Is Ivory legal to Sell?
Vintage and antique dealers come across things either made from ivory or with ivory incorporated into the design.
Is it legal to sell Ivory in the United States as an antique or vintage dealer? I'm not a lawyer and this isn't legal advice. Below is some of the information I gathered on the subject and it looks complicated.
Online?-- Good luck, but, see Ebay's policy below.
At a market or show? Depends on your state. 22 states have banned or introduced legislature banning all sales of Ivory. Including Illinois. Currently it is completely illegal in New York and New Jersey.
You might be able to sell what you have, maybe, depending on the situation.
The bad news is, the burden of proof is on you and if you are wrong you can face penalties.
The laws and regulations on Ivory change frequently. You need to stay up to date. There are even different laws for African or Asian Ivory. You have to be able to prove how you acquired it and when, and your word isn't proof enough. You need an ESA exemption. In the links below, you can find all sorts of situations regarding ownership of ivory. Some things are very easy to prove, others are not.
The Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species govern the trade of Ivory.
Long story short. According to FWS.org you may be able to sell your lawfully imported pre 1990 African Ivory or pre 1975 Asian Ivory if you have the following AND it's legal in your state.
- A dated photograph of the item.
- A dated letter or other document/evidence referring to the item.
- A CITES pre-convention certificate, this is for importers/exporters.
You must be prepared to produce your documentation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Again read carefully, I
How does the U.S. exporter or seller within the United States document that their article meets the ESA exception for antiques?
According to FWS.org, the burden of proof is on the exporter or seller to show that the antique article meets the criteria under the ESA exception. Notarized statements or affidavits by the exporter or seller or a CITES pre-Convention certificate alone are not necessarily adequate proof that the article meets the ESA exception.
Bottom line: This is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer. Whether you sell it or not is completely up to you based on your situation. Here are links to some relevant laws. Research carefully and make your own decisions based on it.
- Ivory Ban Q&A
- ESA Antiques Exemption
- How to use the ESA Antiques Exemption
- Antiques Roadshow and Ivory Law
- Ebay's Ivory policy
Is Ivory Legal to sell?