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Antique Shops Threaten to Flee New York Over Ivory Ban

Antique Shops Threaten to Flee New York Over Ivory Ban
Photograph by Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP via Getty Images

A New York State law imposing stricter rules on the sale of ivory and harsher penalties for violators has antique dealers threatening to move their businesses to friendlier states. Will they?

The law, signed by New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 12, is intended to halt the trade in illegal ivory that encourages poaching endangered species. It prohibits the sale of ivory that’s less than 100 years old and also bans the sale of antiques in which ivory makes up more than 20 percent of the total material used. Some violations carry felony charges. The law covers ivory from elephant tusks, extinct mammoths, and rhinoceros horns. (Musical instruments made before 1975 are exempt: You can sell Grandma’s piano, but not her snuff box.)