|Code of Good Practice|
This Code for Members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association applies to all commercial transactions in which they are engaged. It is intended to regularise such transactions and to ensure that they are conducted according to the highest professional and ethical standards. Members are also subject to the Code of Usages and Customs of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. Although similar in intent and purpose, the two Codes are not identical: should any dispute over interpretation arise, the ABA Code shall take precedence in all instances except where the matter in dispute lies between members of different national associations affiliated to the International League.
1a. DESCRIPTION AND DISCLOSURE
Members are responsible for the identification and accurate bibliographical description of all material offered for sale. All significant defects, restorations and sophistications must be clearly indicated. Unless the parties agree otherwise, a full and prompt refund shall be available to the purchaser of any misrepresented material. Members must understand and be responsible for the proper use and interpretation of the technical terms of the trade.
Members shall vouch for 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 full refund, or on some other mutually agreed terms. Material shown not to be authentic, or of disputed or undetermined nature, shall not again be offered for sale unless all facts concerning it are disclosed.
1c. PLAGIARISM. Catalogue descriptions and images are a species of intellectual property: members or their representatives should not steal or plagiarise from their colleagues; any quoted material should be acknowledged, and if substantial use is made of another bookseller’s text or images, permission should be sought in advance.
[Change approved by Council in October 2013 and to be ratified at the 2014 Annual General Meeting].
Members are responsible for the professional, fair and informed pricing of all material offered for sale. Members should ensure that the selling price of all material offered for sale is clearly indicated. Material not for sale, or reserved, or being processed, should be appropriately segregated.
3. OFFERS TO PURCHASE
must be fair, informed and honest. The offer should be valid either for an immediate transaction or for a stated period.
4. STOLEN PROPERTY
Members shall be responsible for passing to the buyer clear title to all material sold, and shall not knowingly purchase, hold, or attempt to sell stolen material. They shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that material offered to them is the property, of the seller. They shall make every effort to prevent the theft of antiquarian books and the distribution of stolen material. To this end, when making purchases from private individuals or institutions, members are advised to:
i) record the vendor's name and address,
5. EXTRA RECOMMENDATION
If a bookseller unwittingly purchases, in good faith, and with due diligence having been exercised, material stolen from another bookseller, it is recommended that, all legal proprieties having been observed, the material should be returned to the bookseller from whom it was stolen, but that he should pay to the purchaser one half of the price paid to the thief. This constitutes, between two booksellers, a "gentleman's agreement".
Members are committed to the preservation and study of historical materials and should not break complete and intact copies of books or manuscripts. It is recommended that wherever possible members record in identifiable detail and publish in their descriptions all observable marks of prior ownership (including details of binding) in any way illustrative of provenance or origin, as well as maintaining a full and permanent record of all matters relating to the purchase, provenance and subsequent sale of individual items of manifest interest or value.
7. TERMS AND CONDITIONS
The following are the standard terms approved by the Association:
Valuations must be fair, honest, impartial and expert. Members offering, valuation or appraisal services shall be responsible for being conversant with and complying with whatever local or national fiscal regulations may be in force. Fees should be by prior arrangement.
The Association opposes all forms of malpractice at auction. No member shall engage in any activity, or be party to any covert or undisclosed agreements, whether with buyers, sellers, or auctioneers, that artificially, distort the price paid in open sale. No member shall for any consideration agree with other persons not to bid at auction, or take part in a private re-auction of lots bought at public auction. Furthermore, every member shall pledge full support to the Committee of the Association in its opposition to the activity of any ring within the trade in antiquarian books.
10. AUCTION COMMISSIONS
Members who accept commissions to purchase books or other materials for a client at auction will be expected to inspect the material prior to the sale and will not rely solely on information supplied by the auctioneer. Members should, of course, also exercise the utmost discretion and eliminate any risk of conflict of interest. Unless otherwise agreed before the sale, a commission fee, on the hammer price, of 10% is normally charged on successful bids only and all consequent invoices will be for immediate payment. The member is also responsible for collating and verifying the description of the material bought and returning to the auctioneer material which is defective or wrongly described 10%, here such defects and mis-descriptions are covered by the terms and conditions specified by the auctioneer. It is strongly recommended that terms between the member and the client are agreed and recorded in writing before, or on, acceptance of the commission.
11. BOOKSELLER’S PREMISES
Members or their representatives should never solicit custom in another bookseller's shop, book fair booth, or place of business without the introduction or consent of the proprietor.
12. EXPORT AND IMPORT REGULATIONS
Members are required to observe all restrictions, regulations and controls regarding the import or export of rare and valuable antiquarian books and manuscripts in whatever country or countries they transact their business.
13. INVESTMENT SCHEMES
Members must not promote antiquarian and rare books, or allied materials, as investment vehicles in themselves, or as part of investment schemes.
14. COMPLAINTS AND DISPUTES
Complaints and disputes regarding Association members are to be resolved in accordance with the precepts of this Code and under the disciplinary rules and procedures of the Association. Formal complaints against members should be made in writing to the Chairman of the Standards Committee of the Association. Customers can ascertain the procedure for such complaints through the ABA Office. Breaches of the Code may constitute grounds for reprimand, censure, the imposition of a compensation order, suspension or expulsion from the Association.
15. SUPPORT FOR THE CODE
All members are requested to place the shortened display version of this Code in prominent view at their principal place of business. All members are required to pledge their full support to the Association in promoting and upholding the provisions of the Code. All members are likewise under a formal duty to assist the Standards Committee of the Association in any investigation that may be made. Any obstruction or wilful non-disclosure of relevant information shall of itself be deemed a breach of the Code.