UNITED KINGDOM – Thanks to some digging by the trade publication Antiques Trade Gazette, which submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the British agency charged with administering The Ivory Act of 2018, a near-total ban on selling antique ivory that came into force in June 2022, some of what can and cannot be done with regard to ivory there has been revealed.
According to the Animal Plant Health Agency, a total of 5,388 antiques containing ivory have been registered prior to sale under the de minimus and portrait miniature exemptions. A further 91 items have been granted certificates as items of “outstandingly high artistic, cultural and historical value,” with 29 objects rejected under the same criteria.
The exemptions include the following: Pre-1947 items containing less than 10 percent ivory by volume; pre-1975 musical instruments containing less than 20 percent ivory by volume; pre-1918 portrait miniatures with a surface area of no more than 320 square centimeters; and pre-1918 items deemed of outstanding artistic, cultural or historical value.
Those individuals breaking the law under the Ivory Act 2018 face a maximum fine of £250,000 or five years’ imprisonment, according to a UK government website of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Animal and Plant Health Agency.
More information on what constitutes dealing in ivory is available at www.gov.uk under the heading guidance/dealing in items containing ivory or made of ivory.