Thank for let me joining your society. I allow me to send you a list of some
nice ivory carvings and attach two pictures of a beautiful carved ivory Spanish
gentleman (about 23 cm). This list is in German, I prepared it for German clients.
The price is indicated below the picture with PREIS. If you
like to get more information about this objects or you know somebody who could
be interested into, I will see to organize all with all documents from Europe
especially the CITES documents. Florian
Bertolini Antiquitätenhändler für Elfenbein firstname.lastname@example.org
IVORY THIEF HACKS OFF TUSK
FROM LOUIS XIV's ELEPHANT IN CHAINSAW ATTACK AT PARIS MUSEUM:
of an elephant that belonged to Louis XIV has been attacked by a man with a
chainsaw who hacked off its left tusk.
A 20-year-old man was caught carrying the tusk over his shoulder after
escaping over a wall from the Museum
of Natural History in Paris on Friday night. He
was taken to hospital with a fractured ankle and was being questioned by
Police found the chainsaw still whirring inside the museum, left behind by
the thief. It is not known if he planned to sell the 6.5lb tusk, but he told
detectives he was interested in its valuable ivory and did not attack because
he wanted to vandalize the museum.
The target of the attack, an African elephant skeleton, was given to the
Sun King by Portugal's
king in 1668. It lived in the zoo at the Palace of Versailles
for 13 years until its death, when its skeleton became part of the natural
The tusks of the skeleton were added in the 19th century but are still
historically and scientifically valuable.
The museum opened as usual on Saturday but the damaged skeleton was covered
in plastic wrapping while repair work began. Museum restorer Jacques Cuisin
told the Daily Telegraph: 'The skull is in excellent condition, which means
repairing it will be quite easy.'
ELEPHANT PHOTO: AMAZING!!!
COMMENTS: IIS member
HARVEY SILK sent in these comments regarding
the ivories offered at Albert Levy’s auction.
In Sweden , It is
possible to see every week three different major antique roadshows on
television. The Swedish, the English, and the American. Not only do you see the
national influences in the English and Swedish styles, but there are tremendous
differences in the estimated values. The antique dealers are quick to use such
interesting terms as: insurance value, price and a major gallery, replacement
cost, and so on....
At the same time there are some American television
shows about major pawnbrokers. Again there appeared appears to be huge
differences between the estimated value and the price that the pawnbroker
As a relatively informed collector, there are some ideas about
prices and availability of exceptional pieces. The situation in Europe is very
difficult because of the extreme aggressiveness of the civil servants charged
with protecting wildlife and the CITIS treaties. Many auction houses absolutely
refused to touch anything made out of natural materials.....
It is almost
impossible to find a piece of Intuit walrus carving, narwhal, horn, Marine
ivory, or elephant ivory at an auction or antique fair.
forward of the auction company offering a major collection of large, undated,
quality European pieces was amazing. Practically inconceivable.
Any one of the items deserved a colored picture on the front page of the
auction catalog. Two of these items in one sale, would cause a European
auctioneer to describe the sale as a major auction of important ivory pieces. To
have so many important pieces in one collection is quite amazing. Respect to the
individual to put this collection together.
That the auctioneer expects
as a minimum bid a quarter of $1 million for the collection, it is difficult to
understand why he didn't break it up into individual lots...
It used to
be that I was kept awake at night questioning the differences between antiques
in various countries. Now, the question is going to be "just how many collectors
are walking around with at least $250,000 plus commission" looking for a
Thank you for the vivid and graphic explanation about the
life of the ivory collector in America . That one page in the auction catalog
did assist in understanding your report about the recent antique show with
pieces in the $45,000 price range.
Many thanks for showing us how the
other half actually lives.
EDITORS NOTE: I went to this auction on March
30th. The ivories were every bit as spectacular as advertised. Sold
as a group of 11, the bidding started at $300,000 and closed at $400,000 plus
20% buyer’s premium. I didn’t feel that the buyer overpaid, I thought it
reasonable for anyone with this amount of money to spend on ivories. Other
ivories that sold included two Japanese groupings $3,000 each; a pair of
polychrome wrist rests at $3,000; a pair of Chinese polychrome 10” figures at
$6,500; and a Chinese pierced flower basket at $3,750.
