An amendment, supported by Bonhams, Clars, Abell, Slawinski and Michaan’s plus online platforms LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable, cleared a senate committee by unanimous vote on April 3.
The little-publicised Bill 1570 has threatened to impact the wider art and antiques sector since it became effective in January.
The law is aimed at reducing forgeries in the sports and entertainment memorabilia sectors but is written in such broad terms – describing a collectable as any autographed item sold for $5 or more – that it would appear to include paintings, prints and sculpture and all signed rare books.
Rare book dealers are particularly vexed by the new law which was much-discussed at the recent 50th California International Book Fair.
The revised bill promoted by the coalition (State Senate Bill 579) argues that the language of the current law is unintentionally hindering commercial activity in the state of California.
It seeks to correct the statute book by revising the definition of ‘collectables’ to more clearly target ‘sports and entertainment’ memorabilia and the term ‘dealer’ to exclude auctioneers already governed by existing law.
The amendment also asks that a requirement for dealers of autographed memorabilia to disclose the names and addresses of consignors be quashed in favour of a stipulation that they maintain records of such data for seven years.
Having passed the California Senate’s Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, the bill now goes to the California Senate Judiciary Committee.