China’s Ivory Auction Market

On 30 December 2016, the State Council issued the Notice of the General Office of the State Council on Orderly Stopping the Commercial Processing and Sale of Ivory and Ivory Products. e Notice stated the ban on commercial processing and trade of ivory in China will officially come into force on 31 December 2017 and allowed legally sourced antique ivory items, certified by a professional appraisal agency, to be auctioned under strict supervision once administrative approval has been obtained, in order to preserve cultural values. This implies that exempted ivory items should be both old (i. e. “antique”) and representative of China’s culture of ivory carving and means that the art auction market remains the only legitimate post-ban commercial outlet for ivory sales in China.

In order to better regulate the ivory auction market and prevent potential laundering of illegal ivory through auction, this study analysed existing laws and regulations related to auctions and historical ivory auction data on, and conducted an ivory auction market survey to reveal the latest trend and scale of China’s ivory auction market.

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