ANOTHER KIND OF
POACHING: A man broke into the Paris
natural history museum early Saturday and used a chainsaw to hack off the tusk
of an elephant that belonged to King Louis XIV of France , officials said.
Police arrested the man in a nearby street as he was making his escape
and recovered the three-kilogram (seven-pound) tusk, museum workers said.
The elephant whose skeleton is preserved in the popular museum was given
as a gift in 1668 by the king of Portugal to Louis XIV, who was also known as
the Sun King.
The animal's tusks are not the original ones but were
added to the skeleton in the 19th century.
Police made no immediate
comment about why the man tried to steal the tusk but the incident comes amid a
series of thefts in recent years of ivory from European museums and zoos.
The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has
been outlawed since 1989 after elephant populations in Africa dropped from
millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.
Yet poachers continue to slaughter elephants to lay their hands on their
precious ivory and the illegal trade in the white gold continues to boom.
Thanks to Bobby
Mann for sharing this information.
WHALE OF A
FIND: A New Hampshire fisherman
has discovered whale vertebrae, porpoise skulls and an old fuel tank that he
thought was a treasure chest. Now, he may have hit the big time: a possible
mammoth tooth. Mike Anderson of Rye was fishing
for scallops near Rye
Harbor on Tuesday when he winched up the dredge he trawls
behind his boat and noticed a 6-inch, triangular object amid the scallop shells
and rocks. "We knew right off it was a tooth because it has a nerve at the
top," he told the Portsmouth Herald
Will Clyde, a University of New Hampshire associate professor of geology, said it may be a
fossilized mammoth tooth. He said mammoth and mastodon bones have been dragged
up before in nearby waters, although they're more commonly found in the western
and southern parts of the country. He wants to take a closer look, he told Anderson's co-worker, Shane
Nichols, in an email. But closer examination will have to wait. Clyde is in Argentina
on sabbatical until June.
Anderson said he pulled the odd object
from a depth of about 120 feet about eight miles south of the harbor. He said
it was the weirdest thing he has ever snared, although previous finds include
whale vertebrae and porpoise skulls. He also has found the body of a drowned
said he would really like to find a tusk next.
PRIME MINISTER PROMISES TO END THAILAND’S IVORY TRADE: Thanks to IIS member GODFREY HARRIS for bringing this to our
The prime minister of Thailand
pledged Sunday to end the nation’s ivory trade, responding to growing calls
from international wildlife groups desperate to stop the slaughter of African
elephants. In a speech at the opening of the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species conference in Bangkok, the prime minister, Yingluck
Shinawatra, promised to amend the kingdom’s laws, which critics say include
loopholes that have allowed smugglers to ferry African tusks to Thai markets
and onward, often to China, the world’s top destination for
illegal ivory. Thailand
is believed to be the second-biggest market for illicit elephant tusks.
“We will work towards amending the national legislation with the goal of
putting an end to ivory trade and to be in line with international norms,” Ms.
Yingluck said. “This will help protect all forms of elephants, including Thailand’s wild and domestic elephants and those
The announcement, which pleased environmentalists, places additional
pressure on China
to halt its legal ivory trade, a thriving industry that experts say has helped
fuel the highest rate of African elephant poaching in decades.
Since the beginning of 2012, conservationists say, more than 32,000
elephants have been killed by poachers. Although some of the ivory ends up in Thailand, much of it is smuggled to China,
where it is carved into the figurines, chopsticks and other trinkets coveted by
that country’s newly affluent consumers. Animal rights groups have accused the
Chinese government of failing to stem the surge in illegal ivory, a charge that
Changing Thai law, which currently violates international rules set by the
convention, would also remove the threat of trade sanctions against Thailand
that have been sought by conservation groups.
Ms. Yingluck did not give a timeline for amending the legislation, a point
of concern for conservationists, who note that Thailand has been promising to
change its laws for several years, to little effect.
