Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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 mantelpiece".

  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.

June 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 25 July 2000