Ivory and silver trophy
Ivory and silver trophies such as this are prohibited to sell on the grounds that they are now considered ‘unworked’. Lot 162 in Christie’s South Kensington sale of April 28, 2015.

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A Times article said this morning: “Under the rules to be announced by ministers, dealers will be told to prove the age of items or face having them confiscated and destroyed. Without documentary proof, they may be forced to use costly radiocarbon dating.”

A DEFRA spokesperson refused to confirm the Times story when contacted by ATG but conceded that DEFRA is “considering next steps” in advance of the world CITES convention in South Africa, which starts on Saturday, September 24.

It is not yet known what documentary proof would be required and whether expert authentication would be acceptable instead.

Industry sources told ATG they expect a government announcement on Friday, just ahead of the start of the CITES Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg.

At the conference, which runs from 24 September to 5 October, regulation of the antique ivory trade is expected to be discussed.

Countries including the US are expected to call for measures to close down domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory.

In February this year, ATG broke the story that UK dealers were forced to destroy ivory antiques they were importing into the US for the Original Miami Beach Show. 

France is the latest country to introduce procedures making trade in antique ivory more bureaucratic.

See Antiques Trade Gazette No 2259, published this week

ATG will give readers the latest on this developing story via www.antiquestradegazette.com