This fine Anglo-Indian Vizagapatam ivory workbox, from the early 19th century, modelled as a house with the hinged roof revealing a fitted interior measures just 19cm wide sold at Clevedon Salerooms November Quarterly Specialist Sale for £4,500.
After a lengthy government consultation on the trade in antique ivory, from spring 2019 the law will change making the sale of this item illegal in the UK. It will be legal to own such a piece, but you will not be able to sell it. There can be no-one who disagrees that the slaughter of elephants for their ivory is a disgrace and must be stopped now. The question as to whether preventing the sale of a 200-year-old antique item such as this will save the life of an elephant in the year 2019 has understandably strong views on both sides. Clevedon Salerooms have strict internal controls to ensure that any ivory they offer at auction complies fully with the current legislation and have recently assisted DEFRA in the design of the licensing website. There will be certain limited exemptions and Clevedon Salerooms valuers are well placed to advise clients in this area.
In the coming decade we must all hope that the change in the law has the desired effect on the plains of Africa. If it does, that will be reason enough to raise the roof.