Near-total ban on antique ivory comes into force
It is now illegal to trade in most solid ivory items. The law covers all items offered for sale (not just transactions), so websites and online listings must be updated.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is responsible for regulating the law. Since it launched its digital ivory service on Feb. 24, there have been more than 700 requests for items that meet a narrow set of exemptions, Defra said.
Many auction houses and dealers use the system to register items they plan to sell. The registration fee is £20 per item or £50 for a group of items (up to a maximum of 20 if sold to the same buyer and benefiting from the same exemption).
For group registrations, a form is available and can be obtained from APHA at: [email protected]
The five exemptions are:
- Pre-1947 items containing less than 10% ivory by volume.
- Pre-1975 musical instruments containing less than 20% ivory by volume.
- Miniatures of portraits from before 1918 with a maximum surface of 320 cm².
- Sale and rental contracts with eligible museums.
- Pre-1918 items of exceptional artistic, cultural or historical value.
However, requesting the sale of an antique (pre-1918) on the grounds that it is of “exceptionally high artistic, cultural or historical value” will be subject to a fee of £250, comprising £20 for registration and £230 to cover the cost of advice provided by a committee of museum specialists.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said a 28-day grace period will begin today (June 6) for “partly completed” transactions.