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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.

Comment in our Forum ...


#21 Ivory bansensible 2014-06-02 17:37
This ban is no different than the burning of books; it's a typical knee-jerk reaction to a problem that will only make the problem worse. Just how do you devalue an item by destroying it? Seems to me you do just the opposite. Protecting animals is fine, but when other countries are not on board, it makes the whole ban a little ridiculous. The law might circumvent those who are law abiding, but the criminal element will not be stopped. A chicken little outcome!!
Does this mean our government will not be able to display General Patton's Ivory handled S&W (1940) nor his Single Action Colt (1930) at the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox? Now that's going from the Sublime to the Ridiculous like everything else they touch!
#19 An Elephant died for Piano Keys.TiggerHolly 2014-05-06 11:22
Thank goodness .
I saw a Leopard pelt on e.bay.
I reported it last year.
At that time it was legislation prior to
1964 I think.
Let us remind ourselves why the ban was
The Black Rhino is extinct.
Maybe if Ivory was seen as worthless.
More Elephants would be alive.
If I had an expensive Steinway .I would
replace the keys.
I live in Australia. I hope we can do the
same here.
#18 Can't Fix STUPID!DM1 2014-04-26 13:21
The laws in California are even stricter! You can NOT posse ANY part of an animal no matter how old it is! No difference of age is considered AT ALL!
Tortoise shell, bones, teeth, skin of any animal of any kind, any ivory, feathers...the list goes on! Without notice the US Fish & Wildlife has gone into Antique Stores & confiscated everything considered under the California Ban Law. I understand that everything has been destroyed by the Feds. This is what happens when you elect Liberals who want to destroy the GREAT AMERICA we all know & is just the beginning! There was nothing wrong with the Pre 1964 Ban which was Federal Law & it only affected US laws. It does NOT stop any other Country from killing these animals & selling their parts to this day! IDIOTS!
So everything I inherited from relatives is illegal to own. Who is going to pay an Appraiser to get the legal paper work necessary to prove it is 100 yrs or older? Cost you more to appraise then the item is worth!
#17 Musical Instruments Should Be ExemptedTobi97060 2014-04-25 22:22
I would like to see an amendment to Exempt Musical Instruments, where the primary purpose of the ivory is not as an art object but part of something that makes music.
#16 OBAMA Ivory Banmazzababy 2014-04-24 11:37
I am absolutely in favor of protecting the animals, but this OBAMA ban on "old" ivory is ludicrous. I accomplishes nothing. Vintage piano keys? Give me a break. There are ways to have old items authenticated to determine their age and the type of ivory. Should we not be respecting these items with care and admiration rather than tossing them away? I SAY GET THE POACHERS NOW...No animals should ever be senselessly killed! Let us not harm the innocent people who cherish these old ivories from the pre-ban era. STOP THE THIEVES...they are the mindless and evil humans who will continue to kill without a conscience, unless someone stops them.

All of you concerned, please take the time to write to International Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Services. It's time to take America back!
#15 ivorybeeb2953 2014-04-24 11:00
With all the stupid stuff this president has done, it falls right in place that he would do this. Should we start buying DNA kits to determine weather it is elephant or walrus ivory? Now the black market trade for ivory will increase with much higher prices. And will the Wildlife Dept come take your whole piano or just remove the keys, I have one I need gone.
#14 The only one who needs ivory is an elephantRetroBetty 2014-04-24 06:00
I think the whole point is to make it worth nothing. If you can sell ivory, it's got value, therefore the illegal trade in ivory has a market, at some point. If it's worthless, that's just bad luck if you happen to own it. It was pretty bad luck for the elephant that died for the sake of it. It has to stop somewhere, and this is finally (I hope) the end.
#13 More to the ban than ivoryflyhinter 2014-04-24 04:28
It is worth noting that the ban on selling elephant ivory is not limited to ivory. It applies to any product made from any endangered animal (including, for example, tortoise shell), and even some plant material (such as ebony wood).
#12 Gifting/bequeat hing ivoryflyhinter 2014-04-24 04:26
Whether or not gifting or bequeathing elephant ivory remains possible will depend on what state the recipient is in. California for one, if my information is correct, has now banned the OWNERSHIP of ivory of any age.

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