Fine Art Packers and Shippers since 1973


3 St Leonard's Road

North Acton

London NW10 6SX

Tel: +44 20 8965 8733

Fax: +44 20 8965 0249

Fine Art Packers and Shippers since 1973

Hedley’s Inc.

271 Scholes Street

Brooklyn, NY11206

Tel: +1 718 433 4005

Fax: +1 718 417 4705
Hedley’s Paris

6 Boulevard de la Liberation

93284 Saint-Denis, France

Tel: +33 1 48 13 01 02

Fax: +33 1 48 13 07 08
Hedley’s Flea Market

Stands 412-413 Allee 7

Marche Paul Bert

102 rue des Rosiers

93400 St, Ouen

Tel: +33 1 40 10 94 00

Fax: +33 1 40 10 05 64

Fine Art Packers and Shippers since 1973


Place de L’Oree de L’Isle

84800 Isle-sur-la-Sorgue


Tel: +33 4 90 38 02 69

Fax: +33 4 90 38 04 46

13 July 2015

BEWARE! 5 Animal Materials that Require Permits and Papers Prior to Shipping

Shipping art, artefacts and personal effects abroad or bringing them into the country can be problematic if they contain items protected from extinction.  Exporters and importers must be vigilant, even with contemporary art objects. Many modern art works including installations, sculptures, frames, found objects, ready-mades and so on can contain a multitude of different materials from all sorts of sources and locations.

Personal effects are at risk too, for instance ivory inlaid furniture, certain types of wood, picture frames or tortoiseshell vanity sets.  Antique dealers, auctions houses, art galleries and art collectors need to be aware of the trading conditions and laws affecting a number of everyday items.  Personal effects are at risk too, for instance ivory inlaid furniture, certain types of wood, picture frames or tortoiseshell vanity sets. Endangered species also include certain types of wood such as rosewood too.


CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Essentially it is an international agreement between governments; it aims to ensure that the trading of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. All import, export and re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the convention have to be authorized through a permit system. Failure to do this will certainly result in the item in question being confiscated forever and in some extreme cases the carrier being imprisoned under smuggling laws.

These materials include Ivory & Horn, Feathers,  Crocodile Skin, Clam shells, Tortoise/Turtleshell.



Ivory is the word used to describe mammalian tooth or tusk and comes from various different animals make sure you are aware of these;

  • Elephants (Asian or African)
  • Hippopotamus
  • Walrus (this includes fossil walrus ivory)
  • Narwhal
  • Sperm Whale
  • Warthog
  • Hornbill

Here are a few typical items carved from ivory;

  • Furniture
  • Swords
  • Netsuke
  • Daggers
  • Cane holders
  • Toiletries/Vanity Items (mirrors)
  • Cutlery
  • Musical instruments
  • Religious objects
  • Statuettes and Carvings
  • Picture frames
  • Installations


Ivorine is a man-made item which can be made to look similar to Ivory – sometimes it is hard to tell the difference so you will need to get materials verified.

For more detailed information on ivory: Click Here



Reptiles are fairly self-explanatory; these include snakeskin, and crocodile skin. These types of scaled material are generally made into;

  • Sculpture
  • Handbags
  • Brief cases
  • Purses
  • Watchstraps
  • Belts
  • Jewellery
  • Cameras
  • Pens
  • Footwear



This refers to any real bird feathers used in a piece of work you are transporting, typically this means ethnographic bird feathers opposed to local bird feathers, however it is always better to check whether the feathers you are transporting fall under CITES. Here are a few examples of pieces that could contain bird feathers;

  • Sculpture
  • Installations
  • Clothing
  • Ceremonial masks
  • Jewellery
  • Musical instruments


Other Items to Remember

These are Wood, Horn, Clam shells, Tortoiseshell/Turtleshell. Characteristically these materials appear in;

  • Boulle furniture
  • Barometers
  • Clocks
  • Musical instruments
  • Decorative objects
  • Hairpins
  • Jewellery
  • Fashion


Remember if you are unsure about whether an item contains any of these materials listed, it is highly recommended you find and expert to verify this before you ship without the proper paperwork.  Hedley’s is able to offer advice in these areas and has a number of forms and information already on its website: Click Here


For more information or to enquire about Hedley’s services, contact the dedicated Head of Contemporary Art, Ellie Bailey by email at or by phone +44 (0) 208 965 8733.