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We antique dealers buy and sell articles which were mainly made over the last 200 years. As I walk around my warehouse, I see George III ivory and silver tea caddies from the 1780s, ivory billiard and bagatelle balls from 1800-80, toilet sets with ivory handles from 1900, a few boxed sets of cutlery with ivory handles from the 1870s and finally, beautiful silver tea sets with ivory handles on the kettles and tea pots, from 1800-1900.

If what environment minister Michael Gove is proposing becomes law, none of the above could be sold in the trade and they will become valueless, useless and probably end up on the black market.

The horrible trade in modern ivory is being driven by the Chinese market and not by the UK antiques trade. The killing of elephants is a terrible thing and we do not condone it all.

However, how does destroying beautiful pieces entirely or partially made in ivory help the poaching crisis in Africa? The proposed legalisation is going to have a major negative impact on most of the UK antiques trade.

The creators of this proposal need to go back to the drawing board. Otherwise the UK, an art market world leader, will be pushed further down the ladder in its position as the place to buy and sell in a well-regulated market.

John Dixon

Georgian Antiques, Edinburgh

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Worthless inheritance

MADAM – I am an antiques collector, as my father was before me.

Among many treasured possessions is a hand-carved Chinese ivory chess set made in 1860. No one can say whether this chess set uses ivory taken from an elephant that was already dead from disease, predation or old age.

First, I cannot see how one elephant alive today will be saved by me not being able to sell this chess set.

And secondly, I bought the chess set at auction in the 1980s, paying the buyer’s premium and the appropriate VAT. As the government collected tax from me for something they now deem illegal, should I expect this to be repaid to me? I don’t think so.

When the ban comes into force, any objects with ivory in my collection will have no commercial value for my children.

For these reasons I will not vote for any political party that bans the sale of antique works of art that are made of or contain ivory.

An antiques enthusiast with a conscience (Name supplied)