Buying furniture abroad

Buying furniture abroad

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Specializing in Chinese furniture from the 17th to the 19th centuries, Arnaud Rist, cabinetmaker and antique dealer, founder of the Comptoir de la Main d'or, gives us some tricks of his trade. What are the regulations regarding the purchase of antiques abroad? The Unesco Agreements of 1972 provide that the signatory States may request the repatriation of antiques left the country after this date if the purchaser does not have the customs documents showing that things were done legally. There is also legislation on protected animal species which requires applying for a CITES import permit Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora for Furniture or Objects Containing Ivory, rhino horn or tortoise shell, to prove that they were not made after the signing of these agreements. For the rest, it depends, because each country has its own legislation. In China, for example, it is in principle forbidden to leave the country of antiques more than two hundred years old. What guarantees can we have when buying antiques abroad? In all the countries rich in antiquities, there are today a lot of fakes and copies circulating. It is therefore in your interest to be suspicious if you do not have a minimum of knowledge. If you want to have real guarantees, it is better to buy this kind of antiques from recognized merchants and established in the West. When you buy abroad, you can still trust the price. Today, in all these countries, people know the value of their antiques. If you find a very nice piece at a very affordable price, there is a good chance that it is a fake or a copy! Finding the pearl is still possible, but it is very unlikely. It all depends on what you are looking for. If you just want to bring a piece of furniture or an art object from your trip, you can buy it without problem in a shop on site. On the other hand, if you want to make a real investment and you need a guarantee of authenticity, it is less risky to buy it in Europe. How do you go about repatriating furniture purchased abroad to France? You must first obtain authorization to take them out of the country from the local customs services. Some antique dealers who are used to exporting to the West can possibly take care of these formalities, for a small commission, but this is not systematic. Then we have to find a way to bring them back to France. This can be done by air, when it comes to small parts, but it is generally done by cargo. In the case of China, transportation by boat takes approximately one month. It is not very expensive, from 50 to 100 dollars per cubic meter, but since we generally share the same container as other customers, this can cause certain delays or create problems, because it adds steps. Once the antiques have arrived in France, it remains to clear them through customs and pay the import fees and customs duties, which correspond to 5.5% of the object's value as far as the antiques are concerned. Bringing antiques bought abroad comes to France not very expensive, but it takes time and a lot of steps.


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