Professional Guidelines established by
Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association (ATADA)

Bylaws of the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association, Articles X and XI (last amended 2014)

Organization's Web Site

Guideline Summary

Bylaws approved February 20, 1997; amended September 1, 2007; July 2, 2010; and January 8, 2014

Specific Guidelines



All Members of the Association shall conduct their business in accordance with the following standards:


Section 1. It is recommended that all merchandise displayed for sale by a Member in a show or a store open to the public bear a tag clearly stating the price of the item.


Section 2. It is recommended that the buyer be provided with a complete invoice for every object purchased. This invoice should include:
•A. Identification of the object including important identifying features,
•B. Cultural attribution and approximate date,
•C. A brief condition report
•D. A brief history of the object, and
•F. A copy of the ATADA Guarantee (below)

Any reservations as to the object’s history and any defects including restoration that may not be obvious to the uninformed Buyer should be clearly noted on the invoice.


Section 3. All Members of the Association shall guarantee the title, condition, and authenticity of every object sold by them, and shall agree to arbitration of any dispute related to the transaction,

in accordance with the following provisions, which provisions shall be made known to each Buyer in such manner as the Member sees fit:

GUARANTEE. In the Seller’s judgment as a dealer in objects of this kind, the information set forth in the Report is accurate. If the Buyer shows that such information is inaccurate in any significant way within one year from the date of purchase, the Seller will accept a return and offer a full refund, which the Buyer agrees to accept as full satisfaction. The returned object must be in the same condition as sold. The Seller also guarantees that the Buyer receives good title to the object. If there is evidence showing that Seller did not provide good title and the Seller is promptly so informed by the Buyer, the Seller will either remove any cloud on the title or accept return of the object and give the Buyer a full refund, at the Seller’s option. These guarantees extend only from the Seller to the Buyer named in the invoice.

ARBITRATION. Any disagreement relating to transactions between Buyer and Seller shall be decided by an arbitrator chosen by agreement of the Buyer and Seller. If the Buyer and Seller cannot agree on arbitrator, the dispute shall be decided by an independent arbitrator or arbitrators chosen by the Board of Directors. The Buyer and Seller agree to be bound by that decision. The Association shall not be held liable for the arbitrator’s decision.

Catalogue/Internet Sales

Section 4. All goods purchased by mail order may be returned by the Buyer for full refund in the event the Buyer is dissatisfied with the item on any ground. Any returns must be made promptly after receipt and inspection of the object.


Section 5. It is the professional responsibility of every Member to carry out appraisals with the utmost integrity. Fees for appraisals should be based on professional services rendered and expenses rather than on a percentage of the appraised value.

Disputes Among Members

Section 6. Where any dispute over a business matter arises between two or more Members of the Association, those Members will seek mediation first then binding arbitration by the President and the Board of Directors of the Association or by the Committee on Member disputes and agree not to take any such disputes into the courts or other outside forums. 



ATADA Sponsored Shows

Section 1. Because of the diversity of material handled by Members, exceptions to only pre-1970 material have been made. 

•  A. Southwest Indian and Mexican jewelry and objects that are post 1970 are permissible.
•  B. Material from other than North America (Africa, Indonesia, Amazon River, etc.) may be post 1970 if it conforms to traditional design and was made for use within the group and shows evidence to that use.
•  C. The post 1970 work of innovators in their field will also be acceptable. For example, Maria Martinez, Margaret Tafoya, Alan Houser, Helen Hardin, Charles Loloma, Kenneth Begay, Helen Cordero, etc.
•  D. Recommendation for other exceptions should be addressed to the Board.
•  E. Items adorned with or made utilizing human body parts may not be displayed or offered for sale at sponsored shows. This does not include human hair.