The recent US court indictment of Xiao Ju Guan, an antiques dealer in Richmond, B.C for trafficking ivory and other endangered wildlife items made me think about where the Canadian government stood on trade of antique pieces of ivory.
My research drew me into a myriad of conventions and bans that span over the last several decades. The export and trade of African and Asian elephant ivory is governed by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention) treaty which was started in 1963 and entered into force in summer of 1975. And it is really 1975 that we should consider as a cut-off date when determining if ivory is ‘pre-ban’ or not.
For some clarity I reached out to the Canadian Wildlife Services and was eventually able to speak with Lise Jubinville, Head of Permitting operations. “There are no hard and fast rules” when it comes to obtaining the proper permits for pre-ban ivory said Ms. Jubinville, “it’s more about building a credible case” via notarized letters documenting family history and receipts and or appraisals from qualified antique experts outlining their professional opinions with evidence and qualifiers to back them up.
There is still no paperwork required to sell antique ivory within Canada which makes things a little easier however if you are chasing after the bigger $$$ that international markets bring this may not be much consolation. And the recent clamp down of all trade of ivory (antique or otherwise) by the Obama administration closes out our closest and major trade market altogether.
Suffice to say that while it remains a grey area, there are some definite rules about how and where antique ivory can be transported and or sold. Ensuring it falls within the guidelines and has the proper documentation is important and something perhaps best handled by someone familiar with antiques and ivories.
At EstateNet we can assist you in selling your antique ivory as well as any other aspect of your antique or estate dispersal needs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.416.929.0708 for more information.