Policy on the sale of Elephant Ivory & Rhinoceros Horn

Abbeys Auctions is pleased to present our clear policy position on the sale of Elephant Ivory and Rhinoceros horn.
We appreciate that a concerted effort amongst Auction Houses and reputable Antique dealers is required to significantly disrupt the illegal importation and trade in Ivory and Rhinoceros horn products.

Our intent is to support the disruption of this trade by refusing to provide an outlet for the sale of these products.  We also firmly believe that this position is in keeping with the expectations of our clients and community stakeholders.

Effective from 1st June 2018, Abbeys Auctions will not sell
unworked elephant ivory or rhinoceros horns, or any items made substantially from worked elephant ivory or rhinoceros horn. 

The directors of Abbeys Auctions have carefully considered the practicalities of this policy and we appreciate that in some situations, very small amounts of ivory are present in older or antique items.  In these instances, our policy is to adopt the “De Minimus” principle when determining whether to sell such items at auction.

The “De Minimus” principle allows for discretion in situations considered to be a minor or incidental use of ivory, not a primary use.  Our view is that a product with very small amounts of ivory present as a decorative feature AND clear provenance that dates it’s manufacture as prior to 1972, may be offered at auction when we are confident that the ivory is not the primary reason for the value or desirability of the item.  An example of this is an antique piano with ivory keys.  The ivory in this situation is not the primary reason why a person would wish to purchase an antique piano and as such is considered to be an incidental use.

Abbeys Auctions has operated in Melbourne since 1969 and as we approach our 50th year of business we are pleased to affirm our support for the protection of rare and endangered species across our planet.


Hugh Farrelly                          Amanda Brook
Managing Director                  Director