LAPADA was founded in 1974 and is now the UK’s largest association of professional dealers in antiques and works of art, with over 600 members spread throughout the country as well as a small number from overseas. The members cover virtually every fine and decorative art discipline including fine furniture, carpets, clocks, ceramics, silver, jewellery, painting and many more.

LAPADA was the first antiques trade association to introduce a Code of Practice, the purpose of which is to reassure the public and give them confidence when they make a purchase from a member. All members have agreed to abide by this strict Code of Practice and in the unlikely event of a dispute, the Association’s free Conciliation Service.

In addition to the protection afforded by the Code of Practice, all art and antiques dealers (unlike auctioneers whose Conditions of Sale protect them) must comply with consumer protection laws. The LAPADA Code of Practice also ensures that all items for sale in a member’s shop or at a fair must be clearly and correctly labelled including the price: LAPADA members are not permitted to use confusing codes.

When you buy from a LAPADA member you will be given a written invoice stating their trading name, address and telephone number, date of sale, brief description of the item(s) – including the approximate date, any major restoration or alteration to the item since original manufacture – and the price paid. By using the website LAPADA can put you in touch with members who can help you. Additionally you can find details of LAPADA services and advice on a wide range of subjects related to art and antiques.

Certificates of Age and Origin for Antiques

LAPADA is the principal UK supplier of Certificates of Age and Country of Origin for customs purposes for art and antiques. There are many countries where antique objects over 100 years old can be imported free of all or most duty. Customs authorities in these countries will accept a Certificate of Age issued by LAPADA in the UK as proof that an item is more than 100 years old. To obtain a Certificate you or your shipper should contact LAPADA (535 Kings Road, London SW10 0SZ, telephone 0207 823 35110207 823 3511, fax 0207 823 3522, email - who will arrange inspection of the goods before packing and shipping. If the goods are 100 years old or more, LAPADA will supply a Certificate which must be provided to the Customs authorities at the port of entry.

VAT Advice for Visitors

VAT (Value Added Tax) is charged in the United Kingdom (UK) and throughout the European Union (EU) on the purchase of most goods. Buying art and antiques should cause few problems for visitors to the UK, as there are simple procedures that allow either purchases to be made without VAT being added to the price paid, or for reclaiming VAT once the goods are taken out of the EU.

Refund of VAT for visitors to the UK exporting goods outside the EU. This tax is usually reclaimable by overseas buyers on forms held by many dealers. Most art and antiques dealers operate a special VAT scheme whereby VAT is paid inclusive of the purchase price of an artwork. Where this special scheme is in operation your invoice will not show VAT as a separate item; your dealer may be prepared to adapt the normal refund form in order to claim back any VAT. If the sale is made outside the special scheme, your invoice will show VAT as a separate item, and it is reclaimable when the object is taken outside the European Union (EU) - see below.

How to reclaim VAT when personally taking a purchase out of the EU. When you have paid for your purchase ask the dealer for VAT Form 407. Copies are also obtainable from any local VAT office. This form must be completed by both the seller and the exporter. You must then produce this form and the object being exported to Customs and Excise at the port or airport of departure from the UK, or final point of departure from within the EU. Customs will sign and stamp the form, which you must then return to the dealer who issued your invoice. Your refund of VAT will be made to you by this dealer.

Packing and Shipping

There are a number of UK packing and shipping companies which specialise in the export of art and antiques. These specialists will collect objects, pack them in cases or containers, ship them by sea or air, and deliver them to any destination in the world. They will also handle customs documentation, obtain LAPADA Certificates of Age, and arrange insurance. The LAPADA office holds the names and addresses of selected specialist packers and shippers, who are all members of LAPADA.

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United Kingdom
Art & Culture


London (United Kingdom)
Email (Mieka Sywak)
+44 20 7823 3511
Contact via CGA (Cindy)