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Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Discussions and analysis of Elephant Ivory
warburg
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby warburg » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:08 am

Michael Strone attempted to get CITES for me. F&WL wanted documentation proving that the netsuke were over 100 years old, that they had not been modified or altered with materials from endangered species since December 1973, and that they had been imported (since they were Japanese) through a port that is designated for endangered species. Neil Holton had similar experiences. How many collectors who bought netsuke from British or American dealers or at auction can provide such documentation? It is almost impossible and intended to be so. The same restrictions will now apply to items in interstate commerce.

I do still have some ivory pieces I would like to sell, but I really don't mind keeping a few. I am only amazed that people on this forum don't seem to understand that legal netsuke collecting as we have known it is dead in the US for the foreseeable future, considering the classified structure of the Meinertzhagen Perplex. Of course there are other materials. One could collect only wood, or stag antler, or ceramic, or coral pieces, or one could specialize in Nagoya school or So school netsuke, but there are relatively few collectors who would be satisfied with this kind of adaptation. It also does not seem likely that American dealers in Japanese art can continue to sell netsuke or that INS conventions can be held in the US.

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souldeep
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby souldeep » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:59 am

warburg wrote:For the immediate future, legal netsuke collecting is dead in the United States.


In the same manner - you could say legal cane collecting is dead in the United States (for those that don't know Stan had a wonderful collection of Netsuke he recently sold off and now collects canes).

Ivory - not netsuke :D
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

warburg
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby warburg » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:22 pm

Actually, there is little similarity between netsuke collecting and antique cane (walking stick) collecting. Canes have no Meinertzhagen Perplex. The identity of carvers is almost always unknown. In the absence of identifying marks, where canes were made is hypothetical, and when they were made is conjectural. There is no incentive to collect canes made by any particular carver or school or of any subject. Cane handles are carved from a large variety of substances other than ivory: There is wood, silver, gold, bone, stag antler, jade, agate and many other stones, horn, coral, enamel, etc. An auction by a very prominent cane dealer scheduled for this month had no ivory canes. When the final ivory laws were promulgated last week, the dealer added 40 sword canes with ivory handles to the online catalogue in order to sell them before the deadline. While netsuke might also be made of any of these materials, ivory is dominant, and it would be very difficult, and in my view, not very enjoyable to form a netsuke collection without ivory.

There is, of course, some considerable loss for cane collectors under the new directives, and many, including myself, bought as many ivory-handled canes as was feasible before the laws were promulgated. I believe cane collectors were more realistic about the intentions of the Obama administration in regard to ivory. Cane dealers are, in my opinion, not willing to carry on a covert and illegal trade, and it's difficult for me to imagine how a covert and illegal collecting hobby could be enjoyable.

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AFNetsuke
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby AFNetsuke » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:41 pm

The majority of my netsuke are not ivory. I'll go on enjoying those I now own along with adding other materials in the same way cane collectors will. Why do you think we will have an illicit trade and cane collectors won't? It seems some of the most desired/frequently sold canes I've seen at general antique shows here were those with ivory handles.
Alan

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souldeep
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby souldeep » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:54 pm

warburg wrote:Cane dealers are, in my opinion, not willing to carry on a covert and illegal trade, and it's difficult for me to imagine how a covert and illegal collecting hobby could be enjoyable.

As far as I know Stan - all USA netsuke dealers are also working within the rules.
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

warburg
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby warburg » Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:28 pm

Well, as of July 6th, working within the rules will essentially mean not working. That is my point. Unless one has very specialized taste in netsuke–Nagoya or So School pieces, for example. It will not be feasible to legally continue collecting netsuke in the United States. I have been corresponding with people who suggest that collectors will more or less ignore the regulations and proceed on in a sub rosa manner. I've been a collector of something or other all my life because for me collecting is an unworldly diversion, a pleasurable escape from mundane reality. I can't imagine that carrying on a covert and illegal activity will be very relaxing.

Incidentally, I have not sold my entire netsuke collection and in the past few days have been approached by a couple of people understandably availing themselves of the circumstances to look for bargains. I realize that in a few weeks, my ivory netsuke will be monetarily worthless, and this is a considerable financial loss, but I would rather keep these netsuke than encourage exploitation.

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souldeep
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby souldeep » Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:42 pm

Stan - no doubt you'll remember back to discussions we had on early posts when the news was first announced Feb 2014. A number of members argued a ban would actually increase the value of Ivory. I argued the point - why would honest law abiding citizens continue to collect? You are an example of that. Ivory values will be effected negatively for this very reason.

All this being said - I do think any US collectors that have brought through the passions, rather than for investment, will continue to hold onto there ivory pieces and continue to collect netsuke in other materials.

Changing the flow of conversation somewhat, the following extract from the legislation has been brought to my attention. Doesn't really look like it makes antique ivory netsuke collectors illegal does it?

Antiques (as defined under section 10(h) of the ESA) are not subject to the provisions of this rule. Antiques containing or consisting of ivory may, therefore, be imported into or exported from the United States without a threatened species permit issued under § 17.32, provided the requirements of 50 CFR parts 13, 14, and 23 have been met.

Interstate and foreign commerce in African elephant ivory is prohibited by the final rule except for items that qualify as ESA antiques and certain manufactured or handcrafted items that contain a small (de minimis) amount of ivory and meet specific criteria.

And...

*To qualify for the ESA antiques exemption, an item must meet all of the following criteria [seller/importer/exporter must demonstrate]:
A. It is 100 years or older.
B. It is composed in whole or in part of an ESA-listed species;
C. It has not been repaired or modified with any such species after December 27, 1973; and
D. It is being or was imported through an endangered species “antique port.”
Under Director’s Order No. 210, as a matter of enforcement discretion, items imported prior to September 22, 1982, and items created in the United States and never imported must comply with elements A, B, and C above, but not element D.

We remain where we were, but great to see you back on the forum Stan :D
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

warburg
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby warburg » Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:45 pm

AFNetsuke wrote:The majority of my netsuke are not ivory. I'll go on enjoying those I now own along with adding other materials in the same way cane collectors will. Why do you think we will have an illicit trade and cane collectors won't? It seems some of the most desired/frequently sold canes I've seen at general antique shows here were those with ivory handles.


I didn't mean to suggest that there won't be illicit trade in canes. My point is simply that because cane collecting really has no structure–carvers, regions, schools– it's easier to collect canes with handles in other materials than ivory than it is to collect netsuke.

I agree that canes with ivory handles are often visually very appealing, especially to new collectors. That's why I have recently stocked up on them. However, they are no longer selling well. One of the most important cane dealers in the country (Gary Durow) told me that he did fabulously well at the recent Miami Beach antiques fair, but he didn't sell a single ivory cane.

Here's my most recent, nice huh?
Attachments
IMG_0032.jpg

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AFNetsuke
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby AFNetsuke » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:40 pm

Around 1933 the US government recalled all golf coins. Isn't it interesting that I own a number of those illegal coins today that are quite valuable? Sorry I'm off topic but so are ivory cane handles which you've been actively acquiring. In a worst case scenario I'll melt mine or use them for barter and you can lean on yours.
Alan

warburg
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Re: Elephant Ivory Legal Issues in the News

Postby warburg » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:29 pm

Golf coins? If you mean gold coins, there's nothing illegal about buying and selling them.


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