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It seems to me that The British Art Market Foundation (BAMF) does not live in the real world. I would like to ask how are people going to deal with the millions of ivory works of art that are not of ‘museum quality’? I believe BAMF’s conception will cause many people to fall foul of the law.

As I have previously said, a tax on all ivory pre-1947 – no matter whether it is important enough to be considered ‘museum quality’ – would produce millions for the fight to save elephants and other endangered species. It would help too if European dealers and auctioneers sold ivory items with a straightforward guarantee that it is pre-1947.

I have not seen any proof so far that the ban in the US has made any difference to the killing of elephants. The new ban on importing raw ivory in China goes far further than anything so far in the fight against the poachers. Further pressure on other south-east Asian countries will also help a great deal.

Edric van Vredenburgh


Can the relevant experts answer my questions?

MADAM – BAMF’s definition of ‘museum quality’ is exceedingly unhelpful, as it deliberately talks much about certification, but virtually nothing about museum quality.

While the government judiciously considers its options, and there is still time to win the battle to save both elephants and antique ivory, please can the relevant experts kindly step forward – with courage – and answer unequivocally the following questions:

1. What exactly is ‘museum quality’, or ‘of artistic, cultural and historic significance’?

2. Are scientific tests necessary in the unequivocal dating of ivory and, if so, at what expense, and how long would this take?

3. Who will grant certificates of authenticity, and will these independent experts be liable for errors?

We need a solution that will allow elephants to prosper and antique ivory to survive.

Gavin Littaur

London