Code of Ethics & Charter

CINOA believes that through high ethical standards, the art and antique market players can defend the profession, instead of requiring new laws which are even more restrictive and harmful for the art and antique market. CINOA puts this position into practice by insisting on high ethical guidelines for its member dealers and recommends adherence to these guidelines for the entire profession.

Ethical Code of Conduct

The art and antique dealer profession is based on very personal choices and plays an important role in our culture. There is a risk that these professions could be jeopardised by disproportionate regulation and restrictions that hinder international cultural exchanges and trade. The present code of ethics shall apply without distinction to all objects that are negotiated on the market of fine art, antiques and cultural objects. All the member associations of CINOA agree to respect and to require that their own members, “the professionals”, comply with the texts of the current laws in the country or countries in which they operate and respect the guidelines stipulated below. CINOA wishes to underscore and recommend that the practice of the profession of art and antique dealers be governed by the following principles:

  1. The professional in possession of an object, clearly established to have been imported illegally under applicable national law, agrees to comply with the procedures imposed by that law. In the case where the country of origin of the object is asking for its return within the legal period, the professional shall, after receiving compensation* which cannot be less than the purchase price in the case of an acquisition in good faith, permitting the return to its country of origin. *The concept of compensation can only apply if permitted under applicable national law of the professional.
  2. The professional agrees to respect the laws and regulations applicable in their country on the protection of threatened or endangered species. They therefore agree not to trade in objects that infringe upon the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
  3. The professional shall take all measures necessary to detect stolen objects, and refer, among other resources, to the registers and the databases that are published for this effect and to use them judiciously.
  4. The professional should under no circumstances participate in transactions which to the best of their knowledge can be linked to money-laundering operations.
  5. The professional provides customers with a guarantee of seriousness and competence to certify the authenticity of the property sold. They must ensure that the description of the work is as precise as possible and reflect the state of their knowledge at the time of the sale. If necessary, this description must be supported by tests using relevant technology.


The CINOA Charter defines fine art dealers uncompromisingly as follows:

‘A fine art dealer, member of a national association affiliated to CINOA, is not only a merchant but also a consultant, who is required to respect the rules of her/his association. S/He serves a cultural mission by distributing objects of art which s/he identifies through experience. The relations with her/his clientele are based on confidence and mutual trust. S/He is obliged to give her/his clients correct information concerning the date, the artist and the state of preservation of the objects s/he sells.’