Auctioneers you buy items from are expected to ensure everything they sell abides by all current regulations such as those governing the trade of goods made from endangered species, including those featuring ivory.
Your auctioneer should be familiar with the EU regulations derived from CITES (the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, 1975) and other similar UK regulations
'Worked' antiques, however, can have an exemption from the controls. This is known as the antiques derogation. This states that an item shall be exempt from normal sales controls if it was acquired before March 1947 and has been "significantly altered from its natural raw state for jewellery, adornment, art, utility or musical instrument" before that date. Most taxidermy qualifies under the derogation too.
Furthermore, due to changes in regulation, many more items now require licences (a so-called Article 10 certificate) from the Wildlife Licensing & Registration Service before they can be sold. Check in the auctioneer’s catalogue description for mention of an Article 10 certificate or contact them directly if you think it may be missing on an item you are interested in
You can look up the EU species lists at: https://gov.uk/guidance/cites-imports-and-exports
The UK's stricter measures governing the sale of 'unworked' elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn and tiger parts mean that the sale of some of these items has effectively been banned.
You may want to consider using auctioneers that are members of professional trade associations such as SoFAA and NAVA PropertyMark. These bodies will expect their members to adhere to high standards of conduct including abiding by CITES regulations. Members will also be expected to keep up to date with any changes in regulations or their interpretation
We don’t condone any form of intentional trade of objects containing animal parts and products that contravenes CITES regulations. We carry out a spot check each week across our site and, where we find them, highlight any potential issues to the auctioneer. We also promise to act swiftly on any evidence of illegal trading in animal products on our site.
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