Item of the Week
Terms of Sale
Describing an Artefact's Condition
Buyers and sellers of artefacts recognize the necessity of a common language for describing the condition of items offered in the marketplace.
The Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association Inc (ATADA) has established a terminology that standardizes descriptions in catalogue and mail-order transactions to eliminate confusion and preserve customer satisfaction. These goals are equally important in the world of e-commerce.
Upon request of the buyer, a dealer must provide a written report on each item purchased. The report should include a description, history, condition or any other pertinent information following the guidelines described below.
The description of the object, shall identify it and include important identifying features, such as size, color, composition, etc. Any reservations as to the object's authenticity should be stated here, and/or under the description of the object's history.
The description of the object's condition should include all important physical details, such as damage, restoration, fading, defective mounting, etc. Any defects having a significant effect on the value of the object shall be disclosed in detail. The description of condition shall also include one of the following descriptive terms (having the meaning indicated):
The history of the object should include any important information known to the dealer, such as the culture of origin, the date of manufacture, whether made for tribal use or other use, prior ownership, inclusion in public shows, references in literature, and the like.
The failure to mention in the written description of the condition of the object any significant defect that would not be obvious to the uninformed buyer, constitutes justifiable grounds on the part of the buyer to believe that no such defect exists with respect to the object. Where the dealer has insufficient knowledge or evidence for believing a fact relevant to the object's condition, authenticity, or history, he/she shall so state in the appropriate place on the form.
At the time of sale, the dealer shall provide to the buyer a copy of the written statement of the condition of the object, and shall keep a copy in the buyer's file, attached to a dated photograph of the object sufficiently clear to show distinctive features of the object.
Finally, when in doubt, describe the item exactly as it is!