FAQ Elephant Ivory

Fellow appraiser  Kirsten Smolensky, ISA CAPP forwarded to me a very good FAQ from the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Endangered Species Act on the commercial trade of elephant ivory. As the restrictions are rather onerous, as well as shifting the burden of age for the antiques exception to the seller.  There is also a section on appraisals and what constitutes a qualified and acceptable appraisal of ivory.

If you do any appraisal work with ivory, this is a good reference document.

Follow the source link below for the full FAQ from the US Fish and Wildlife Service
What does the Director’s Order do?
The Order instructs U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel to strictly enforce existing restrictions on the commercial trade of elephant ivory and on the import, export and sale of items made from other protected species under the “antiques exception” of the Endangered Species Act

What is the ESA antiques exception?
Under the ESA, the import, export and interstate sale (sale across state lines) of listed species or their parts is prohibited without an ESA permit except for items that qualify as “antique”.

To qualify as antique, the importer, exporter or seller must show that the item meets all of these criteria:
• It is 100 years or older;
• It is composed in whole or in part of an ESA-listed species;
• It has not been repaired or modified with any such species after December 27, 1973; and
• It is being or was imported through an endangered species “antique port.”

This strict enforcement of the ESA applies to items made from rhinoceros, sea turtle and any other ESA-protected species.

How does the U.S. exporter or seller within the United States document that their article meets the ESA exception for antiques?
The burden of proof is on the exporter or seller to show that the antique article was previously imported and met all of the criteria under the ESA exception. See Section 2 above for the requirements to import an article made from an ESA-listed species and the type of documentation that was required upon import. Notarized statements or affidavits by the exporter or seller, or a CITES pre-Convention certificate alone are not adequate proof that the article meets the ESA exception.

What will the Service accept as a qualified appraisal?
An appraisal submitted as documentary evidence of an article’s eligibility under the ESA antique exception must meet the following criteria:
• The person executing the appraisal either has earned an appraisal designation from a
recognized professional appraiser organization for demonstrated competency in
appraising the type of property being appraised or can demonstrates verifiable education and experience in assessing the type of property being appraised.
• The person executing the appraisal is not the importer, exporter, buyer, recipient or seller of the article; does not benefit from the results of the appraisal (other than for the cost of the appraisal); is not a party to any of the transactions associated with the article (including any person acting as an agent for the transaction); is not an employee of any
business that is a party to the transaction; and is not related to the person claiming the
• Facts we will examine in determining the reliability of the appraisal:
o A description of the article in sufficient detail for a person who is not generally
familiar with the type of article to determine that the appraisal is about the article
in question.
o The name and address of the qualified appraiser, or if the appraiser is a partner, an
employee, or an independent contractor engaged by a person other than the person
claiming the exception, the name and address of the partnership or the person who
employs or engages the appraiser.
o The qualifications of the appraiser who signs the appraisal, including the
background, experience, education, and any membership in professional appraiser
o The date on which the article was appraised.
o The scientific method in detail used to determine the age or species.
o Descriptive information on the article including but not limited to: the size of the
article; the medium; the artist or culture; approximate date the article was created;
and a professional quality image of the article.
o A detailed history of the article including proof of authenticity. o The facts on which the appraisal was based including analyses of similar works by the artist on or around the creation date.

Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service

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