Turned ivory cup and cover to auction for $54,000?

A late 18th century turned ivory cup and cover is expected to bring �35,000 ($53,970) to Christie's forthcoming Cabinet of Curiosities auction (July 12).

Ivory auction
Antique ivory cup and cover

The rare, expertly turned cup and cover, offered from a Belgian private collection, represents just one of many highlights set to star in the London sale.

A beautiful, ivory ebonised table cabinet believed to date from the third quarter of the 17th century is also to feature.

Estimated to be worth �30,000 ($46,260), the elegant, German-made table cabinet may have graced the residence of a prince or nobleman, or might have been offered as a diplomatic gift, such is the esteem in which these decorative items were held during the 1600s.

Ivory - a somewhat controversial collectible - was traded openly for hundreds of years, resulting in the death of thousands of animals, including elephants and narwhales.

In more recent years, the ivory trade has become increasingly regulated. In 1989, the international sale of new ivory products was prohibited, yet poaching remains rampant across Africa in particular.

Although it is legal to trade in valuable antique ivory items, critics claim that trading in antique ivory only increases, and legitimises, black market demand.

On the flip side, it has been argued that if ivory trading laws were relaxed, the elephant population in Africa would actually increase.

We currently have British hangman Henry A Pierrepoint's amber and ivory cigarette holder in stock.

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