View frequently asked questions and common solutions to problems with using this website. For additional support on how to use this website please feel free to contact us.

Frequently asked questions

Anyone who presents with verifiable personal details and remits the appropriate search fee can instruct the ALR to carry out a search. The complexities of provenance with works of art necessitate that all searches are professionally investigated. In the event that the item is discovered to have been stolen we may make the details of those making the search available to law enforcement agencies.

The range of items which can be registered on the database is huge, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, antiquities, furniture, jewellery, watches and clocks, musical instruments, silverware, coins and medals, ceramics, religious items, arms and armour, tapestries, classic cars, toys and collectibles. More critical for inclusion is the ability to register the item in such a way that it is uniquely identifiable, so that a future match can be made without contention. Please register with as much of the following as possible: good quality images, edition number, signatures, accurate measurements information on damages or restorations and where relevant serial numbers.

This varies enormously, but around the world there are probably 150 cases active at any one time.  Some are in preliminary investigation, others in complex negotiation, others waiting for paintings to be sold and others in the final throes of litigation.

Some items re-emerge in the market quickly via attempted public sales or police seizures. Other items take many years to reappear. For example, many items that were looted during the Second World War have only recently surfaced on the international market, some 60 years after the outbreak of hostilities. Victims have to be patient.

One popular perception is that there is a “Mr Big” holding all these items. While this is probably a myth, many high value items are traded by a small number of international crime gangs as an easily transported currency. There is a black market where items are traded at a fraction of their open market value. In some cases, the costs and difficulties of legitimising a stolen item means that they are stored for years in bank vaults or under beds. Sadly some objects may be destroyed, like metal sculptures, which are melted down for their scrap value or artworks burnt by thieves, fearful of their discovery.

Approximately three to four working days, unless you are notified that further information or further research is required. If you require an urgent response then please contact our office as we can offer a response within one working day through our urgent searches.

The ALR offers an annual subscription (£500, $800 or €700) for 25 searches, or you may pay for each search carried out at £60, $95 or €80 per search, plus where applicable VAT.

When submitting the completed search form to the ALR, you will be given the opportunity to purchase a subscription, or to pay for individual searches.

Loss/theft registrations:
Loss registrations are charged on a basis of £10, US$15 or €15 per item (plus VAT where applicable), but please contact us directly in case of a large theft.

Registering your current possessions:
Processing fees for positive registrations are also charged on a per item basis, at £10/$15/€15 per item.

Depending on the quality of information provided, the ALR may be able to arrange a reduced registration fee for large collections. Please contact us to discuss.

We accept Visa, Visa Delta, Mastercard, Switch, Solo and American Express.

Sterling, US Dollars and Euros.

Common technical problems and solutions

As you fill out a registration or search online, our website will save your progress automagically. You will notice an “autosaving” animation occasionally in the bottom right hand part of the website when it does this. Saved but not completed registrations or searches can be continued from your account page.

Most likely this is due to the file size. We are unable to accept files larger than 10Mb via the website. We are unable to accept attachments by email larger than 25Mb via email. If your photo is larger than this, please consider reducing the size of the file or contacting us to arrange a workaround.