How does CINOA differ from art and antique trade associations?

Established in 1935, CINOA is the international federation of 30 art and antiques dealers’ associations with member associations in 21 countries representing some 5,000 dealers who all share the principles of quality and integrity founded on a depth of specialist knowledge. A member of the public who buys from or sells to a member of CINOA has the confidence of knowing that the dealer subscribes to strict guidelines concerning the ethics of dealing and belongs to a recognised and respected national association that vets its members. These associations may address different disciplines within the market, each having its own particular challenges, with their codes of conduct adapted accordingly.

CINOA is committed to the broadening of knowledge within the world of art and antiques. The annual CINOA prize has supported the publication of many academic and art historical works and has promoted other fields of artistic endeavour such as exhibitions, conservation programmes and educational projects as well as rewarding museum curators and public figures who are judged to have most benefited the arts and the art market.

In an international market that is increasingly challenged by regulations, CINOA provides an international voice to promote the art market and encourage free trade in works of art. CINOA supports fair and open systems of cultural protection but believes that over regulation causes distortions and problems that can encourage illicit trading rather than preventing it.

The CINOA logo is recognised as a symbol of quality, expertise and integrity in the art and antique world.

Does CINOA have a Code of Conduct or Ethics?

Yes. CINOA operates a strict Code of Ethics (The CINOA Code of Ethics) as a federation of associations. Our member associations operate Codes of Conduct covering all important aspects of trading in art, antiques and collectibles, ranging from issues such as pricing and the supply of services to due diligence that avoids money laundering and illegal imports, as well as their policy for conciliation in the event of a client dispute. Usually details of each Code will appear on the association website.

How do you find a reputable dealer?

We would advise using a member of a CINOA affiliated association (link to membership list) as they must abide by our code of ethics and by their own association’s strict code of conduct.

Any reputable dealer will be happy to answer your questions, especially about care and repair of items you buy, and should furnish you with a comprehensive invoice detailing the item when they sell it (see What documentation is needed for an object?)

What documentation is needed for an object when buying or selling?

Dealers need to conduct due diligence when buying and selling items in order to satisfy themselves that the items are genuine, not looted, stolen or illegally exported, and can be traded with full title. Due diligence in this case may include carrying out checks with a recognised online database of stolen items, such as the Art Loss Register.

If a dealer has followed correct due diligence in buying an item, they should be able to pass on all the relevant details when selling it on. Most importantly, dealers should provide buyers with a detailed invoice giving a full description of the item so that it can be identified from the invoice. Relevant details may include its appearance, age, materials, measurements, known past history of ownership and condition, setting out any repairs and restoration that have been undertaken. If certificate of authenticity is appropriate, that should also be provided, along with a warranty and receipt of payment. If export licences are required then the customer should be made aware of these requirements. The dealer should also make any returns policy clear in writing.

It should be noted that data protection restrictions might prevent dealers from passing on some information by law.

What do I do if I am not happy with the service I have received from a dealer or have a problem with my purchase?

Many associations offer conciliation services, but in the first instance it is always wise to contact the dealer themselves as any genuine grievance is usually settled simply and quickly in this way.

What happens if a dealer suspects they are being offered stolen property?

No reputable dealer wants to take possession of stolen property. They also have a duty, as well as every incentive, to ensure that it does not pollute the legitimate market. Any dealer suspecting that an item they are offered might be stolen will first ask additional questions to try to establish how far their suspicions are justified. They are also likely to check to see if the item is listed on available databases of stolen art and antiques. Depending on the strength of their suspicion and any available evidence, they may then report their concerns to law enforcement authorities.

How do dealers prevent attempts at money laundering?

Most countries now have strict anti-money-laundering regulations, which dealers must follow. These will include creating a clear paper trail for transactions and not accepting payment in cash above limits set by statute. Dealers will also be acutely aware of other risks of money laundering, such as items being bought or sold for prices that far exceed their true value. As with any other suspected crime, dealers will report their suspicions to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

What is your policy on data protection?

Members agree to abide by data protection regulations in all markets in which they operate. Regulations applying to the data of European Union citizens are being tightened significantly under General Data Protection Regulations as of May 25, 2018. These apply to anyone processing relevant data wherever they are in the world, and are not restricted to those operating within the EU. As noted above, these regulations may restrict the information a dealer is able to provide to a client.

What is CINOA’s policy on CITES and the trade in works of art that contain material from endangered species?

As our Code of Ethics stipulates, members undertake to abide by the laws and regulations applicable in his country on the protection of threatened or endangered species. These can be varied and complex, but member associations have a duty to ensure that their own members are kept up to date with the latest regulations on issues such as the trade in ivory, for which CINOA also has a detailed policy (see link here).

How can I become a member of CINOA?

We do not accept individual dealers as members so to be an affiliated dealer, you need to join one of the dealer trade associations listed on the CINOA website (see www.cinoa.org/cinoa/associations) Once you identify the dealer association you are interested in joining, we ask you to contact them directly because each dealer association has a different application process. Once you are a member in that association, the dealer association will handle the process of your membership in CINOA.

If you are located in a country that does not yet have a member dealer association, please be advised that many of our current associations accept international dealers. If you already belong to a dealer association which is not member but you believe meets CINOA’s criteria, please ask your association to contact us to learn about the application process for new member associations.

I need some information on a work of art or antique?

The CINOA secretariat does not offer advice or appraisals nor do we buy and sell works of art or antiques. We suggest that you either contact your local dealer association, which you can find on the CINOA website (see www.cinoa.org/cinoa/associations) and ask them  to recommend one of their dealers or look through the directory to find a dealer that sells something similar and contact them directly. Dealer contact details are listed and e-mails can be sent directly via the CINOA website.

If you want to buy/sell some art?

The CINOA secretariat does not offer advice or appraisals nor do we buy and sell works of art or antiques. We suggest that you either contact your local dealer association, which you can find on the CINOA website (see www.cinoa.org/cinoa/associations) and ask them  to recommend one of their dealers or look through the directory to find a dealer that sells something similar and contact them directly. Dealer contact details are listed and e-mails can be sent directly via the CINOA website.

How should an affiliated dealer update their listing?

Please contact your dealer association who has the password to update their member list on CINOA.org. The dealer association through which you are affiliated to CINOA is the only organization that can change your listing on the website.

How to do a Virtual Internships with CINOA?

We are not currently hiring but we are open to virtual internships. If you are interested in doing a project for CINOA as an intern, please send us an e-mail through the website contact page with a proposal of what kind of project you think would be most beneficial for both you and CINOA.  Every internship is discussed on a case by case basis.