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Guidelines for Members

1. EMPLOYEES & COLLEAGUES. Members are required to know and understand the Association’s Rules, Code and Guidelines and to abide by them. They must abide by current legislation in all jurisdictions in which they operate. They are further responsible for ensuring the full compliance of their employees, colleagues and associates.

2. AUTHENTICITY. Members must guarantee the authenticity of all materials offered for sale. Should it be determined that such material is not authentic or is questionable, then it shall be returnable for full refund, or on some other mutually agreed terms. Material shown not to be authentic, or of disputed or undetermined nature, shall not again be offered for sale unless all the facts concerning it are disclosed in writing.

3. DESCRIPTION. Members are responsible for the proper use and interpretation of the technical terms of the trade. They must have access to the most appropriate and up-to-date bibliographical resources and demonstrate their competence in using them. References must be sufficient and appropriate, and misleading statements or implication through selective quotation, omission, or uncritical use of outdated sources is strictly unacceptable. Beyond any requirement of consumer legislation, any article may be returned for a full and prompt refund if it does not correspond with a member’s description.

4. RESTORATION. Members must record and disclose in writing all significant repair work and restoration carried out on their material. Facsimile leaves, other replacement matter and substantial restoration should be identified and in so far as is practicable be indelibly marked as such.

5. PRESERVATION. Members are committed to the preservation and study of historical materials. They must not break complete and intact copies of books or manuscripts. They must not remove book-plates of evidential value, binders’ tickets, ownership inscriptions, or other marks of ownership or provenance, nor transfer them from one copy of a book to another. It is recommended that wherever possible members record in identifiable detail and publish in their descriptions all observable marks of prior ownership (including details of binding) in any way illustrative of provenance or origin.

6. OFFERS TO PURCHASE must be fair and informed. This means essentially that they will stand up to outside scrutiny and that they could, if necessary, be justified to the Standards Committee. A member making an offer should state clearly whether it is valid only for an immediate transaction or remains open for a defined period.

7. OFFERS FOR SALE. Terms and conditions should be clearly stated in all catalogues, online platforms and individual offers. It should be made clear whether the offer is subject to prior sale or if an option is assured for a specified time.

8. PRICING. Members are responsible for the professional, fair and informed pricing of all material. Prices asked, and offers made, should be based on an informed awareness of the exact nature of the goods and the state of the market. Members should be able to justify their prices to both their colleagues and their customers. They are also expected to be able to educate and advise their customers on current market prices. The prices of items offered in shops and at fairs must be clearly marked. Material not for sale, reserved, or being processed, should be segregated.

9. GOOD TITLE. Members are responsible for passing to the buyer good title to all material sold. They must make all reasonable efforts to ensure that material offered to them is the property of the seller and that there are no known legal obstacles to selling and passing title. When making purchases of significant value members are required to:

● exercise due diligence
● establish the identity of the vendor, preferably by some form of photographic identification
● record the vendor’s name and address and retain such records for a minimum of seven years
● request a warranty that the vendor has good title
● record the stated prior provenance of the material in a record signed and dated by the vendor
● where applicable, to seek confirmation that material has been imported or exported legally
● make payments by a method capable of audit
● make records available in a timely fashion to the appropriate law enforcement authorities
● and to follow the published joint ABA/CILIP Guidelines on theft from libraries.

With material suspected or proved to have been stolen, it is the responsibility of members to contact the original owners. They shall co-operate fully with law enforcement authorities and the ABA to recover and return stolen material and to apprehend those responsible.

9a. ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATION. If a bookseller unwittingly purchases, in good faith, and with due diligence having been exercised, material stolen from another bookseller, it is recommended that, all legal processes having been observed, the material be returned to the original bookseller, but that the latter should pay to the purchaser one half of the price paid to the thief.

10. VALUATIONS must be fair, honest, impartial and expert, and the purpose of the valuation (e.g. probate, insurance, etc.) should be ascertained and clearly stated. Members choosing to offer valuation or appraisal services are responsible for their full compliance with whatever local or national fiscal regulations may be in force. Attention should be given to the latest advice supplied by professional associations of valuers such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. All fees, terms and conditions should be by prior arrangement. ‘Best practice’ now recommends that valuations are carried out on a fee basis, rather than charged on a percentage, to avoid any conflict of interest. Members may also wish to consider taking out professional indemnity insurance.