“I’m not opening the Champagne
yet,” said Mary Rice, executive director of the independent Environmental
Investigation Agency. Ms. Rice, who is attending the conference, also
criticized the ambiguity of Ms. Yingluck’s promise, which did little to clarify
whether the proposed ban would halt both international trade and domestic
Thai law currently allows for the sale of ivory from domesticated local
elephants, one of the loopholes that critics say has given smugglers ample
legal cover for laundering poached African ivory into Thailand and beyond.
Before the conference, conservation groups, including the World Wildlife
Fund and the trade monitoring agency Traffic, urged the convention to punish Thailand, along with Nigeria and the Democratic Republic
of Congo, for not doing enough to stem illegal ivory trading.
But other groups cited the absence of China
from this list as proof that politics had contaminated efforts to save Africa’s herds. “The whole issue of what’s happening in China
is the elephant in the room,” Ms. Rice said.
ELEPHANTS HAVE A SPECIFIC SOUND FOR
WARNING EACH OTHETR ABOUT BEES: Thanks to Mary Loose DeViney
for sharing this information.
African elephants are so afraid of
bees that they use a specific, rumbling sound to warn each other about them.
Researchers found that they'll make the sound even in response to a recording of
bees, and that other elephants react to the warning rumble even if they don't
hear any bees. Scientists aren't sure if the sound is used to warn against other
threats as well. Elephants also have sounds associated with greeting each other,
telling each other it's time to move to a different place, and indicating
that they're ready to mate.
UGANDSA- ASIAN RELIGIONS RESPONSIBLE FOR AFRICAN ELEPHANT MASSACRES:
The massacre of African elephants
that have been going on in Africa for decades and have escalated to record
levels over the last 30 years have been linked to religious practices on the
This alarming rate, according to
the Society for Conservation Biology--a global community of conservation
professionals-- can be traced to the demand for ivory for religious artifacts,
trinkets, and other purposes in Asia , which, if unchecked, could reduce the
African elephant to small isolated populations, some of which will disappear
altogether over the next two to three decades.
However, in addition to the
ethical concerns raised by the possible extinction of elephant populations or
species, the ivory trade is associated with considerable bloodshed for humans as
well as elephants.
According to a statement
released by the Society for Conservation Biology on Jan.24, the market demand
for elephant ivory is very big in The Philippines, Thailand and China
Estimates show that more than
25,000 elephants are poached annually in the African continent mostly coming
from Central Africa --a region rife with violence some time resulting from the
For many Filipino Catholics, the
use of ivory is believed to reflect one's level of adoration of and piety to God
and although fiberglass and wood are substitutable materials, ivory is most
preferred because the monetary investment in a statue is considered a measure of
In Thailand , Malaysia and
Singapore , a parallel belief is held among Budhist followers regarding the use
of ivory-crafted amulets blessed by Budhist monks. The use of these amulets is
believed to bring luck and protection against black magic.
In China , ivory statues are
seen as a financial investment since ivory is considered a more precious
material than gold.
Ivory is also channeled into
Last year, there was a seizure
of more than US$ 2m worth of illicit ivory items. The ivory which finds its way
into the US market is used to make small jewellery, animal statues and carved
tusks, although Asia takes a larger share of the demand for ivory.
But the key concern for the
Society for Conservation Biology is that elephants are not the only casualties
from illegal ivory trade.
In conflict zones where
anti-poaching campaigns are launched, especially in Central Africa , hundreds of
people have been killed as a result of fighting between poachers and park
Ivory has been reported to be
financing local conflicts, and could be financing international terrorism groups
like that Al Qaeda, and Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.
The conservation NGO is
encouraging religious leaders in these Asian countries to issue public
statements on the severity of the ivory trade and the direct and negative impact
that the religious use of ivory has on elephant populations and local
communities and where appropriate on the relevant teachings of the religious,
such as teachings concerning practicing stewardship of creation.
