On February 2 two members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Madeleine Dean and Tarah Toohil, announced that they would soon introduce legislation “prohibiting the import, sale, purchase, barter or possession of ivory or rhinoceros horn.”
When the text of the proposed law was published on February 23, it included an exemption for antiques. The new law will not apply to antiques or musical instruments, or in other narrowly defined circumstances. Antiques are defined as “an object that contains ivory or rhinoceros horn weighing less than 200 grams; and is documented by the owner or seller to be not less than 100 years old.” Ivory is a “tooth or tusk composed of ivory from any animal, including, but not limited to, an elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, narwhal, walrus or whale, or a piece thereof, including raw ivory or worked ivory made into an ivory product.”
If the law is passed, violators convicted of a first offense would be fined “not less than $1000.” A second or subsequent offense would result in “a fine of not less than $5000 or an amount equal to two times the total value of the ivory, ivory products, rhinoceros horn or rhinoceros horn products, whichever is greater.” The proposed law was referred on February 23 to the Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony on February 24.
Originally published in the April 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest