After years of debate the European Union formally adopted a new regulation on the importation of cultural goods on April 17 which came into force in June.
However, it is expected the import licensing measures within the regulation will become law in the EU during 2020, although it is unlikely to be fully operational until an electronic system is introduced five years later.
The law will require cultural objects more than 200 years old that originated outside the EU to have identifying documents when imported or exported from the EU.
Drawn up to stop illicit trafficking of antiquities into the EU – a perceived source of income for terrorists and organised crime groups – the regulation was described as “clumsy and ill-thought-out” by dealer trade bodies who had lobbied to change the wording of some of it.
The proposed regulation involves:
- Items such as archaeological works originating from ‘vulnerable countries’ will require import licences demonstrating legal export from the last country in which they rested for a period of no less than five years.
- Items over 200 years old and valued above €18,000 will require the holder to issue an importer statement, backed by detailed identifying documents, warranting that the items have been legally exported.
Art thief sentenced
A prolific pensioner art thief was sentenced to two years in jail in April.
Paul Whiting, 73, of Hounslow in west London, was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court after he stole Park by the artist Frederick Deane (b.1924) from a west London club. Whiting stole the painting in November 2018 and was identified from CCTV by detectives from the Met’s Art & Antiques Unit.
At Isleworth Crown Court, Whiting also admitted a separate count of burglary relating to Fenton House, a National Trust property in north-west London.
New ABA president
Book dealer Roger Treglown became the new president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, taking over from Angus O’Neill of Omega Bookshop in London.
Treglown, who operates from an office in Macclesfield, believes he is the first president of the venerable ABA – the world’s oldest art trade association – to come from “north of the Watford Gap”.
Speaking about his appointment at the time, he said: “I think it is also very important to remember to put something back into the trade. Many people just take but I am trying to put something back.”
BADA president resigns
Victoria Borwick, president of the British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA), resigned after nearly four years in the post. BADA’s council asked previous BADA chairman Ian Walker to act as interim president while a new president was sought. He remains in this post.
Ardingly fair turns 50
The April 23-24 edition of Ardingly International Antiques & Collectors’ Fair celebrated the event’s 50th anniversary. Caroline Penman, now a doyenne of the circuit, launched her midweek South of England Antiques Trade Fair at the South of England Showground at Ardingly in West Sussex in 1969. It is now run by IACF.