Beware! You may not be able to buy or sell anything of any age that is made totally or partially of ivory. Everything from a piano to a button. AAll import, export, resale or donation of items that contain ivory less than 100 years old from African elephants was banned by Executive Order from President Obama on Feb. 11, 2014. The ban will be carried out by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This means that almost everything made from ivory after 1914 can no longer legally be sold or donated in the United States after May 31, 2014. To prove ivory is antique requires special forms and appraisals that may not exist, especially if the ivory was inherited.
Auctioneers, collectors, dealers, artists, musicians, museums, and others are concerned. We checked Kovels' online price guide and found many pieces that can no longer be bought or sold because at least part of the object is made of ivory. See the list below.
For more detailed information, go to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's International Affairs page and also read this Forbes article.
There are several existing laws impacted by this ivory ban. To make your thoughts known, contact your U.S. Senator or Representative or visit the Fish & Wildlife Service's website and either email officials there via the "Email" link on the right side of the homepage or use the social media links at the top of the page.
Live African elephants will still be protected by the law that forbids import or export of recently harvested ivory.
These are some of the pieces using antique ivory that will be illegal to sell: accordions, bookends, boxes, buttons, calling-card cases, canes, carved elephant tusks, chess pieces, crucifixes, cuff links, decorative screens, dice, doctor's dolls, fans with ivory sticks, figurines, flatware, fountain pens, furniture with ivory inlay, game pieces, guitars, hair combs, handguns, incense burners, inros, jars, jewelry (including pins, bracelets, beads, necklaces and earrings), knife handles, knitting needles, letter openers, magnifying glass handles, mahjong tiles, miniatures, Nantucket baskets, netsukes, page turners, pianos, puzzle balls, rifles, rondelles, scrimshaw, sewing boxes, shaving-brush handles, ship models, snuff bottles, tankards, tea and coffee pots with ivory insets in the handles (they keep the handles cool), trinket boxes, umbrella handles, urns, vases and more.
In the past, some antique ivory was crushed so it could not be sold or donated.
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