FAQs


About the Art Loss Register

The Art Loss Register (ALR) was founded in 1990 – you can read all about our history on our dedicated page.

You can keep up to date with the latest news and articles on our dedicated page, or follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

We carry out more than 400,000 checks on items on the market each year. This is on behalf of subscribing auction houses and art fairs, as well as law enforcement, museums, dealers, banks, lenders, lawyers, art advisors, pawnbrokers and private collectors.

See also:

We work closely with police worldwide to register stolen items and inform them when those objects are located.

We are frequently consulted by governmental and intergovernmental organisations regarding policy and laws related to cultural property. Recent examples include EU Cultural Property Import Regulations, Nicosia Convention on Deliberate Destruction of Heritage and the UK’s Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act. We have also been invited to address the Legal Committee of the European Parliament on the topic of Cross Border Restitution and UNODC conferences on stolen and looted cultural property.

We also work represented and acted on behalf of nation states in recovering and repatriating cultural property. Examples of repatriations undertaken by the ALR alongside international law enforcement include Italy, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria and India – to name a few.

Our work on behalf of law enforcement and in representing nation states is free of charge.

For more than 30 years, our team has been the world-leading private resource in recovering stolen art, antiques and collectibles. We locate about 300 objects each year, and are working on more than 150 cases at any one time. Alongside assisting law enforcement and private clients in the recovery of stolen art, we also offer dispute resolution and mediation services in art-related claims.

Many of the cases on which we work are Nazi restitution cases, where our Recovery and Provenance Research teams are able to assist claimants for Nazi looted artworks, as well as those subject to forced sales or other losses in the period 1933-45. For further information about this aspect of our work, do get in touch with us directly.

An ever-increasing part of our work is in the field of the repatriation of cultural property – particularly objects designated by the market as ‘antiquities’, ‘tribal art’ and ‘ethnographic art’. To assist law enforcement and nation states in the recovery of stolen and looted cultural property, our services to register objects reported as stolen on our database and to recover objects already located are offered free-of-charge.

Alongside the registration of objects reported as stolen or missing, we have also launched the Cultural Heritage At Risk Database (CHARD) to register objects in situ at museums, warehouses and archaeological sites, to ensure that if such items are stolen they can be identified if offered for sale. This service is offered to complement the hard work of the museum professionals and archaeologists who painstakingly record these objects in the first place, as well as those who risk their lives every day to protect them. The project hopes to assist in the protection of these objects in perpetuity by informing registrant governments, ministries, museums or archaeologists – as well as any relevant law enforcement agencies – should those objects appear on the market.

Find out more about CHARD, or get in touch directly for more information about our work in this area.

Alongside the registration of stolen and lost items, we also register objects within collections to ensure that the owner is notified whenever the object is offered for sale or a loan. We call this ‘Positive Registration’, and it is offered particularly to large public, private and corporate collections – especially those based in multiple locations or where objects are often consigned.

In addition, artworks pledged as collateral or subject to an ownership dispute can be registered on our database so that you can be informed if and when the object is offered for sale and take steps to protect that interest if necessary.

Find out more about Positive Registration, ownership interests, collateral and disputes, or contact us directly to register items under this service.

Our multinational team have backgrounds as lawyers, provenance researchers, art advisers and dealers, the police, insurers, archaeologists, art historians and in technology.

We maintain a small team and there tend to be job openings only when a colleague sadly leaves us. We will advertise accordingly when full-time positions are available.

We also offer three-month, full-time internships at our office in London. We take on one intern at a time, and they help with our work in provenance research, managing relationships with clients and office administration. The internships each run for the period of January-March, April-June, July-September and October-December. Applications are accepted throughout the year with a short cover email and CV attached to [email protected] We arrange interviews for a shortlist of candidates approximately 2 months before the start of each position.

Please note that we can currently only consider applicants for internships that already have the right to work in the UK.

 

Searching with the ALR

The ALR provides due diligence checks on behalf of auction houses, art fairs, dealers, museums, banks and lenders, advisors and private collectors – anyone interacting with the sale or loan of artworks. To find out more about the process, visit our Search page.

