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Salvo Code information

Copyright Salvo Ltd © 1995 to 2020. All rights reserved.

To see the current Salvo Code dealer list - please click here.
There are 150 business who have signed up to the Salvo Code, mainly in the UK, as well as a few in North America and around Europe.

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The Salvo Code

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Salvo set up the Salvo Code in 1995. It is a simple voluntary code for dealers who buy and sell architectural antiques, antique garden ornament and reclaimed building materials. It is not a 'code of conduct' or a 'code of practice' both of which are legal UK definitions.
The Salvo Code aims to give customers greater confidence, in particular, that items which they buy have not been stolen or removed from protected historic buildings without permission.
Many dealers have already established a sensible buying procedure but the Salvo Code makes this more formal, understandable and obvious to the buying public.
In this way customers are given the choice of buying from relatively safe and responsible sources.


Each Salvo Code dealer has a Salvo Code certificate which is dated for the current year and is signed by Thornton Kay, the administrator of the Salvo Code.
The certificate resembles the panel below.

Crane Logo

The Crane logo is used exclusively by Salvo Code businesses. The crane is an ancient Chinese and European symbol for vigilance. The Chinese legend says the crane sleeps with one eye open and holds a stone which, on falling asleep with both eyes closed, it drops and wakes up - possibly because it drops the stone onto its other foot!

The Certificate

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The Salvo Code Dealer undertakes:

Not to buy any item if there is the slightest suspicion that it may be stolen.

Not to buy knowingly any item removed from listed or protected historical buildings or from sites of scheduled monuments without the appropriate legal consent.

To record the registration numbers of vehicles belonging to persons unknown to it who offer items for sale, and to ask for proof of identity.

Where possible to keep a record of the provenance of an item, including the date of manufacture, from where it came, and any previous owners.

To the best of its ability and knowledge, to sell materials free from toxic chemicals, excepting those natural to the material, traditional to its historical use, or resulting from atmospheric pollution.

Not to copy knowingly unique items made or commissioned by other Salvo Code dealers.

Where possible, and only within its ability and knowledge, to give customers the choice of buying fairly traded products.

To allow its business details to be held on a list of businesses who subscribe to the Salvo Code and to display a copy of the code and this Certificate in a public position within their business premises.

Signed by Thornton Kay, Salvo Code Administrator


How the Salvo Code was formed

The Salvo Code was agreed after a three-year consultation process by a steering group of long-established English dealers in April 1995. Charles Tolley of Andy Thornton Architectural Antiques, Adrian Amos of London Architectural Salvage & Supply Co, Tim & Lindy Seago of Seago, Nick Gifford-Mead and Thornton Kay of Salvo, among others, were on the steering group. English Heritage and the Council for the Prevention of Art Theft were also involved in the early stages. Simon Kirby of Alscot Bathrooms rewrote Clause 1, which was the subject of much debate. Salvo has been instrumental in forming the Code and promoting it to the Trade.

Click here for the current Salvo Code dealer list

Over the years some businesses have made it plain that they have no intention of signing. They carry out the procedures contained in it the code but they do not want to be associated with it. Others would like to sign up but do not want to pay the joining fee. It is possible that any dealer, particularly the more recently established ones, may agree to the Salvo Code but still buy items that are questionable. To a great extent, avoidance of such items comes from years of trading experience and good procedures.

There are Salvo Code dealers in Belgium, Canada, England, France, Ireland, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Scotland, USA and Wales. Differences exist between countries about consumer protection and ownership laws. However, we do not think that anything contained in the Salvo Code conflicts with domestic law. Since 1995 Salvo has been seeking a water tight legal definition of 'good title', but no-one has yet been able to give one.

The enforcement of the Salvo Code is entirely voluntary by the signee. Salvo has not visited all the businesses listed to ensure that they are carrying out the procedures and are aware of their responsibilities. Salvo would like to establish local monitoring groups but this has so far not been possible. Salvo cannot vouch for Salvo Code Dealers nor their stock. Salvo simply wishes to encourage sensible working practices. However, in the event that it becomes clear that a Salco dealer is not carrying out the procedures contained in the Code, Salvo will take action to remove them from the list. Thornton Kay is the current administrator of the Salvo Code. Existing Salvo Code businesses are polled prior to decisions being taken, and since 2009 the final decision regarding Salvo Code applications is made by the Salvo Code Advisory Network of 18 long-established Salvo Code dealers.

Theft Alerts

Participants in the Salvo Code (as well as all subscribers to our printed trade newsletter, SalvoNews) receive Salvo Theft Alerts informing them about stolen items. The latest Theft Alerts are posted on www.theft-alerts.com.

About 80% of the Theft Alerts are for garden ornament with the remainder being architectural items. They are mainly from around England and Wales, with a few from Ireland, France, Scotland and elsewhere in Europe. In future we would like to agree a standard procedure for intercepting stolen items, particularly ones that have crossed international boundarie, but various issues require solving first.

Salvo charges 2p per theft alert per day (inc Vat in UK) for raising a Theft Alert.

Theft deterrence and what to do in the event of a theft

There are some simple measures that property-owners can undertake to help reduce the problem of theft. Namely:
1. Don't leave property unoccupied.
2. Photograph your garden ornaments and features in unoccupied buildings. Note any identifying damage or marks , and the colour, materials, dimensions and inscriptions.
3. Alert the police, and your local hsitoric buildings conservation officer, if you see someone suspicious in an unoccupied listed house or one in a conservation area.
4. After contacting the police, consider raising a Salvo Theft Alert if an architectural or garden antique is stolen and colour photocopy photos before handing them over.

If you are the victim of garden ornament or architectural theft, please raise a theft alert as quickly as possibly after the theft. The information needed is:
1. The police crime reference number or case number
2. The badge or id number of the responding police officer
3. The telephone number of the police station
4. A detailed description of the object stolen, with a photo or at least a sketch, dimensions and any identifying damage if known.
5. The area or town from which it was stolen.
6. The date on which it was last positively seen.

How to contact Salvo Llp:
Click here to send an email message
Postal address: Salvo Ltd, Old Rectory Studio, Ashford Road, Chartham, Canterbury CT4 7HS, Kent, UK


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