The statute on museums enacted in 1997 introduced a special category of registered museums which due to their high level of activity have been listed in a Ministry of Culture register. Such museums enjoy special state protection and privileges connected with the purchase of monuments introduced into the market turnover - the right of preemption and the right of priority. Registered museums may benefit from the right of preemption directly at art auctions, i.e. a representative of a given museum attending an auction may, after its completion, declare his willingness to purchase a given monument of art at the offered price. A contract is subsequently signed with the museum albeit on conditions established with the highest bidder. This privilege is effective only if the sales contract had been achieved under the condition that the museum would not make use of the preemption right. If the general sales conditions of the auction houses do not contain a suitable clause then the museum becomes incapable of resorting to this method. The second of the examined privileges - the right to priority - grants the registered museums the option of buying monuments offered for sale by subjects professionally involved in the artwork turnover. Owing to the laconic and vague nature of the regulations concerning the right to priority its practical implementation might become difficult if not outright impossible. The basic purpose of the regulations was to enable the museums to purchase monuments which otherwise would be sent abroad or find themselves in private collections. The regulations had been, however, faultily edited, which means that they ceased functioning in practice, and made it necessary to modify them. Legislation changes should aim at recognising as legally invalid all unconditional sales contracts as well as the recognition as ineffective all contracts that make it impossible to profit from the right to priority.
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