Object ID Checklist


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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Market Notes > Feature: Object ID Checklist


Object ID Tracks Stolen Works of Art

Internet Fraud Complaint Center

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Take Photographs

Photographs are of vital importance in identifying and recovering stolen objects. In addition to overall views, take close-ups of inscriptions, markings, and any damage or repairs. If possible, include a scale or object of known size in the image.

Answer These Questions:

Type of Object
What kind of object is it (e.g., painting, sculpture, clock, mask)?

Materials & Techniques
What materials is the object made of (e.g., brass, wood, oil on canvas)? How was it made (e.g., carved, cast, etched)?

What is the size and/or weight of the object? Specify which unit of measurement is being used (e.g., cm., in.) and to which dimension the measurement refers (e.g., height, width, depth).

Inscriptions & Markings
Are there any identifying markings, numbers, or inscriptions on the object (e.g., a signature, dedication, title, maker's marks, purity marks, property marks)?

Distinguishing Features
Does the object have any physical characteristics that could help to identify it (e.g., damage, repairs, or manufacturing defects)?

Does the object have a title by which it is known and might be identified (e.g., The Scream)?

What is pictured or represented (e.g., landscape, battle, woman holding child)?

Date or Period
When was the object made (e.g., 1893, early 17th century, Late Bronze Age)?

Do you know who made the object? This may be the name of a known individual (e.g., Thomas Tompion), a company (e.g., Tiffany), or a cultural group (e.g., Hopi).

Write a Short Description
This can also include any additional information which helps to identify the object (e.g., color and shape of the object, where it was made).

Keep It Secure
Having documented the object, keep this information in a secure place.


Introduction to Object ID: Guidelines for Making Records That Describe Art, Antiques, and Antiquities
by Robin Thornes

Art Theft and Forgery Investigation:
The Complete Field Manual
by Robert Spiel

The Gods Are Leaving the Country:
Art Theft from Nepal

by J\201rgen Schick

Glossary of Jewelry and Timepiece Terms
Other glossary of terms

The Spoils of World War II:
The American Military's Role in the Stealing of Europe's Treasures

by Kenneth Alford

Old Masters Repainted:
A Detailed Investigation into the Authenticity of Paintings Attributed to Wu Zhen (1280-1354)

by Joan Stanley-Baker

The Art Forger's Handbook
by Eric Hebborn

Stolen Art
by Victor Perry, Louis Rapoport

Missing and Stolen Pictures