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While I have found the process of exempting ivory works of art with ‘historical value’ straightforward so far (a snip at £240 per application), I am interested to know the trade’s thoughts on the issue of antique works of art with less than 10% ivory volume.

I have an inlaid box where I believe the ivory content is less than 10% and have measured the inlay to come to this conclusion but I am of course not 100% positive. I asked the people at DEFRA who were of no help whatsoever, stating it was ‘up to me’ to work it out.

As it stands, if I declare an object as having less than 10% ivory, sell it and then someone else states it has 11% ivory content, for example, I would lose the sale and might well find myself in hot water with DEFRA also.

I have asked DEFRA if there is a professional body/agreed procedure to quantify ivory content, but an answer there came none…

William Edwards

Simon Ray, Indian & Islamic Works of Art

King Street, St James’s, London