Ivory: trade plays a waiting game

“I would say in the short term it hasn’t put buyers off but I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know what the future will hold.” Auctioneer Henry Meadows’ take on the forthcoming ivory ban will be shared by many a regional auctioneer in the wake of summer sales.

He was speaking after taking the Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) sale in South Cerney, near Cirencester on July 19 where one of the better sellers was a 17th-18th century ivory Buddha. Carved in the Shan States of Burma with the young Buddha seated on a pedestal decorated with three elephants, the 5.5in (14cm) figure had considerable age and a sound provenance. But would it be judged to be of ‘outstandingly high artistic, cultural or historical value’ – the subjective criterion ...