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As many of you know, as part of the global effort to halt the slaughter of elephants and combat wildlife trafficking, new regulations have been imposed affecting the U.S. trade in elephant ivory. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently announced a series of new rules affecting pieces made partly or entirely of ivory. Some have lauded these new regulations as welcome and needed and others consider them intrusive and penalizing.

At ABA we try to deal in the reality of policy, not get mired in politics. As such we are abiding by the new regulations without opinion and simply wish to inform our clients of the ramifications as they pertain to our consignments and auctions.

Per the USFWS, possession, ownership, and inter- and intrastate sale of legally acquired, antique ivory is legal. The USFWS defines “legally acquired” as having been produced and lawfully imported prior to January 18, 1990 and “antique” as 100 years or older.

The takeaway? Any consignor having consigned ivory or ivory-containing pieces (eg, pianos) that DOES NOT meet that definition must make arrangements to retrieve those consignments at the earliest convenience. ABA will no longer put to auction any ivory that does not meet those requirements. As one can imagine this will reduce our ivory inventory by quite a bit. But, on the bright side, one can be assured that all ivory purchased from ABA will meet the most stringent inspection. Moving forward all ivory consignments must be accompanied by documentation and provenance that proves age and import record.

We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, but you can’t fight The Man.