The fair market value of ivory objects
In 2016, the United States adopted a new and highly restrictive regulation aimed at reducing ivory trafficking within its borders and reducing access to the US market for unscrupulous poachers.
Every year, as many as 30,000 African elephants are killed to supply the illicit ivory trade driven by Asian demand.
The United Kingdom has just followed suit, banning ivory sale, in 2019, Hong Kong in 2018, China in 2017 and France in 2016.
In Canada, the law prohibits the sale of ivory from elephants killed after July 3, 1975. The fines are unlimited and are punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment.
However, there are some regulatory exceptions, which vary from country to country: items with an ivory volume (weight) of less than 10%; musical instruments manufactured before 1975, with an ivory volume of less than 20%; miniature portraits manufactured before 1918; some inter-museum sales; and objects classified as having special artistic value or history.
Of course, these new rulings on ivory trade will affect the art market. Ivory items will be increasingly rare but most importantly almost impossible to resell.
An increasing number of collectors have decided to donate their treasures to local museums.
Obviously, the illegal trade persists and there is still a lot of work to be done. It’s estimated that this “mafia” market would bring in 30 billion dollars a year. Fortunately, since 2009 the auction site Ebay has been prohibiting this type of transaction and Etsy.com is following the trend.
Ivory coveted items: crucifixes, Japanese netsuke, theatre tokens, African sculptures, hunting trophies, etc.
A 2015 Reader Digest report on the situation is staggering.