11. AUCTIONS. The Association opposes all forms of malpractice at auction. No member shall be party to any covert or undisclosed agreements, whether with buyers, sellers, or auctioneers, which artificially distort the price paid in open sale. Members who accept commissions to purchase items for a client at auction are expected to inspect the material prior to the sale and not rely on information supplied by the auctioneer. Members must also exercise the utmost discretion and eliminate any risk of conflict of interest. Members are reminded that they are legally the purchaser of such material and themselves responsible for all liabilities incurred. The member is responsible for collating and verifying the description of the material bought and returning to the auctioneer material which is defective or wrongly described where such defects and mis-descriptions are covered by the terms and conditions specified by the auctioneer. It is strongly recommended that terms between the member and the client are agreed and recorded in writing before, or on acceptance of, the commission.

12. SELLING ON COMMISSION OR CONSIGNMENT. Members must be meticulous in their approach to selling material on commission or consignment. Clear and explicit terms should be fully agreed in writing in advance. Declarations should be sought from consignors that they are the legal owners of the described property and have and continue to have the right to legally convey title to the material inventoried and that clear title and right to possession will pass to the purchaser. Records should be scrupulously kept and scheduled payments made promptly and in full.

13. CUSTOMER PRIVACY. Members should strictly observe the current requirements of the relevant legislation in safeguarding and protecting their customers’ personal information. It is recommended that all members have a public statement explaining their policies regarding the retention and treatment of personal data. They should neither themselves nor allow others to target customers with ‘spam’ communications.

14. INVESTMENT SCHEMES. Members must not promote antiquarian and rare books, or allied materials, as investment vehicles in themselves, or as part of investment schemes.

15. EXPORT & IMPORT REGULATIONS. Members are required to observe all restrictions, licensing obligations, regulations and controls regarding the import or export of material in whatever country or countries they transact their business. They should exercise especial care to guard against the illegal removal of objects from their countries of origin, or from countries subject to trade sanctions, or from conflict zones. They are required fully to co-operate in a timely fashion with national and international law enforcement agencies.

16. WHEN DEALING WITH LIBRARIES. Members are advised that librarians in research libraries prefer to purchase books that have not been restored or repaired and that offers should be made accordingly. Public sector and academic librarians are increasingly required to undertake a proportionate level of due diligence for all items, irrespective of value, and may potentially ask for provenance information on any material offered. Members are also reminded that when acting as agents for libraries at auction both delivery and invoicing of the material must be prompt and timely. Members should be also be aware that public accountability considerations may limit the ability of some librarians to accept even modest gifts or hospitality in some circumstances.

17. WHEN DEALING WITH COLLEAGUES. Unless otherwise agreed the following shall apply: Payment: Members must pay colleagues in the trade in full for all materials purchased either (a) within thirty days of date of invoice or (b) within seven days of receipt of goods, whichever term is the later. Unless other arrangements are specifically made, purchases between exhibitors at book fairs should be paid for before the fair is over. Bank Charges: The supplier must be paid the full amount of the invoice; the buyer is responsible for all clearing and bank charges relating to the transaction. On Approval: Consignments ‘on approval’ requested by a prospective buyer must be supplied with a clear indication of the term allowed for a decision. When this term elapses the sale shall be deemed to be concluded if the goods have not been returned. If returned, postal and insurance charges both ways must be borne by the prospective buyer. Members who ask for material ‘on approval’ or ‘on consignment’ are responsible for such material from its arrival until returned or fully paid for. Trade Discount: Members should permit any other members of an association affiliated and in good standing with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) to buy any material offered for sale and should normally extend to such buyers a reciprocal trade discount of at least 10%. Introductions: It is a long-established book-trade courtesy that in the event of a colleague effecting an introduction leading to a significant purchase or sale that a modest and discretionary commission may be paid.

18. BOOKSELLERS’ PREMISES. Members or their representatives must never solicit custom in another bookseller’s shop, book fair booth, or place of business without the introduction or consent of the proprietor.

19. PLAGIARISM. Catalogue descriptions and images are a species of intellectual property: members or their representatives should not steal or plagiarise from their colleagues; any quoted material should be acknowledged, and if substantial use is made of another bookseller’s text or images, permission should be sought in advance.

20. THE ILAB CODE. Members are also subject to the Code of Usages and Customs of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). Should any dispute arise, these Guidelines shall take precedence in all instances except where the matter in dispute lies between members of different national associations affiliated to the International League.

21. SUPPORT FOR THE CODE. Members are requested to place the display version of the Code in prominent view at their principal place of business. All members are required to pledge their full support to the Association in promoting and upholding the provisions of the Code as interpreted by these Guidelines. Complaints and disputes shall be resolved in accordance with the precepts of these Guidelines and under the disciplinary rules and procedures of the Association contained in Appendix A to the Rules. All members are under a formal duty to assist the Standards Committee of the Association in any investigation which may be made. No member shall ignore or condone any illegal or unethical conduct. Any obstruction or wilful non-disclosure of relevant information shall of itself be deemed a breach of the Code.Revised 2016