NEW TV DOCUMENTARY:
I watched a new
program on my local Public Service Channel. It was entitled BATTLE FOR THE
ELEPHANTS. If you can locate it in your area, I highly recommend its
There are two reporters, one in Africa and one
in China , looking at the impact of the new insatiable appetite in China for
ivory carvings and its effect on the elephant population. Much is
similar to the work being done by IIS members Esmond Martin and Daniel
For me the most interesting part was seeing the
newly carved Chinese ivories (masterworks) and learning that 84% of Chinese
polled expected to purchase ivory in the future. Prices for the better carvings
were in the $100,000- $1,000,000 range. One collector interviewed expressed the
thought that the elephants die happy, knowing that their tusks will be made into
The future is not bright if this
THE FINAL ANTIQUE SHOW OF THE WINTER
SEASOIN: The 4th and
final show in South Florida that I was able to
attend, was the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art, and Antique Show. High end with emphasis on jewelry and
paintings, not a lot of ivory, and what there was to be seen was of excellent
quality, but expensive.
is a very large Oliphant at $75,000 from PETER FINER of London, England.
here are three tankards from M.S. Rau Antiques of New Orleans, LA. The two
larger are in the $35,000-$38,000 range.
finally, a sampling of ivories by IIS member Albert Levy.
NOAH’S FIRST ATTEMPT-
O. Byrne, Consultant Architectural
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE: From the ConservationDiscussionList I learned that you as president of the International Ivory Society might be able to help with identifying ivory.
Here at Moesgaard Muesum we have been excavating in the Arabian Gulf since the 50-ties and have thus build up a substantial study collection. And still material is emerging for further studies and final publication. A considerable amount of very crumbly 2. millennium ivory from Kuwait/Failaka has been handed over to me to try to find out about the provenance and the mother-animal of the ivory. If it is African or Indian and if we should be able to narrow the provenance?
The Retzius/Schreger-lines are clear enough. They seem to be steep indicating elefant.
Ashley Coutu from ZooMS in York has kindly tested a sample and concluded, that the material does not contain enough collagene for the ZooMS-methods to extract sufficient information.
Do you know other methods and can I ask you about your opinion about the low-tech “by-eye”-investigation of the Retzius/Schreger-lines in the ivory? Do the angels between the lines give an indication? And is it verified, that the lines tend to be absent in Indian tusk? Not good enough? Not even indicative?
For other purposes, you might like to let material in question test at the ZooMS lab at York :http://www.zoo-ms.com/
ONE MEMBER’S ANSWER: I am in Iraq right now teaching ivory identification and preservation, so your questions are timely. The ancient Nimrud ivories here tend to be African elephant, but there is some debate about where the elephants were from. Most say Syria . From the sizes of the ivories and the appearance, the elephants were likely smaller in size than the modern African bush elephant.
There are also some references in the literature to "buried" ivory being used in ancient times which may refer to mammoth. As you know, Shreger lines can be found on elephant and mammoth. The angles for the Shreger lines on the mammoth are acute (less than 90 degrees) both near the center and at the outer edge, while the angles for elephant are obtuse near the edge, but can be much narrower near the center. Without the presence of the outer edge, elephant can sometimes be mistaken for mammoth.
As far as determining whether ivory is African or Asian, Bob is correct that African ivory was imported into Asia, but I am not certain whether this occurred in ancient times. I read somewhere that Asian ivory may have been used in ancient times in the Middle East . Tusks of Asian elephants are considerable smaller than African. Many say that Asian elephant ivory is whiter and denser, but I think this can be arbitrary. DNA testing is supposed to be reliable in separating Asian and African elephant. Some work was done with Raman analysis that was reported to be successful, but I know others who have tried with Raman and have not produced good results. There have been some studies of isotopes likely to be present in tusks of elephants that feed mainly on grass versus foliage, but I don't know any details about this. If you are trying to date the ivory, C14 has been used, but you need enough uncontaminated collagen to get results, and that is often a problem with ancient ivory that has been buried or under water.
I don't know whether any of this helps you. Provenancing ivory is a difficult task. I would be very interested in knowing more about the ivory you are working with. Do you have any images or publications on the ivories. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.
