Authenticity & Provenance

As one of the most renowned antiquities traders in London, St. James’s Ancient Art has been actively dealing in ancient artefacts and coins for over 40 years. One of our core missions here at St. James’s Ancient Art is to sell antiquities at affordable prices, with all items unconditionally guaranteed authentic, as each item sold is provided with a certificate of authenticity. Owning Director Chris Martin actively serves as chairman of the Antiquities’ Dealer’s Association (ADA) and the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA), in addition to being a member of LAPADA and CINOA, Ancient Art, thus, abides by the strict standards set within their codes of conduct. From February 2016 he has also been appointed to serve in the Treasure Valuation Committee.


Do Antiquities Belong in a Museum?

As the leading purveyor and carrier of the largest stock of ancient artefacts and coins within the UK, we are often asked questions about the provenance of our artefacts and whether their true place should instead be inside a museum, where they could be enjoyed by the public, and so forth. To which we answer that the vast majority of our items are not rarities and we try to ensure that they will be affordable to everybody who wishes to purchase an ancient art piece. We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to own a piece of antiquity, provided that the artefacts are sufficiently common and are neither of any national value nor should legitimately be within a museum environment.

Straordinary Pieces of Everyday Life

Priceless Greek vases and marble friezes are not the sole representations of antiquities and Ancient Art, which also includes items that were used as part of everyday life by ancient civilisations, and which provide an essential insight on what life was like in antiquity. For example, the Roman terracotta oil lamps, extremely widespread and used and disposed of in much the same way as the modern light bulb today, or beautiful pieces of Greek and Roman gold jewellery, still fully wearable and appreciated today, or timeless creations of Oriental pottery, such as tea sets or vases. These ‘everyday items’ often lack the lustre desired by collectors of more refined antiquities and are surplus to the already overstretched museums, but are very precious in their own right, as they encapsulate so much more that the mere material qualities they possess. They tell a story, which we believe is very valuable, and they, as witnesses, invite us to be part of it.

Preserve and Understand our Heritage

One questions pops to mind and is inevitable in such a trade – will stocks run out? Yes. Of course there is a limited supply of antiquities in circulation, which is why the stock is ever changing as new pieces and collections arrive on the market. Another key aspect we keep at the heart of our mission through the sale of antiquities is the aim to increase public awareness regarding these delicate artefacts and the promotion of the aims of conservationists. We donate money from our sales to museums and charities to help encourage, preserve and understand our heritage