We have DNA coded over 2 million items over the past 18 years and the most interesting statistic is the deterrent to theft. There have been only 62 items stolen (47 of those one theft who did not promote the warning signs) and we have recovered ten. So this has shown to be a real market winner.
Over the past three/four years however there has been a marked up lift in enquiries regarding forged items. We have been involved in two instances recently at the request of insurers with regard to concerns over authenticity of the items that we were able to verify due to the presence of provenance being on record and our DNA code.
This has led us to join forces with our colleagues at TrackArt in Hong Kong providing them with the ammunition to fight art and antiquity forgery throughout the Far East, which has been a constant threat for some time so that part of DNA coding is certainly increasing.
Conservators are always guarded on anything that is placed on an item and rightly so as they are custodians of that item whilst in their possession. We have proven to them on numerous occasions that using the correct type of synthetic DNA can allay their concerns.
We performed over 1,000 museum trials 18 years ago when we started and soon realised that we required more than one format of DNA suitable for art, antiquities, ceramics, jewellery etc.
But DNA certainly does have a place in combating art forgeries, theft deterrent and recoveries.