Stolen art database attracts new subscribers

The Art Loss Register, the world’s largest private database of stolen, missing and looted art, antiques and collectibles, has announced that 100 auction houses are now subscribing to its due diligence services.

photo for SecurityThis represents an increase of 50% in the number of auction houses checking their catalogues with the database in the last three years.

The Art Loss Register’s scope is worldwide, with subscribers based in the UK, USA, France, Norway, Austria and Holland, and with growing numbers from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of smaller and regional auction house subscribers. The Art Loss Register checks 400,000 items offered on the international art market each year, the majority of which are in auction catalogues.

The key benefit for auction houses of searching items with the Art Loss Register is that it significantly reduces the risk of selling items that are stolen or subject to a claim.

For the victims of theft and insurers, the increase in the number of auction houses working with the service means that their chances of recovery are significantly improving. Last year, the register helped to locate stolen items ranging from artworks by Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, Keith Haring and Anish Kapoor, to Rolex watches, tribal art, English furniture and Roman antiquities in the sale catalogues of auction houses.

James Ratcliffe, General Counsel and Director of Recoveries at the Art Loss Register said, “It is fantastic to see the huge increase in subscribing auction houses over the last three years. This is testament both to the hard work and skills of the whole team here at the ALR; and also the increasing recognition across the market of the need to carry out a recognised standard of due diligence on transactions. As a result, it is
becoming more and more difficult for thieves to profit from the theft of art.”

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