Editorial and News
Regarding New Ivory Regulations
(Updated Dec. 6, 2016)
New regulations have been issued by the Department of Fish & Wildlife which set new restrictions on the sale of items containing ivory. These restrictions went into effect July 7, 2016. With regard to cue sales, they have minimal effect. They are primarily aimed at two things: 1) restricting the sale of raw ivory or objects which are virtually all ivory, such as tusks, large scrimshawed pieces, etc., and 2) preventing new items from being constructing using ivory by virtue of limiting interstate sales.
Any cue made prior to July 7 from legally imported ivory (ALL of the ones featured on this website!) can still be sold from state to state, unless one of the particular states has its own restrictions. Any cue made from legal ivory (pre-ban or legally imported under CITES agreement regulating import), that contains less than 50% of its weight in ivory, has less than 50% of its value in ivory, and is an integral part of the cue (not easily removable), meets what is called the "De Minimis" exemption, and can still be legally sold and transported, now and on into the future. This means virtually any cue ever made.
This is good news for collectors, because there has been a good deal of speculation as to what the new regulations might do or say. A great many of us involved in cues have send a lot of letters and email to legislators and DFW, contributed money, and even testified to legislators and directly to DWF, in an effort to help them understand that building cues using ivory brought into this country a hundred years ago, or that is coming into the country under the existing legal agreements which, in effect, are SAVING elephants, does no harm. We have worked hard in conjunction with scrimshanders, antique dealers, gun and knife collectors, and musical instrument owners and makers. Even the NRA got into the fight. For the most part, we have been successful. However, in the end, the cuemakers themselves are the ones most effected within the cue industry.
As of July 7, cuemakers were no longer allowed to make cues with ivory and sell them outside their own state. This is a change, and many of the cuemakers I have talked to have ceased building cues with ivory, except by special order. How this effects the value of existing ivory cues is yet to be determined, and at this point, a matter of opinion. I believe the value of ivory cues will go up. If they are no longer being made, the demand will quickly exceed the supply. That's good for collectors and players who already own these cues. If you own a cue with ivory, I think you can expect it will increase in value as this plays out. Recollection Cues is in the process of re-assessing the prices of all cues in our inventory, and may soon be making adjustments resulting in price increases.
All in all, I think this is a "plus" for the cue industry. Now that the new regs have been published, the uncertainty that has surrounded this issue for several years has been removed. And, existing cues containing ivory will go up in value. As to future new cues, cuemakers are already beginning to use new and different materials and techniques to insure that future cues will be as beautiful as ever. I think we can look forward to a thriving future for the cue industry.
UPDATE, DEC.6, 2016
With the election of Donald Trump, we have had good feedback from his transition team that they are going to be very favorable to either overturning the most recently passed regulations, or supporting legislation which will supercede such regulations and institute new law that will make more sense, i.e., not prohibiting the sale and use of materials that were legally obtained and used, but focusing on the real problem - the import of illegal ivory.