Memorandum submitted by Salvo
I saw some of the evidence given to the Select
Committee by the Art Loss Register in April, and noticed that
questions seemed to extend beyond the scope of the international
trade into stolen and illicitly removed objects, into the realm
of theft databases and the "theft of a clock from someone's
There are two points I would like to make known.
Firstly, we have run a special theft database
for items stolen from old buildings and gardens since 1992, and
on the Internet since 1995, which has contributed to the successful
recovery of a number of stolen items. I would not like the Select
Committee to believe that the Art Loss Register is the only body
active in this field. We have a number of police subscribers to
our theft alert system, as well as some heritage groups and strong
support from dealers in architectural and garden antiques. We
also have a code, called the Salvo Code, which has been running
since 1995, to which 80 mainly UK dealers have signed, and which
pre-dates most codes of due diligence for the antiques trade.
Secondly, we have been instrumental in the recovery
of stolen war memorials and parts of war memorials. Friends of
War Memorials are subscribers to our system. Last year I wrote
to the Works of Art Export Licensing group within the Ministry
of Culture to ask them to consider parts of war memorials "culturally
important" objects within the meaning of the EU Works of
Art export regulations. I did not receive a reply. The legislation
exists for the UK Government to require that any part of a memorial
which someone wishes to export outside the EU should have a license
issued covering that item. This would not prevent the export of
such items but could mean that, when an antiques dealer wants
to export a roll of honour containing the names of war dead, that
at least those names can be recorded for posterity prior to export.
A requirement to license could also help to reduce the chances
that stolen parts of war memorials are exported at all.
I feel it is important that someone should point
out to them that existing legislation is not used by those in
power, even though there seems to be an ever-increasing drive
towards regulation of the trade in antiques by Parliament.