About Us

Collecting ancient artefacts is one of the most enjoyable pastimes available today. The thrill of handling an item made by a craftsman hundreds or even thousands of years ago is as difficult to describe as it is to surpass.

Whether a romantic history-buff or a calculating investor, the collector of material from the past seldom regrets the decision to indulge in this fascinating area.

Reliable dealers in ancient art and artefacts including coins and weapons, ceramics and jewellery provide a useful service for collectors. By applying their experience in identification and authentication, they re-assure prospective buyers that the material they offer is accurately described.

Metal-detecting in the UK has been in the international news since September 2009 when a spectacular hoard of precious metals was discovered in a Staffordshire field by a detectorist. The hoard comprises an estimated 1500 items consisting of about 5 kilos of gold and 1.5 kilos of silver. The finder, Terry Herbert, acted responsibly in stopping work on removing the finds and reporting it to the local PAS officer. Mr. Herbert came in for some ill-informed criticism because it was assumed he had destroyed the find’s archaeological context and therefore reduced the information which it could provide. In fact, the artefacts were disturbed when the landowner began deep-ploughing the field the previous spring, and Mr. Herbert’s prompt action saved them from further degradation and the possibility of theft.

Metal-detectorists and archaeologists are developing a mutually beneficial understanding of each others’ aims and needs, which encourages reporting of finds and therefore increases public knowledge of the distribution of artefacts – and therefore an understanding of the past in local landscapes.

Not all artefact recovery is quite so positive. The trade in stolen antiquities has been highlighted in press coverage – for example, the ‘raid’ on the Baghdad Museum conducted in 2003 in which many culturally significant pieces were illegally removed in a highly organized manner. At the other end of the scale is the unprincipled ‘nighthawk’ metal-detectorist who trespasses on an important archaeological site, destroys the physical environment and steals a few items to be sold on the black market. Both these problems – the large-scale raid and the casual thief – have the effect of robbing the victim communities of their history and their cultural environment. Export of antiquities is perfectly legal in most countries, providing that the export is properly documented. The illegal export trade is another area of concern to the AIAD.

The fact that these problems have been identified is a cause for hope that they can be addressed. They do not in any way detract from the positive benefits to be derived from a well-regulated trade.

The understanding of history – in the broadest sense – is enhanced when new finds are made, whether a spectacular hoard of gold or a humble Roman coin. Indeed, a single brooch or coin can sometimes provide more information than a sackful of treasure if it happens to be a rare type found in a rare context.

Our Aims

AIAD is a not-for-profit international antiquities dealers association, comprising ancient art dealers, numismatic dealers and other interested individuals who are keen to promote the positive aspects of artefact ownership, which is beneficial for many groups of people:
Historians Students and lovers of history can derive enormous pleasure from owning objects which belong to the culture and period of their interest, be it Ancient Egypt, Pre-Columbian Meso-America, Mycenaean Greece, Republican Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, Anglo-Saxon England, Viking Scandinavia, Tang Dynasty China or Cromwell’s Commonwealth.
Investors Many classes of ancient artefact represent an attractive and sound investment, especially in times when bank interest rates are low.
Collectors The joy of acquiring an impressive collection of any artefact type – coins, medals, jewellery, weapons, ceramics and what-have-you – is infectious. Researching the subject, deciding which cultures, types and periods to collect, tracking down the objects and perhaps even making a discovery which will re-write the textbooks – hours of absorbing and fascinating study await the collector of ancient artefacts.
Site Researchers Whether detectorist or armchair local historian, there is a great deal of pleasure to be derived from amassing a collection from a single area and holding in your hands a slice through the history of the place – from Palaeolithic hand-tools to WWII cartridge cases, all contribute to the understanding of the area and its historical significance.

AIAD promotes responsible trading which necessarily includes meeting all legal requirements concerning reporting and documentation. Antiquities and ancient art dealers within AIAD apply the code of conduct set out in this website.


“AIAD” is the public identity of the Association of International Antiquities Dealers Ltd., a company limited by guarantee, registered in the United Kingdom. Company No. 07094789.

  • AIAD

    AIAD is an association of dealers in antiquities (including fine art, coins, metallic and ceramic objects) whose aim is to promote responsible antiquities dealing and to provide a support network and means of exchanging relevant information about fakes, forgeries, fraudulent misrepresentation and stolen goods with a view to identifying such items offered for sale and notifying the appropriate authorities.

    The initial impetus for the formation of the AIAD came from the British antiquities trade. Because of the nature of the antiquities trade, it is essential for the Association to include members based in Europe, the Americas and further afield.

    The AIAD offers Associate Membership to interested individuals, trade bodies and companies outside the antiquities trade who have relevant interests and experience, for example companies providing valuation, authentication and certification services.