You may submit a search by clicking the ‘Start a new search’ button at the bottom of this page, or log in to the ‘My Account’ area.

The fee for a single search is £70, €80 or $95 (plus VAT where applicable). Alternatively, you can buy a search subscriptions which are valid for a year from date of purchase:

  • Subscription up to 10 searches in a year: £450, €500 or $600
  • Subscription up to 25 searches in a year: £800, €900 or $1,000
  • Subscription up to 50 searches in a year: £1,500, €1,650 or $1,800 (all prices above plus VAT where applicable).

We also offer subscriptions to auction houses and art fairs for searching objects in higher volumes (see below).

Auction subscription fees are typically calculated on the basis of the number of lots searched on a 12 month basis. We only search lots above a given threshold value, usually £1,000 / €1,500 / $2,000. While this is the recommended threshold for searching, thresholds may vary. We charge the following standard rate per lot for each region (VAT exclusive):

UK: £2.50 (or £2.25 for auction houses with over 2,000 searchable lots per year)
US: $4.00
DACH region: €3.50
Europe (excluding DACH): €3.00

There is a minimum annual subscription fee of £600 / €700 / $800 for auction houses (VAT exclusive).

Auction house specialising in more complex items (e.g. antiquities, coins, books, musical instruments) which require additional research are charged higher rates.

Global auction houses may have different agreements in place based on their specific requirements.

If you require an urgent search of the ALR’s database then please contact the ALR via [email protected] or on +44 (0)20 7841 5780.

There are then two options regarding submission and payment:

  • If you submit the details of the artwork via your website account, then once submitted there is a discounted additional fee of £230, €260 or $305 (plus VAT where applicable).
  • If you submit the details of the work via email, it will cost the full urgent fee price of £300, €340 or $400 (plus VAT where applicable).

If all necessary information is provided and no further detailed provenance research is required a response can be given to an urgent search within one working day.

We not only conduct an internal check of our own database – which includes the Interpol database – but also other specialist databases, archives and resources, including six external databases relating to the period 1933-45. Further research is then conducted by the ALR’s specialist team depending on the type of object and its provenance.

If you have any questions about what specific resources are checked before an ALR Certificate is issued we would be very happy to provide you with more information if you contact us directly.

Yes. As well as the information that we require for all other types of item, there is a minimum requirement for provenance prior to 2000. For further information, and for guidelines as to how to submit searches of antiquities, tribal and Asian art, see our dedicated page.

Yes. So long as we have the minimum requirements for current ownership, we can still search it. It may take a little longer than normal if there is no known provenance, but we will also let you know if we uncover any during the course of our research.

Provided that the information we need is given to us, we would usually expect to be able to issue a certificate if the item does not match with an item on our database, or if no potential problem is indicated in the provenance. There are exceptions to this though and sometimes it is not possible to issue a certificate and it is not guaranteed. The most common reason for the latter is if you are unable to provide requested information or documentation regarding the item’s provenance.

We carry out more than 400,000 checks on items on the market each year. This is on behalf of subscribing auction houses and art fairs, as well as law enforcement, museums, dealers, banks, lenders, lawyers, art advisors, pawnbrokers and private collectors.

See also:

Checking stolen art databases is an important part of due diligence when buying, selling or loaning against art and antiques. For more than 30 years, the ALR has been working with police, insurers and victims of theft to provide a global service in recording stolen and disputed art and antiques, and therefore we provide as up-to-date database for these losses as possible. Furthermore, we check additional databases and resources as part of our research, to ensure as complete a check as time allows.

Unfortunately, no database of stolen art, antiques and collectables can be complete, but an ALR Certificate will provide an important defence and demonstration of due diligence as part of a holder’s good faith should any claim be brought forward for an object.

There is an important distinction between the services that we provide for auction house catalogues and as part of vetting at art fairs on the one hand, and an ALR certificate on the other.

