Code of Ethics

1. Definition

This compendium of customs and usage of the profession of antiquarian bookseller defines the usages generally and universally recognised and which are to be followed by the members of Suomen Antikvariaattiyhdistys in all commercial transactions, either between professionals, or between professionals and institutions or individuals. Antiquarian bookselling in this context includes manuscripts, postcards, prints, maps and drawings, as well as books.

2. To follow the Code of Ethics

Members of Suomen Antikvariaattiyhdistys, affiliated with the I.L.A.B. (hereafter, for the sake of brevity, referred to as 'members') should conduct all commercial transactions according to these usages which expressly indicates to their clients a clearly defined code of practice based on high ethical standards.

3. Descriptions

Members shall be responsible for the accurate identification and description of all material offered for sale. All defects, significant restorations and sophistications should be clearly noted and made known to those to whom the material is offered or sold. Unless the parties agree otherwise, a full cash refund shall be available to the purchaser of any misrepresented material.

4. Technical terms

Members should, as professionals, be conversant with and responsible for the correct use and interpretation of the technical terms of the trade.

5. Prices

Members shall be responsible for the accurate and professional pricing of all material, both buying and selling, regardless of whether they are dealing with experts or amateurs.

6. Authenticity

Members shall vouch for and make every reasonable effort to substantiate 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 a full cash refund, or on some other mutually agreed terms. Material shown to be not authentic, or of disputed or undetermined nature, shall not again be offered for sale unless all facts concerning it are clearly disclosed.

7. Stolen property

Members shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that materials offered to them are the property of the seller. They shall make every effort to prevent the theft of antiquarian books and related materials. They shall co-operate fully with law enforcement authorities to recover and return stolen material, and to apprehend those responsible.

8. Damage in transit

Responsibility for damage in transit shall rest with the sender. Members should attend to be careful and appropriate handling, packing, posting and shipping of material to ensure that it reaches the buyer in the same condition as when purchased.

9. Terms and conditions

It should be understood that books are normally offered for sale in catalogues at the prices affixed. Payment is either due in advance, or, when satisfactory credit has been established, promptly on receipt of the goods. In the case of special offers, courtesy requires that an option to purchase be assured for a certain time which should be specified. Any divergence from these generally accepted terms should be expressly stated.

10. Bank charges

The supplier must be paid the full amount of his invoice; the buyer is responsible for all clearing and bank charges relating to the transaction.

11. Tenders

When a bookseller makes an offer to purchase books the price should be valid either for an immediate transaction or for a stated period of option.

12. Clear pricing

Members should ensure that all material offered for sale in an open shop or at book fairs is clearly marked with the selling price. Material not for sale or being processed or reserved, should be appropriately segregated.

13. Trade discount

Members should permit any other member of an association affiliated and in good standing with the ILAB to buy from their stock any material offered for sale (i.e. priced) and should extend to such buyers the customary and reciprocal trade discount of at least 10%.

14. Multiple orders

If a multiple order cannot be filled in its entirety owing to part of it having been previously sold, this does not constitute grounds for the cancellation of that order unless so stipulated on the order.

15. Valuations and appraisals

Valuations must be carried out scrupulously in the spirit of these usages and customs.

16. Valuations and law

Members offering valuation or appraisal services shall be responsible for being conversant with the relevant regulations as stipulated a.o. by local tax laws. They shall conduct such appraisals in strict compliance with these regulations.

17. Auction commissions

Members who receive from a client instructions to purchase at a public auction sale should also accept responsibility for the careful inspection of the material to be bought and should not solely rely on information supplied by the seller or by the auctioneer. He or she should, of course, also exercise the utmost discretion and eliminate any risk of conflict of interest.

18. Bookseller's premises

Members should never approach or solicit customers in another member's shop, book fair booth, or place of business without the introduction or consent of the proprietor.

19. Interpretation

This compendium of usages and customs is based on the compendium that originally has been set out by ILAB in English and French. If any dispute should arise as to the interpretation of a paragraph from one language to the other, the Committee of the ILAB shall decide which is the correct interpretation.


Copyright © 2010 Suomen Antikvariaattiyhdistys Ry
Member of International League of Antiquarian Booksellers