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Lichfield auction house Richard Winterton collected the antiques containing ivory and has donated them to the initiative started by dealer Michael Baggott to ‘save’ objects that are at risk of being destroyed following the introduction of the Ivory Act.

Baggott is creating a register of the items donated and plans to publish the images of the collection online and create a catalogue.

House clearances

Richard Winterton said: “We do 10-15 house clearances a week and these are often properties of people who are downsizing or deceased.

“Such estates frequently include antique ivory – recent items have included a technical model c.1890-1900 and an aide memoire c.1880. Countless other items are older still. Rather than be destroyed, we think it much better that these objects are donated to the Antiques Rescue Centre.

“We handed over two boxes recently of ivory accumulated since January – some unwanted, some specifically donated by clients for the ARC.”

Baggott has now catalogued the donated items and said: “All these items would now be lost forever without the efforts of Richard and the ARC.”

Baggott added: “There’s a mix of items. Some that couldn’t be sold under the new Act under any circumstances, items that have been cautiously not offered by the auctioneer as he could not take the risk whether they are ivory or not (some are bone, some are a mixture of ivory and bone), while other items would have qualified under the de minimis exemption but the fee for this (£20) almost exceeds the value of the item.

“I’m well aware many people will say these items are all very commonplace with little artistic or historic merit. They are probably right, but they must also remember that at the moment thousands of such pieces are being discarded every week. In a decade’s time these few domestic pieces may very well be the only ones left. That’s why we’re doing this, that’s why it’s both urgent and important.”

Baggott hopes the items can be eventually stored with public access for educational purposes.

He added: “The ARC is happy to offer free advice to anyone via social media or email” to find out what is and isn’t legal and what is antique.

He encouraged other auctioneers to offer a donation box in salerooms and asks any specialists who “would like to help and would be happy to be consulted on donated items” to come forward.

Among the items donated via Richard Winterton Auctioneers were:

ARC has created a donation form that can be downloaded from ATG’s website.  Contact the ARC on social media or via email at: antiquesrescuecentre@btinternet.com