  • The service for the auction house catalogues and at art fairs is a check against the ALR database. Further research is conducted if there may be an issue arising from the database check, or that is immediately apparent from the provenance. When this check is complete, we move on to the next object in the catalogue or at the fair, and no confirmation is issued for an individual item. This service is therefore to minimise the risk that the object is reported as stolen or subject to a dispute on the ALR database, but does not include the additional database checks and research that are incorporated into those for an ALR Certificate. You can find a list of these auction house subscribers and art fairs on our website, although bear in mind that not every object at all these subscribers have been checked.
  • For an ALR Certificate, we carry out the checks mentioned above, as well as checks of other databases and archives (e.g. those relating to the period 1933-45). Further research is then conducted by the ALR’s specialist team depending on the type of object and its provenance. For example, if there are gaps in the provenance of the object in the period 1933-45, the ALR’s specialist Provenance Research team may well have checked some resources available in case there might be further information yet to be brought to light for this period. Additionally, for antiquities, we may have requested and been provided with evidence to support the provenance of an object. This is to ensure that the ALR Certificate can be recognised as an important part of due diligence – but you should always ask the owner to provide you with further supporting evidence and documentation for their due diligence.

If you have any questions about what specific resources are checked before an ALR Certificate is issued we would be very happy to provide you with more information if you contact us directly.

In the event that an item searched is confirmed as an object on the ALR database or subject to a legitimate claim, our contract requires you to co-operate in the restoration of the item to its rightful owner or in the resolution of any claim. We will usually ask you to hold the item in your possession until a settlement has been agreed.

You can see the Terms & Conditions here. If you have any further questions, please contact us directly.

 

Registering a loss or claim for an object

The ALR provides the leading due diligence database for the art market, and objects can be registered as lost, stolen or subject to a dispute or loan. For a full list of the types of objects and types of claim that can be registered, see the ‘Register’ page, or some FAQs below.

You may complete a registration form by clicking the ‘Register a loss’ button at the bottom of this page, or log in to the ‘My Account’ area. For many objects that have been stolen, or if you wish to register an item that is subject to a dispute, pledged as collateral, or to record your ownership, please contact us directly.

The Art Loss Register (ALR) database consists of over 700,000 items, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, antiquities, furniture, silver, clocks, ceramics, religious items, jewellery, watches, arms and armour, tapestries, musical instruments, coins, medals, and collectibles.

Registrations include stolen, missing and looted works, as well as those subject to title disputes, freezing orders and financial liens, and within permanent collections. The database also includes details of works that have been reported with authenticity issues by police and foremost experts.

Finally, to provide a specialist service for cultural property, we have also launched the Cultural Heritage at Risk Database (CHARD) to register objects in situ at museums, warehouses and archaeological sites, to ensure that if such items are stolen they can be identified if offered for sale. Find out more about CHARD, or get in touch directly for more information on any of these areas.

Once registered, an item will remain on the database until recovery or the resolution of the claim against it. We carry out over 400,000 searches of items on the market each year on behalf of law enforcement agencies, more than 130 subscribing auction houses, art fairs, dealers, museums, pawnbrokers, and private collectors. If a registered item appears on the market, there is therefore a very good chance that we would identify it, at which point we would immediately contact you for you to negotiate the item’s return or reach a settlement.

Alongside the registration of stolen and lost items, we also register objects within collections to ensure that the owner is notified whenever the object is offered for sale or a loan. We call this ‘Positive Registration’, and it is offered particularly to large public, private and corporate collections – especially those based in multiple locations or where objects are often consigned.

In addition, artworks pledged as collateral or subject to an ownership dispute can be registered on our database so that you can be informed if and when the object is offered for sale and take steps to protect that interest if necessary.

Find out more about Positive Registration, ownership interests, collateral and disputes, or contact us directly to register items under this service.

You can see the Terms & Conditions here. If you have any further questions, please contact us directly.

There is a small initial administrative fee of £15, €17.50 or $20 (plus VAT where applicable) to register a stolen item. Beyond this we strive to ensure that fees do not hinder the identification of stolen art works so further fees are only payable if a registered item is located. At that point a ‘Location Fee’ of 5% of the ultimate net benefit to the registrant is charged. This means that if the object is located by the ALR, we will pass all of the information we have discovered about the item’s location onto the registrant as soon as possible, and put them in touch with the current holder. If, at the end of the process, the object is recovered or subject to a settlement, a fee of 5% of the benefit to the registrant is then charged.

