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Author Topic:   ATPI -- Provenance -- Theft
Scott Martin
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Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-29-2006 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have any experience with Art Title Protection Insurance (ATPI). I realize that this type of insurance would seem to cater to fine art (paintings and sculptures). But in reading about ATPI it would also seem to be applicable to antique collectors. Particularly when dealing with one of a kind or few of a kind antiques.

How many of us wonder about that unusual silver find in our collections. Did the seller we got it from unknowingly purchase something that was stolen sometime in its past? This insurance was inspired but the Nazi art theft claims which began to surface in the 1980's. Proper provenance of an object is pretty much what ATPI seems to be about.

International laws are changing and provide better means for recovering international sales of stolen antiques/art goods. Does this put your honest purchase and the seller's honest transaction at risk because of something someone else did years before?

I have heard that the Council of Museums has stated that since the 1980's more than 100,000 objects have gone missing/stolen. I don't know how much of this is silver. This makes me wonder about how big the number would be if they included private collectors' collections?

My mind is wondering about ATPI; provenance (what it is and how to establish a legit provenance for silver) and theft (is it really as huge a number for silver and its impact)?

Does anyone share some of my musing about the above or do any of you have first hand experience?

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iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, several years ago several teenagers broke into a friend's antique store trying to steal the silver (they got caught). Apparently they just wanted it for the scrap value and had no interest in (or probably wouldn't have even noticed) the designs. Silver theft probably happens (I'm guessing) more for this reason than for people wanting to acquire good pieces of silver.

[This message has been edited by vathek (edited 11-30-2006).]

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iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When the Hunt brothers were driving up the price of silver; a theft of a large silver service took place. The thieves tried to sell it for scrap at a newly opened shop. The owners of the shop were related to the victim. The thieves were arrested and the silver returned. I knew the lady so I asked why she had not insured it. It was,at least according to her, too expensive. The crux of this story is she was just plain cheap. I have my collection covered under my homeowners policy as a rider. We get a good rate as we have a combination fire, smoke, burglar alarm system.

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iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I forgot your actual question. You are asking about protection against spurious/unknown provenance. I know nothing about that topic. You might call one of the large auction houses or one of the larger museums. Let us know what you find out.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See some of my other related musings: Insurance - what? when? how?

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iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some years ago (before the internet and accompanying hackers who might be able to break into company files) I spoke with an antique shop owner who would no longer insure his silver (around the time of the Hunt driven inflation), because it was a sure way to get robbed (he and others had breakins shortly after taking out policies), implying that the insurers had security problems even then. Coincidence? Paranoia? I don't know, but I imagine that securuty worries are why so many collectors are so secretive.

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iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 11:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Between things that are clearly owned and things that have clearly been stolen, there are various degrees. Warm, tepid and a bit more than room temperature come to mind.

Stolen items are a problem in the antique trade, no doubt. But even more problematical are those that are not clearly stolen (hot) but not entirely clear in provenance. Example: daughter who cared for mother through long decline faces sharing the spoils equally with unhelping siblings. Daughter scoops up everything portable, hauls it down to the local shop to sell. Shop buys, with caveat that these will be under wraps for a while. Usual solution for shop: sell to a traveling dealer. Who promises not to show them locally. Not that I know anything about such arrangements....

For provenance one needs to have a receipt. I always had lots that said something like: misc. silver $750.00. Easy way to prove I actually owned things. Personally, I don't like to buy from the public. I much prefer dealers. In part for this reason. And IMHE, little old ladies are a uniquely criminal bunch.

What is being offered here seems designed for only the rarest of the rare. Which really does not apply to most silver in regular commerce. I doubt that this would be cost effective for anything much under $3,000. Almost no US silver meets this criteria.

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