Under the Hammer

Under the Hammer

No one would mistake the sound of an auctioneer’s gavel for a poacher’s rifle shot, but the distance between the two is closer than most of us realise. Under the Hammer provides the results of the first ever investigation into the nature of the auction house trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia and New Zealand. This trade is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Over a nine-month period more than 2,400 ivory items were found for sale at 153 auctions conducted by 17 auction houses. Investigators also found seven rhino horn items for sale at five auction houses. Very few of the catalogue listings for the ivory lots for sale referred to any provenance documentation about the item’s origin, history and authenticity; leaving potential purchasers at risk of breaking the law.