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Wednesday: draft letter to ATG. I hope it’s relevant to what I have just read. Thursday: tear up letter in agony, resignation or depression.

Agony, because in all the views expressed and questions raised in ATG, we are left none the wiser on the BAMF’s definition of ‘museum-quality ivory’, ‘cultural and historical merit’ and so on (ATG No 2324).

The biggest question of all remains unanswered. That is, whether there is a direct, provable, traceable link between trading, owning, showing in the case of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, pre-1947 worked ivory and the modern killing of elephants and trade in ivory?

If the link is anything other than the emotive, high-minded views of conservationists, I want to know. Only then will I abandon my past 50 years of dealing involving a fair number of ivory objects and join the conservationists’ camp.

I am an animal lover (my early career intention was to become a vet).

I really want to know.

Nicholas Mitchell


MADAM – I am shocked that the BAMF is suggesting that items not meriting a licensing fee of at least £50 could not be sold (ATG No 2324). This would often mean that they will get thrown away after the death of their owners.

There are many beautiful small items of antique ivory that are of comparatively low financial value, which are worth passing on to future generations as part of our heritage.

“There should be an extra exemption for pieces of worked ivory at least 100 years old which weigh less than 200gm

I suggest therefore that, alongside the BAMF’s proposal, there should be an additional exemption for pieces of antique worked ivory, at least 100 years old, which weigh less than 200 grams.

In the case of a chess set or a set of puzzles, each piece should be counted separately for the purpose of applying this limit.

It should be left to the expertise of dealers and auctioneers to ensure that the small items they sell comply with this new legal requirement, without the need for a licence or a certificate of authenticity.

Christopher Lewin