Japanese Ivory

Ivory Policy

Sworders abhor and condemn the poaching of all species, especially African elephants and the wanton destruction of natural habitats.

The Ivory Act 2018 took effect on 6 June and prohibits the dealing, or sale, of elephant ivory in most cases. This means a person cannot buy, sell, or hire an item within the UK and also prohibits the import and export of ivory for the purpose of sale or hire.  

The Act has a significant effect on the value of these items, rendering them worthless, unless they fall into one of the exemptions, in which case, they will retain some market value. 

The categories for an exemption are:  

Standard exemptions 

  • Pre-1947 items containing less than 10% ivory by volume 
  • Pre-1975 musical instruments containing less than 20% ivory by volume 
  • Pre-1918 portrait miniatures with a surface area of no more than 320 cm² 

Sales to, and hire agreements with, qualifying museums 

Artistic cultural or historical exemption 

  • Pre-1918 items with outstanding artistic, cultural or historical value. 

All exempt items must be registered and those considered to be of museum quality and have artistic cultural or historical importance must also have an exemption certificate, in addition to the registration. The cost of registration is £28. The cost for an exemption certificate is £250, which includes registration of the item.  

If you would like to sell your ivory item, where it falls into one of the exemptions, we can register this for you. For more information, you can contact us at auctions@sworder.co.uk   

Information on how you can register or apply for an exemption certificate is available on the government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dealing-in-items-containing-ivory-or-made-of-ivory.