cemetaries and mausoleums.

Sotheby’s case retrial

09 August 1999

UK: A MAN charged with stealing part of the treasured collection of a rugby legend from Sotheby’s faces a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Italian gang leaves pattern of duplicity

19 July 1999

AT LEAST a dozen of the world’s top dealers appear to have lost goods as a result of a series of elaborate and sophisticated swindles carried out by a gang operating out of Northern Italy during the past nine months.

Kent dealers plan to block registration bill

12 July 1999

UK: GROWING concern has led to calls for action among dealers in Kent faced with a new law which would make it a criminal offence not to register and keep detailed records when buying and selling secondhand goods in the county.

Chattels rules may backfire

12 July 1999

UK: ALMOST all of the 22,000 heritage chattels exempted from tax since 1976 will not qualify again under the new Government rules when they come up for reassessment, Sotheby’s believe.

Chattels and human rights

05 July 1999

UK: THE Government’s policy of forcing the private owners of national treasures to grant more public access to them could soon face a legal challenge.

Give and take on art import VAT

05 July 1999

UK: THERE was good news and bad news from the Treasury last week on the subject of art import VAT.

Droit de suite dropped as pressure pays off

28 June 1999

EU: THE PROSPECT of droit de suite spreading throughout the European Union receded last week when the Internal Market Council found that resistance to the principle of artists’ resale rights had grown and the measure was shelved.

Fixtures ruling may free tied heirlooms

14 June 1999

UK: A RULING which could lift the ban on the sale of some listed artefacts and set a precedent for other cases is expected from the Department of the Environment within weeks.

Instant access to stolen database

01 June 1999

UK: THE Art and Antiques Helpline, a seven-day-a-week service which will give access to one of the most comprehensive databases of stolen art and antiques, is to come into operation this summer.

French auction reform – the bill is altered

01 June 1999

FRANCE: A NEW date of June 10 has been set for the first parliamentary reading of the long-delayed bill reforming French auction system.

VAT row – how the EU fudged it

17 May 1999

EU: THE publication on the Internet of the report compiled for the European Commission on the effect of doubling VAT on works of art imported for sale from outside the EC has exposed huge flaws in the Commission’s argument for pressing ahead with the increased tax, say leading members of the trade.

Sotheby’s told they can release Rossi lots

03 May 1999

ITALY: SOTHEBY’S have been informed that they can release to their purchasers the 23 lots on which the Italian authorities had requested a review of export licences immediately prior to the three-day sale of the Rossi Collection which ended on March 12.

VAT on import art will double

03 May 1999

UK: BARRING an unexpected over-ruling by the Council of Ministers, the VAT charged on works of art imported to the UK from outside the European Union will double from 2.5 to five per cent on July 1.

Trade sets up a new body for grass roots dealers

26 April 1999

UK: THE threat of well-meaning but potentially damaging measures to curb crime in Kent has spurred the trade to set up a national association for grass roots dealers.

Tax deal struck for Mariana

26 April 1999

UK: CHRISTIE’S and Agnew’s have confirmed that they have successfully negotiated the sale of the Millais masterpiece Mariana in the Moated Grange to the nation in lieu of tax.

Treasure trove pilot

19 April 1999

UK: MORE than 13,500 archaeological items were found and recorded in the first year of a Government scheme to register historical finds, a new report reveals.

Latest acceptances in lieu of tax

19 April 1999

ARTS Minister Alan Howarth has announced a new list of works accepted for the nation in lieu of tax.

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