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Keeping a detailed record of what you purchase, whatever it is, is essential, not just to prove when and where you bought it, but also to show that it really does legally belong to you.

The other reason is that the more detailed a record you have of what you own, the more attractive it will be to others if you ever decide to sell it, and so the more valuable it can become.

So what sort of information should you get hold of and keep?

Where and when you bought it, the receipt itself, especially if it has a lot of detail about the item on it, and whether it has appeared anywhere in a book or catalogue. If you have any information as to its history of ownership (provenance) all the better. Even better, include photographs of it among the paperwork. So if you bought it online at auction, it is a good idea to take a screengrab of the piece on the auctioneer’s website along with the lot details.

Keeping detailed records is just as important for items of value that you inherit or acquire as gifts. So if you have access to that information, all the better. And it can also be handy when it comes to insuring your property. Remember, individual items over a certain value will need to be listed separately for cover.

All of this has become much more important in recent years as the art, antiques and vintage market has become a global phenomenon. Anyone hoping to import rare and valuable items at customs now has to have much better paperwork proving legality and ownership than ever before, so developing good habits when it comes to what is known as due diligence is what it’s all about.