What’s it worth? Appraisal of carved ivory(?) tusk

Dana asks:

This was my Great Aunt’s. I believe it is an ivory tusk. The tusk is 12 inches high and on the stand it stands about 13 ½ inches high.

Thank you

ivory tusk


AW says:  Hello Dana, that’s a beautiful item, but I’m dubious that it’s authentic ivory, here’s why. The wooden base and the pins in the bottom are usually, (but not always) and indicator of simulated ivory. No matter, I can tell you how to check and give you an appraisal based on either scenario.

How to test:

Take a needle or pin pinched withing a pair of pliers and heat the tip up until it’s glowing red, try to stick the pin into the bottom of the piece. If it sinks in at all, what you have is a piece of plastic or resin. If not then your piece is Ivory. Some plastics and resins are very hard, and the pin will only go in a VERY tiny amount. However, if the pin melts anything at all, your item is a fake.

If your items is real it would be circa 20th century and  the following prices apply.

Retail value: $750-$900

Wholesale value: $400

Quick sale: $250

If it’s made of resin or plastic, $50 maximum.

Keywords = Ivory tusk, China, Oriental, Chinese, Scrimshaw

Thanks and good luck!