Lawmakers in New York State have voted to outlaw the sale of items that are over 100 years old and made with more than 20 percent elephant ivory, mammoth ivory or rhinoceros horn. These rules for antique ivory are stiffer than those of the federal government (see the June 20 New York Times article.) There is great confusion about the new laws. I recently asked a museum curator if he could accept a 112-year-old humidor made of a piece of an elephant tusk mounted with Gorham silver and marked with the date. He didn't know. The federal law says old or new ivory can't be accepted by a museum, and we know many antique pieces have been destroyed in Colorado. Recently, antique musical instruments with ivory inlay were exempted.
Photo credit: New Orleans Auction Galleries