Terry Drayman-Weisser Walters Art Museum
THE ART GALLERY OF TORONTO : The works in this collecting area have traditionally represented a survey of European art from the Italian Renaissance to the mid-1900s. More than 1,000 works of art from the Thomson Collection have bolstered the core strength of the European holdings, adding mostly small-scale sculpture dating from the Middle Ages to the 1700s. While the centrepiece of the Thomson Collection is Peter Paul Rubens’s monumental Flemish Baroque painting Massacre of the Innocents (c. 1611–1612), the works that most typified Kenneth Thomson’s collecting interests were diminutive, precious and made from natural materials such as ivory and boxwood.
Among the objects that comprise the Thomson Collection are sacred Medieval enamel and ivory works, Medieval and Renaissance devotional diptychs and secular ivory and boxwood utilitarian objects, Renaissance rosaries and prayer beads; Baroque secular boxwood and ivory sculptures, goldsmith works from the 1300s to the 1600s, and painted and carved portrait miniatures. Other prominent additions from the Thomson Collection include diminutive Egyptian antiquities, small-scale Greek and Roman antiquities, Asian works of art, Chinese snuff bottles dating back to the 1730s, Japanese wood and ivory netsuke and ojime carvings, and some Japanese lacquered objects from the early 1900s.
Correctly identifying and distinguishing between different types of ivory (teeth, tusks, etc.) and ivory look-alikes has always been considered a complex, often even frustrating, issue for collectors and dealers alike. Fortunately, it can be taught and learned, given the right visual tools.
Bobby Mann has one of the largest collections of ivories put together for educational purposes: raw materials, sliced materials, carved objects, and fakes of all kinds, which are the highlights of this workshop. These hundreds of items have been the basis of his comprehensive Ivory Identification Workshops for more than ten years.
Now you too can learn to identify the different types of ivory and look-a-likes.
Bobby Mann's All Day Hands-On Ivory ID Workshop - Saturday May 11, 2013- Contact Bobby Mann for details
BYZANTINE IVORIES: The city of Constantinople was the foremost center of commerce and trade in Europe until the ascent of competitive centers on the Italian peninsula during the thirteenth century. The riches of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia poured into the city's warehouses, to be either sold or transformed by local artists into works of art. One of the most sought after products was ivory, the majority of which arrived via Egypt from sources in East Africa .
Some of the most emblematic objects for which ivory was employed during the Byzantine period were consular diptychs, pyxides, icons (either as single panels or configured into diptychs or triptychs), and finally caskets made for either secular or religious purposes. The Metropolitan Museum possesses an important collection of works that illustrate each of these genres of Byzantine courtly culture.
Consular diptychs consist of two plaques of ivory attached to one another by hinges, forming a booklike object. The exteriors were carved and inscribed; the interiors contained shallow recesses into which a thin layer of wax could be poured, upon which text could be inscribed with a stylus. The function of these diptychs was to announce an individual's nomination to the rank of consul. Although by the sixth century this position was merely symbolic, one of the consul's duties was to finance chariot races and other forms of lavish entertainment for the general public. At celebrations for Justinian's first assumption of the consulate, for example, the equivalent of 4,000 pounds of gold was spent for the animal displays and races alone. The consuls appealed to the masses through these diversions, acquiring popularity and thus building a base for the acquisition of political power.
The ceremonial presentation of consular diptychs was a custom inherited from Rome , and this tradition continued after the transfer of the capital of the empire to Constantinople under Constantine the Great in 324 A.D. The complexity of the design and the carving of consular diptychs were linked to the status of the person receiving the gift.
Pyxides, or covered boxes, were another type of object typically created from ivory, in this case the transverse sections of the elephant's tusk. The key to understanding the function of a pyxis hinges on the type of imagery carved in relief on its exterior. Pyxides bear scenes from both pagan mythology and Christian imagery. Examples with images of Christ healing the ill were probably used to conserve the Eucharistic elements. The use of examples with pagan imagery is not known, although such containers probably held personal objects such as cosmetics or jewelry
Although the supply of ivory arriving in Byzantium was constant between the fourth and the sixth centuries, there were fluctuations in its availability, and it seems to have been quite scarce between the seventh and ninth centuries. This dearth may have been caused by the Arab conquest of Byzantine territories in North Africa , Syria , and Palestine , which interrupted trade relations, or it may have been a consequence of the overhunting of elephants.
