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Redundant ivory stop knobs and key facings - what are the legal options?

Robert Bowles

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I am nearing the end of a project to complete a 100 year old Hunter organ, using genuine Hunter material of appropriate scale etc.   Over the years I have accumulated a lot of material which either I had to take to get what else I wanted, or which turned out not to be quite the right thing.  The time has come to start disposing of that.  I have about 15 ivory stop knobs, and 2 x 61 note manuals with the white keys faced with ivory - both produced in Hunter's workshop about 100 years ago.  I acquired these  before the latest Ivory Legislation came into force.   I realise that I cannot sell them - but can I give them away - e.g. as thank-you presents to individuals who have helped this project to happen over the years?  I can't find anything on the internet about giving things away!!!     Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I should be looking?

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Agreed that information on this subject is both complex and difficult to track down, but section 8 of the Ivory Act 2018, as amended, actually says this:

8   Pre-1975 musical instruments

(1)   An item that has ivory in it is exempt from the prohibition if—

(a)the item is a pre-1975 musical instrument,

(b)the volume of ivory in the instrument is less than 20% of the total volume of the material of which the instrument is made, and

(c)the instrument is registered under section 10.

(2)   In this section “musical instrument”—

(a)does not include anything that, although capable of being played as a musical instrument, was not made primarily for that purpose;

(b)includes a bow, plectrum or other thing made for playing a musical instrument.

Accordingly an organ, as such, containing ivory keys and stop knobs, piston heads etc., as an entity can be exempt.  I would not care to speculate about individual components detached from the original instrument.  Feelings run high on this subject; Frank Fowler used to get abuse at HN&B years ago.  But the sting in the tail is section 10 - an extraordinarily convoluted procedure for registration of the item before any lawful dealing in it. 

Sorry, this probably is not much help, but useful to know that there are exemptions if the hurdles can be overcome, and accordingly relevant when buying or selling an organ rather than parts.

I seemed to overlook your primary question!  The Act prohibits ‘dealing’ in ivory.  ‘Dealing’ is defined and it does not extend to gifts, so that may provide the answer after all.



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