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Great House Antiques
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Category: Antiques
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Experience:  30+ years in all aspects of the Antiques and Decorative Arts Industry
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My father was stationed in Japan post-second world war;

Customer Question

My father was stationed in Japan post-second world war; 1951-1953. He purchased some pieces of carved ivory; I wonder what they are worth and if I can sell them?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Tim in Antiques replied 7 months ago.

Good day my name is*****

I am a Certified IRS Qualified Fine and Decorative Art Appraiser. It will be a pleasure to put my expertise, libraries, resources, and experience in the field to work for you.

It would help if I can see images of the carvings. One of the whole carving plus one of any markings.

Here are instructions on how to send photos to this site. Go to:

Or you can email them to***@******.*** attention Timothy in antiques.

If the items are elephant ivory there are current US laws that have to be considered.

African Elephant Ivory


It is illegal to import any item containing African-elephant ivory for commercial purposes.

However, some items containing African-elephant ivory — including musical instruments and items in an inheritance or a household move — may be imported for non-commercial purposes, but ONLY IF:

  1. The item is accompanied by a document from the exporting country attesting that it was acquired before 1976 (by the current or previous owner);
  2. It has not been bought or sold since February 25, 2014. Once in the United States, these items cannot subsequently be bought or sold.

Sale & Export

Items consisting of African-elephant ivory that are already in the United States can be sold within the country or exported only if they are accompanied by documentation attesting either that:

  1. The ivory was harvested prior to 1976; OR
  2. It was imported prior to 1976, before relevant CITES regulations had been enacted.

Asian Elephant Ivory

Import, Export, Sale Across State Lines

An item Asian-elephant ivory can be imported, exported, and sold across state lines ONLY IF it meets all of these criteria:

  1. It has not been repaired or modified with ivory or any other part of a federally protected species (as defined by the Endangered Species Act) since 1973;
  2. It is at least 100 years old;
  3. It was EITHER imported prior to 1982; or after 1982 through one of 13 ports specifically designated for antiques; OR the item was manufactured in the United States from legally imported ivory.

Sale Within States

An antique containing Asian-elephant ivory can be sold within a state ONLY IF it is accompanied by documentation from CITES certifying that it was imported prior to 1975.

The information on this page is current as of July 7, 2014.

Related Resources

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Endangered Species Act Overview

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I will get a photograph made and sent tomorrow. My father was stationed at Hanada Air Force Base, near Tokyo, in the early and mid-1950's. My parents owned them until they died; my father died in 2013 and I have had the pieces since then. There is no documentation of their purchase, I do not know how old they are. I will send a photo . . .
Expert:  Tim in Antiques replied 7 months ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** is possible take the photographs in natural light. Are there any markings on them? The carver sometimes sign their work.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
They are signed. I will make sure to include the markings in the photograph . . .
Expert:  Tim in Antiques replied 7 months ago.

I look forward to seeing them.

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