What Documentation To Look For When Buying Ancient Artifacts

The times may be constantly changing, but one thing remains the same: Man’s affinity and curiosity to events of the past. This is why it’s no wonder why ancient artifacts for sale continue to attract potential buyers from across the globe.

But how do you know if what you’re investing in is indeed an authentic one? This article aims to shed light on this topic.

Defining Artifacts

In its simplest definition, an artifact is any object that is a by-product of human activities. It can include tools, artworks, clothing, or documents. In archeology, artifact is also a term used to describe the remains of an object (e.g. A shard of glassware, footprints preserved in a surface).

Ancient artifacts are used by experts to get a picture of how civilizations of the past lived, or how a certain event transpired. With their value and importance, it is no wonder why many collectors are adamant in getting hold of these antiquated objects.

Documentation to Ask When Buying Artifacts

When considering buying ancient artifacts for sale, you have to ask for proof of the items’ authenticity. This particular task is quite a challenging one and it demands a certain level of prudence and skill from the buyer.

The most commonly requested document in the antiquities market is the so-called provenance. This is a document that states the history of ownership of the artifact involved. It can comprise reliable and credible invoices that enumerate the chronological transfers of the artifact. If the object has been displayed previously, provenance can also include published proof of exhibition.

Provenience, on the other hand, is a document stating the item’s country of origin. This is also important as it establishes the historical relevance of the object.

Acknowledging the importance of having a document like these can be dated back in the 1970s. It was a critical period wherein courts in the United States have reaffirmed that it is considered theft when someone takes, sells, and possesses archaeological materials from the ground located in a country with a law governing such underground materials. Hence, the need for a regulation that will be in charge of keeping transactions involving antiquities legal. Beyond the US. There’s also this so-called 1970 UNESCO Convention which prohibits the illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural properties.

Working With Reputable Dealers

In modern times, despite the emergence of regulations concerning this particular market, acquiring such documentation can still be enervating. This is why buyers of ancient artifacts for sale are strongly advised to purchase only from credible dealers and sellers.

Look into your seller’s background and check their affiliations. Those who are members of a recognized association are a more reliable source of artifacts and other antiquated items. Also search for reviews from other collectors.

Reputable dealers are also those who can provide a certificate of authenticity — this includes a photo of the artifact, a description of how valuable the artifact is and what its origin, and a statement detailing the condition of the item at the time of sale.

If you are looking for genuine, top-quality ancient artifacts for sale, check out what we have for you at Gettysburg Museum of History. Contact us today for more information about items you’re interested in.

Frederick Sullivan

Hannah Sullivan: As a seasoned journalist, Hannah's blog provides hard-hitting analysis and in-depth reporting on major crime stories. Her thorough coverage and fearless reporting make her a trusted voice in the field.

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