How to avoid being a victim of art theft according to Detective Don Hrycyk, LAPD Art Theft Detail.
1. Know what you have. “Have it authenticated and appraised. Just because your grandmother says it’s a Ming vase doesn’t mean that it really is.”
2. Get it photographed. “It’s amazing how many people lose a $50,000 painting and all they can show us is an old Thanksgiving photo with the family standing in front of a very blurry painting.” Hrycyk also recommends photographing the back of the artwork “because it’s like a birthmark that can positively identify an artwork.”
3. Have a good written description of the artwork. “And if it’s a print, not the number so we can identify it from other prints.”
4. Add you own mark. “Add something to the artwork in a non-destructive manner.” How about a Tagsmart Smart tag? ;)
5. If it’s insured, make sure you have a buyback provision in your policy. “If we recover a valuable artwork 10 years after it was stolen, it’s only going to be more valuable at that time. And if you’ve since filed a claim with your insurance company, you want to be sure that you can return the money and still get to keep your artwork. Otherwise, we have to return it to the insurance company.
– Source: Lansing, David. Artifice. Art & Antiques. Summer 2006: 98. Print.