Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ivory Ban and You: Update July 2014

As I mentioned in my last blog post regarding the United States Ivory Ban, additional information is now available.

A bill, S.2587, amending the The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was introduced in the Senate on July 10, 2014.  You can read the short amendment text at S.2587.

What this offers is protection for lawfully purchased or inherited antiques or other items containing ivory that were acquired before 1976.  Stay tuned for an update on the status of this bill.

Interestingly, during my visit to Prague last week it became evident why US citizens purchasing antiques abroad must understand this law and its application.  While helping a friend in her hunt for antique opera glasses, we came across a gorgeous pair in an Old Town shop.  The dealer was explaining the construction of glasses, including an in depth description of the particular quality of the ivory case.  Of course, this dealer had no idea about the ban.  Why would he?  He was shocked that a customer could potentially be in violation of US law by purchasing and returning to the United States with this particular antique.  As a consumer, imagine being caught at customs and having the purchase confiscated, losing not only the opera glasses, but the purchase price and being at financial risk for a fine.  Clearly, the public will need education as the law evolves into implementation.

That being said, I do think Prague is an exciting place to look and shop for antiques, from art nouveau to Czech cubism and art deco.  As always, buyer beware and be educated.

More updates to come on the ivory ban.  If you need to consult with an independent and qualified personal property and antiques appraiser based in Europe, please be in touch.

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