UK Ivory Ban

In April 2018 the UK government announced that it would introduce an ivory ban with a small number of exemptions for certain items containing ivory.

  • ATG Reporter
UK Ivory Ban: your questions answered

The announcement was made on April 3 2018 by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as its response to a consultation on a UK ivory sales ban that closed in December 2017.

It will cover ivory items of all ages – not only those produced after a certain date. The maximum available penalty for breaching the ban will be an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail. 

Antiques Trade Gazette has produced a handy guide to the proposed changes:

Download the ATG Guide to the UK ivory ban.

Last updated December 3, 2019 with news and letters up to ATG No 2418.

The guide answers key questions including:

  • What does the ban involve from an antiques point of view and is the ‘1947’ date still relevant?
  • When will the law come into effect?
  • Should I stop selling ivory now?
  • When the law is enacted, what can be sold under the 10% de minimis exemption?
  • What does Defra mean by ‘rarest and most important items of their type’?
  • What impact will the 100-years-old requirement have?
  • What will I have to do to sell under the exemptions?
  • How will Defra police registration?
  • What will the penalty be for breaking the law?
  • What chance the ban can be amended before it becomes law?

On announcing the intended ban, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "The ban on ivory sales we will bring into law will reaffirm the UK's global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past."

The consultation had received more than 70,000 responses, with over 88% of responses in favour of the ban.

The proposed ban is not yet law and so for now current CITES regulations still apply to ivory items.

In the meantime...

For more detailed information about CITES, we have provided a full set of notes from our seminar on CITES held in January 2017 including:

  • guidance to the regulations
  • the worked item derogation
  • information on applying for Article 10 certificates
  • import and export permits
  • consignor obligations
  • rosewood
  • disposing of post-1947 ivory items
  • answers to questions raised by seminar participants

Download the ATG Guide to CITES and the 2017 Seminar

The Seminar was held in association with the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers (SOFAA) and was supported by the British Antiques Dealers’ Association (BADA).

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