A NEW government-backed website is promising to be a one-stop shop to help people buy and sell antiques legally.

Set up and run by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), www.culturalpropertyadvice.gov.uk aims to provide vital information on collecting, buying and selling art, antiques and antiquities legitimately and with confidence.

The website sets out to support private collectors, trade organisations and individuals working in public collections like museums, libraries and archives. Information covers exporting and importing cultural objects; current legislation; news on stolen and illicitly traded objects; and a variety of checklists and factsheets.

Among the useful information listed is the contact details of many of the trade and auctioneer associations, as well as links to the main databases for stolen art and antiques.

Culture Minister David Lammy said: “Public interest in buying and selling art and antiques is on a high at the moment. But the ‘dos and don’ts’ of the trade can be confusing to the novice and the veteran alike. This site brings all the best advice together on every aspect of it, and I warmly recommend it to everyone involved in this fascinating and rewarding business.”

The website has won the endorsement of both LAPADA and the Antiquarian Booksellers Association. LAPADA chief executive Sarah Percy-Davis said that the association “welcomes any site that helps both dealers and members of the public to understand the law regarding the import and export of works of art”. And ABA director John Critchley said it would be “an excellent guide for the trade, the staff of large collections and the general public alike”.