At approximately the same time as these setbacks occurred, the Byzantine empire was rocked by an internal religious controversy concerning the creation of religious imagery, in particular, icons. The rise of Islam and its ascent against Byzantium led to reflection as to whether the use of icons had caused God to chastise the empire with the loss of rich territories. The period between 711 and 843 saw the widespread destruction of various types of figural imagery; these were sometimes replaced with the only image deemed acceptable, the Cross. Only a fraction of the religious art created before this period of iconoclasm has survived at isolated outposts of the empire, such as the Monastery of Saint Catherine's on Mount Sinai .
However, the popularity of icons was so engrained in Byzantine society that it is no surprise that their use was eventually proclaimed valid and legal. The production of religious images in the medium of ivory reached a high point from the tenth to the eleventh century. Whether this revival of religious imagery created in luxury materials was a coincidence, or whether it constituted a strong affirmation of the legitimacy of creating images of Christ and his saints, cannot be answered. The popularity of ivory was abetted by the reestablishment of trade relations with the Islamic rulers of Egypt .
Ivory was not only employed for religious purposes. Boxes decorated with secular imagery were created for private use as well. In the Museum's collection, a casket with warriors and dancers (17.190.239), carved circa 1000–1100, is a notable example of a piece intended for such nonreligious purposes. Approximately 125 such caskets are extant in varying conditions, 50 with secular themes. These caskets represent the single most important type of Byzantine secular art to have survived.
Ivory plaques (17.190.44) were pre-produced in multiples; subsequently, the finished components were configured to produce the finished object. Ivory plaques and repetitive decorative passages, such as sequences of rosettes, which were carved from bone, were attached to a wooden core with pegs. The use of bone together with ivory is notable as this indicates that either supplies of ivory were limited, or that an attempt was being made to keep the prices of these luxury objects affordable.
During the last phase of the Byzantine state, spanning the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, the supply of ivory seems to have been extremely limited. The few carved examples that do survive are small; for example, a pxyis from the Dumbarton Oaks Collection dated 1403–4, with representations of royal figures, is only 1 3/16 inches high. The shortage of ivory forced artists to experiment with other materials for the production of luxury objects; icons were carved out of steatite, for example, or formed from mosaic. While Byzantium 's political fortunes were waning, ivory carving experienced a florescence in western Europe, particularly in the Île-de-France
Thanks to IIS member RICHARD BYRNE for submitting this information.
MEMBER REQUEST FOR ASSISTSANCE: IIS member GARY ECKSTINE says, “"I am interested in purchasing scrimshaw pieces by William Perry, Bill Gilkerson, A. Douglas Jacobs and Martin Bandy for my private scrimshaw collection. I am NOT a dealer. I am an attorney and I know the laws concerning endangered species parts. I am willing to travel as necessary to legally purchase pieces in INTRAstate commerce. I can be reached at email@example.com."”
LAGOS: AFRICA’S BIGGEST DOMESTIC IVORY MARKET: Lagos, is believed to be offering for sale the largest number and heaviest total weight of new ivory objects of any African city, where surveys have been undertaken to date. During an investigation by IIS member DESMOND MARETIN, some 14,349 ivory items were recorded on open display in 36 retail outlets.
Almost all ivory in Nigeria has been imported (and is exported) in contravention of CITES regulations, and most ivory items for retail sale are being offered for sale illegally, without the necessary permits from the Nigerian government. Nearl all were recently made.
The most common items offered for sale were jewelry, figurines, and chopsticks. Items offered are much cheaper in Lagos than in China.
PALM BEACH CONVENTION CENTER SHOWS: Following the 2 shows in Miami the City of Palm Beach offered two more antique shows. IIS member Albert Levy was represented at both shows. This show had the emphasis on jewelry and paintings, but there was ivory to be found.
These shows are higher end and featured art and antiques of the highest quality. And I reported once before, it is like walking through a museum where everything can be purchased. Just not by me, as a $3,000,000 Renoir oil painting is a little to much.
The first show was the AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FINE ART FAIR. Here is a photo of two ivories offered by Albert Levy.
These were offered by FERMA, a dealer from Barcelona, Spain.