On reviewing comments, we found so many of you have questions regarding ivory, that we’re posting another blog on ivory that may answer a few questions and give links to pages where you can get more in-depth answers.
We’ll start by saying that in February, 2014 the laws regulating ivory changed – and not for the better. If anything they have made it more difficult for the average person to sell their items.
For our discussion, we’ve classified ivory into two categories: Antique and Personal. Obviously these can overlap. And since there really isn’t any way to simplify the law, we’re quoting it directly from the websites .
Clarify the Definition of “Antique”: We intend to incorporate the Endangered Species Act’s exemptions for commercial trade of 100-year-old antiques into regulations that re-affirm the criteria that must be met for an item to qualify as an antique.
UPDATE as of 5/15/14: The first step in this action was completed on February 25, 2014, with the issuance of Director’s Order 210.
On May 15, 2014, we revised Director’s Order 210 to allow the sale of certain 100-year-old items that were either created in the United States or imported prior to September 22, 1982—the date that antique ports were designated. Prior to this decision to allow enforcement discretion, items imported before September 22, 1982, would not be able to be sold. This is a common sense revision to allow for the sale of items that are 100 years old or older but could not have been imported through a designated antique port.
Is ownership and use of personally owned elephant ivory items affected?
Personal possession of legally acquired items containing elephant ivory will remain legal. Worked African elephant ivory imported for personal use as part of a household move or as an inheritance and worked African elephant ivory imported as part of a musical instrument or a traveling exhibition will continue to be allowed provided the worked ivory has not been transferred from one person to another person in pursuit of financial gain or profit after February 25, 2014, and the item is accompanied by a valid CITES document. The import of raw African elephant ivory, other than sport-hunted trophies, is prohibited. Import and export of Asian elephant ivory is allowed for non-commercial purposes either with an ESA permit or if the specimen qualifies as pre-ESA or as an antique under the ESA.
What is meant by the ESA antiques exception? The import, export and interstate sale (sale across state lines) of listed species or their parts is prohibited without an ESA permit except for items that qualify as “antique”.
How can African elephant ivory be imported for personal use? You may only import worked African elephant ivory for personal use as part of a household move or inheritance or as a musical instrument provided that the ivory was legally acquired before February 26, 1976; the ivory has not been transferred from one person to another person in pursuit of financial gain or profit after February 25, 2014; and the item is accompanied by a valid Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) pre-Convention certificate. Worked elephant ivory can also be imported as part of a sport-hunted trophy, if all other requirements for sport-hunted trophies are met.
To qualify as antique, the importer, exporter or seller must show that the item meets all of these criteria:
- It is 100 years or older;
- It is composed in whole or in part of an ESA-listed species;
- It has not been repaired or modified with any such species after December 27, 1973; and
- It is being or was imported through an endangered species “antique port.”