If the registrant would also like to benefit from our years of experience and success in the recovery of stolen and looted artworks and appoints us to represent them to recover the object, we charge a ‘Recovery Fee’ of 20% of the ultimate net benefit and no Location Fee is payable.

If you have any questions about these fees, do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Recover your lost or stolen item, dispute resolution and mediation

The ALR’s research and recoveries teams offer world-leading advice and representation in recovering stolen or looted artworks or objects, as well as dispute resolution and mediation – all summarised on the ‘Recover’ page. Additionally see the below.

Once registered, an item will remain on the database until recovery or the resolution of the claim against it. We carry out over 400,000 searches of items on the market each year on behalf of law enforcement agencies, more than 120 subscribing auction houses, art fairs, dealers, museums, pawnbrokers, and private collectors. If a registered item appears on the market, there is therefore a very good chance that we would identify it.

When the item has been located, we will pass all of the information we have discovered about the item’s location onto the registrant as soon as possible and put them in touch with the current holder. If the registrant would also like to benefit from our years of experience and success in the recovery of stolen and looted artworks, they can appoint us to represent them to recover the object.

There is a small initial administrative fee of £10, €15 or $15 (plus VAT where applicable) to register a stolen item. Beyond this we strive to ensure that fees do not hinder the identification of stolen art works so further fees are only payable if a registered item is located. At that point a ‘Location Fee’ of 5% of the ultimate net benefit to the registrant is charged. This means that if the object is located by the ALR, we will pass all of the information we have discovered about the item’s location onto the registrant as soon as possible, and put them in touch with the current holder. If, at the end of the process, the object is recovered or subject to a settlement, a fee of 5% of the benefit to the registrant is then charged.

If the registrant would also like to benefit from our years of experience and success in the recovery of stolen and looted artworks and appoints us to represent them to recover the object, we charge a ‘Recovery Fee’ of 20% of the ultimate net benefit and no Location Fee is payable.

If you have any questions about these fees, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Very much so. The ALR’s Recoveries team include members qualified in this area, and can provide both practical and legal guidance in this domain from the extensive experience of the hundreds of cases on which they work each year.

We work closely with police worldwide to register stolen items and inform them when those objects are located.

We also check objects that have been seized or are being investigated in case they are registered on our database as subject to a claim.

Our work on behalf of law enforcement is free of charge.

Many of the cases on which we work are Nazi restitution cases, where our Recovery and Provenance Research teams are able to assist claimants for Nazi looted artworks, as well as those subject to forced sales or other losses in the period 1933-45. For further information about this aspect of our work, do get in touch with us directly.

An ever-increasing part of our work is in the field of the repatriation of cultural property – particularly objects designated by the market as ‘antiquities’, ‘tribal art’ and ‘ethnographic art’. To assist law enforcement and nation states in the recovery of stolen and looted cultural property, our services to register objects reported as stolen on our database and to recover objects already located are offered free-of-charge.

Alongside the registration of objects reported as stolen or missing, we have also launched the Cultural Heritage At Risk Database (CHARD) to register objects in situ at museums, warehouses and archaeological sites, to ensure that if such items are stolen they can be identified if offered for sale. This service is offered to complement the hard work of the museum professionals and archaeologists who painstakingly record these objects in the first place, as well as those who risk their lives every day to protect them. The project hopes to assist in the protection of these objects in perpetuity by informing registrant governments, ministries, museums or archaeologists – as well as any relevant law enforcement agencies – should those objects appear on the market.

Find out more about CHARD, or get in touch directly for more information about our work in this area.

You can see our News section for some examples – although given that we are working on 150+ cases at any one time, there are many that do not end up written up!

 

Contact us

International Office

The International Art and Antique Loss Register Limited
First Floor
63 – 66 Hatton Garden
London
EC1N 8LE

Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 5780
Email: [email protected]

Company registered in England and Wales.
Registration Number: 02455350