The Manuscript Society Code of Ethics
Adopted by the Board of Trustees May 26, 1999
Members of The Manuscript Society agree to abide by the Society’s Code of Ethics. The Society’s Ethics Committee, which enforces the Code of Ethics, may engage in disputes only between Society members.
Article 1. All members of The Manuscript Society, institutional or individual, upon receipt of their application for membership or annual dues payment notice, new or renewed, are required to accept and agree to this Society’s Code of Ethics. Acceptance shall be indicated by payment of the annual membership dues. Payment evidences acceptance of the Code of Ethics, and is an agreement that the breach of any of the Code provisions could subject the member to expulsion.
Article 2. Society members are required to abide by all Federal, state, and local laws and regulations related to purchase, sale, or related transactions concerned with the securing of autographs or autograph-related items. Any member’s criminal act or misdemeanor, including but not limited to, the use, conversion, alienation, destruction, purchase or sale of manuscripts for which a member has been convicted in a court of law may subject the member to expulsion.
Article 3. Members agree not to purchase or sell any known stolen autographs or related items. Sellers are to pass on to buyers clear title to all materials sold.
Article 4. No member of the Society shall knowingly breach the terms of his contract to buy, sell or exchange manuscripts, except as permitted or required by law. No manuscript which is not authentic shall be knowingly purchased, sold or exchanged by a member of the Society unless all elements relating to its lack of authenticity are described in writing, provided to other parties to any transaction as an essential element thereof, and accompany the manuscript in question at the time of its delivery to the new owner.
Article 5. No member of the Society shall knowingly advertise to sell or exchange any manuscripts any element of which is not authentic (including signatures produced by mechanical reproduction, printed facsimiles of manuscripts and alterations to any manuscript in question) unless such element is described with particularity, in writing, in such advertisement.
Article 6. Legal defenses notwithstanding, any member of the Society who has sold or exchanged a manuscript not subject to the exceptions set forth in Article 4, that has proven not to be authentic in any respect, shall immediately give the holder, in exchange for said manuscript, the full value such member realized at the time he sold or exchanged said manuscript. An invoice or receipt (or copy thereof) issued at the time of such transaction shall be deemed conclusive proof of the value realized by such member.
Article 7. The seller is required to state in writing the terms in which he or she sells autographs or related materials, and to include a reasonable right to return items with a guarantee of a full refund on returned material. The purchaser has the right to return items received which are not as described by the seller.
Article 8. Sellers may advertise for sale only those items which are available at the time of their advertisement, and will honor all prices for a reasonable time after their publication.
Article 9. Persons involved in consignments of autographs or related materials are to make a written agreement concerning all of the elements of the consigned property, as well as terms of payment to both the consignor and consignee. The seller must agree not to alter any of the material he is handling on a consignment basis without written approval from the consignor.
Article 10. Members are responsible for items sent to them to examine for possible purchase. The sender is to supply a complete listing of all items included in the shipment. Should an offer to purchase prove to be unacceptable, the merchandise must be returned to the owner in at least the same manner it was shipped.
Article 11. Individual members or applicants for membership are to provide the Society with their full names and mailing addresses, and should notify the Society of any changes of name or address within 30 days of such change. Corporate or institutional members must provide the names and mailing address of the principal officer or designated legal representative, and should also notify the Society of changes of corporate or institution name, principal officer or designated legal representative, or address within 30 days of such change.
Article 12. Members are expected to cooperate with law enforcement authorities and the Society’s Ethics Board, as well as kindred Boards of Societies operated by collectors and dealers in manuscripts, in their investigations of allegations concerning thefts of autographs, manuscripts and the like and trafficking in stolen materials. Members will cooperate with such individuals in efforts to return such materials to their rightful owners. Members who are able are encouraged to assist law enforcement authorities in apprehending and prosecuting those persons accused of theft or of trafficking in stolen autograph materials.
Article 13. A member’s alleged violation of any Manuscript Society Code Article may be grounds for suspension or expulsion by a 2/3 vote of the Board of Trustees Such action shall be taken only after a 30-day written notice shall have been forwarded by receipted letter to such member, together with a copy of the charges, and a date set by which the said member should present his or her written defense by mail or otherwise. A sanctioned party shall have a right of Final Appeal to the Manuscript Society’s Executive Officers.