22nd Report | Congratulations E.J Ainger

It is now more than two years since Leonard Joel participated in the first meeting between Australian auctioneers, industry representatives and IFAW, with a view to ending the auction and antiques trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. Since that first meeting, sadly, Leonard Joel remains the only Australian auction house to have publicly and fully committed to a policy that has ended completely our historically occasional trade in rhinoceros horn and also elephant ivory, subject to our stated De Minimis exclusions. During this period there have been positive signs that the tide is turning in favour of cessation. A national parliamentary enquiry has been held, a public crush event in Melbourne occurred with the support of a federal member of parliament, an international auction house publicly withdrew from auction a significant antique rhinoceros horn collection and the push is on at European parliamentary level to follow the United Kingdom’s move to an almost complete ban in trade. And within the Australian auction house community a recent decision brings hope that at a commercial domestic level attitudes to what should and should not be sold are changing. E.J. Ainger, one of Australia’s longest running auction houses, was recently consigned a rhinoceros horn for public auction. After both public feedback and consultation, John Ainger, the proprietor of the auction house, agreed to withdraw the item from auction. This decision of E.J. Ainger is to be applauded and builds on Leonard Joel’s efforts to close down local market places for this material and most importantly, brings us another small but meaningful step closer to a time when no one will find these materials acceptable to trade in any more. With now two Melbourne auction houses rejecting the sale of this material a convention is emerging that we hope will take hold throughout Australia.