Antiques... looking after your valuables


If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a burglary:

  • Notify the police and your insurance company immediately and supply them with photographs and detailed descriptions.
  • Consider advertising your stolen antiques in an antiques trade magazine (the police antiques section can do this on your behalf to avoid giving your details).
  • It is always worthwhile looking for your property in various antiques trade outlets, markets, shops, fairs etc.
  • Finally if you have any information concerning stolen antiques please telephone:
    01633 838 111 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
Photographs
  • Photograph each item individually and as close up as possible.
  • Try to use a colour film.
  • Always take more than one photograph and with larger items different angles.
  • Take photographs of your rooms or displays so that it they are stolen it will remind you of what has been taken.
  • Photograph the position of any maker's marks, damage or repairs.
  • Photograph in natural daylight; if using flash avoid reflections.
Marking
  • Use a security marker pen with your postcode followed by house number or 1st two letters of house name e.g. AN1 2ZG/12 or AN1 2ZG/RO.
  • Use marker pen on parts of property which are not cleaned.
  • Use pen is possible on parts not too easily visible.
  • Use marker pen if possible or paintings (frames are alright) fabric or paper.
  • For modern garden furniture paint on postcode not too easily visible.
Protection
  • Make sure you are adequately insured.
  • Obtain valuations with descriptions by a reputable antique dealer or auctioneer if you can afford it.
  • Keep receipts of recent purchases.
  • Remember your photographs and descriptions help to prove to your insurance company that your treasures are antiques.
Descriptions

Make a written inventory of your antiques with descriptions and measurements either on the back of the photographs or separate notebooks etc.

The following list gives a few hints on how to describe your antiques.

Paintings

Medium - oil on canvas, board, panel, wood or copper, watercolour, pastels, print, etching etc.
Subject - landscape, seascape, portraits, still life (fruit flowers etc) animals, birds, river/lake, building or interior scene. Try to describe as much detail as possible, including colours.
Artist - If signed and dated, position of signature on painting.
Title - usually on a plaque on the front of the painting.
Size - actual size of picture, height first.
Shape - rectangular, round, oval, square.
Other marks - writing or labels on back of frame etc and damage.

Clocks & Watches

Type of clock - Mantle, bracket, long case, wall, carriage.
Maker of clock - usually found on face. Maker and number of movement, usually in back of clock.
Measurements Material and decoration of case - type of wood, e.g. mahogany, oak, brass, ormolu, lacquer.
Face - white enamel, brass, silvered.
Decoration - describe any brass, e.g. finials, legs, fretwork, any inlay, painting etc.
Marks - describe any repair or damage marks.

Silver

Is it silver or silver plate?
Initials or crests - describe any initials, inscriptions, crests etc in full.
Hallmarks - and date if known.
Type - Cutlery, salver, trophy, cups, tankards, salts, tea and coffee service etc.
Decoration - is it embossed or decorated e.g. with birds, cherubs, flowers, scrolls, romantic or hunting scenes.

Furniture

Type - chair, table, desk, dresser, chest etc.
Style/period - Georgian, Regency, Chippendale, Victorian etc.
Woods - cabriole, turned, barley twist, tripod.
Feet - pad, ball and claw, hoof.
Other - handles, finials, any inlay, brass, painting.
Upholstery - material, colour and pattern.
Marks - position and description of any damage or repair marks.

China/Porcelain

Plate, figurine, vase, jug etc.
Make, mark or number (on bottom).
Pattern and colour e.g. blue white willow pattern, satsuma, famille vase etc.
Measurements
Damage or repair marks.