Antiques Expert Witness Opines on Illegal Material Trading


Antiques Expert WitnessThis case involves the sale of an antique statue in Montana that was allegedly made from walrus ivory. At the time of the sale, the state in which the statue was sold had recently changed the laws banning the sale of ivory items to be inclusive of all forms of ivory. Prior to this change, it had been legal to sell walrus ivory, but not that from other animal sources, so many ivory items had been labeled as walrus in order to circumvent the ban. Nevertheless, at the time the item in question was sold, it was legal to transfer items made of walrus ivory. It was alleged that the defendant had been wrongly accused of selling an illegal item.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What type of testing is available for this type of examination?
  • 2. Have you ever performed this type of testing?

Expert Witness Response E-088209

I feel very confident that I could review the material in question and determine what type of ivory it is. Ivory identification and authentication is a specialty of mine, I have done it countless times. I feel very comfortable that I can take a look and opine as to whether it is walrus or some other kind of ivory. I am an expert certified appraiser, and am grounded in local, hands-on field work. I spend time in remote communities among social leaders and spiritual elders who maintain visceral connections with their cultural heritage. I share insight and experience with collectors and curators worldwide. My expertise in Asian art and antiques was formed in this living context and continues to be nurtured by it. My expertise also covers European; American; Siberian; Middle Eastern and Egyptian art and artifacts including military ephemera; and both vertebrate and invertebrate fossil remains. I am very familiar with similar cases, and the various federal crack downs on ivory selling.

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