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How items are acquired

The Museum builds on its own collection by way of different means of acquisition, of which the most commonplace are:

Direct purchase

The procedure starts out with a private seller making an offer to the Museum. When putting in the offer, the following information must be included: a photograph of the item, its offer price and details of the person making the offer (forename, surname(s), and contact telephone number and address).

The Museum will issue a report determining the item’s value and the relevance of its acquisition in accordance with the centre’s acquisition policy and its collections’ features.

The offer together with the report are brought to the attention of the Spanish Committee for Grading, Valuing and Export of Items of Historical Heritage, which issues a ruling in this regard, stating whether or not it is of relevance to public collections and whether the price is acceptable. The Museum is notified of the Committee’s decision, which is conveyed to the interested party.

Purchase at public auctions

Governments receive preferential treatment when acquiring items sold at public auction.

The means of acquisition favouring the State are:

Right of first refusal

First refusal is a right to preferential acquisition, which it may exercise in the transmitting of cultural items between individuals and of items belonging to Spain’s artistic historical heritage at public auction.

All governments may enjoy this right. However, the State has preference over everyone else in so far as the acquisition is of movable items for a state-owned museum, archive or library.

At such time as the auction sale price is decided for the item, a Government representative will declare its intention to exercise said right, suspending the granting of the item. The Government has two budgetary years to make payment as of the date of the Ministerial Order.

Right of withdrawal

Irrevocable sale offer

Click here for more information regarding said Government preferential rights.


Donations are an equally important means of building on collections at the Museum.

The procedure for accepting the donation of an item to the State will start out with an offer in writing by the owner, addressed to the Museum. Where this is not the case, it may be made in writing to the governing bodies for culture at the Ministry of Culture. The offer has to be accompanied by a detailed description of the item, identification of the owner and accreditation or explicit statement of ownership of said item.

Museum Management will notify the Ministry of Culture of the offer, and forward said offer together with pertinent documentation and, where appropriate, a report from the Museum’s Curator pending its decision. Dependent on the documentation submitted, the Ministerial Order of acceptance of the donation will then be processed, or the offer will be rejected. The Museum will be notified of the decision taken, which will be conveyed to the interested party.

Donation in lieu of taxes

This formula consists of paying any tax liability by granting items belonging to Spain’s Historical Heritage. The requirements are that these items have to be:

  • Recorded in the General Registry of Objects of Cultural Interest
  • Included in the General Inventory of Movable Objects

Increases or decreases in heritage declared at the time of submission of said items, as payment of any of the aforementioned taxes, will not be subject to income tax, or to corporation tax.