welcomes trade in legal antique ivory

NEW YORK –, a Web site devoted to art and antiques, debuted Feb. 1. Though the site is immediately directed at buyers and sellers of antique ivory, its founder, Marcus Antebi, says won’t be an ivory tower. The new site will be a practical marketplace for buyers and sellers who have been affected by eBay’s ban of ivory sales, said the New York City antique dealer.

As of Jan. 1, all ivory has been placed on eBay’s prohibited and restricted items list under the heading of “Animals and Wildlife Products.” Its policy states: “Because many of the species from which ivory is harvested are currently endangered or protected, the sale of ivory is prohibited on all eBay sites. No ivory in any form may be listed, including prehistoric ivory, carved and uncarved ivory, antique ivory, jewelry, figurines, canes and statues.”

While Antebi appreciates the noble intent of the ban, he believes the idea is flawed because it prohibits the sale of antique ivory, which is legal to sell.

Antebi also disagrees with eBay’s prohibition on the sale of prehistoric ivory, also known as mammoth ivory. “It’s from prehistoric elephants and very distinguishable in photographs from elephant ivory,” he said.

“They basically shut down a huge piece of my business and the business of a lot of people I know because of this unilateral policy,” said Antebi.   

While the majority of the listings on are currently Antebi’s, he is actively enlisting other sellers to list high-quality items on the site. “Luckily we have a lot of contacts from years of being in the industry,” he said.

“My first initiative was to create a highly functional Web site and then try to drive traffic here, but I realized there would be something missing,” said Antebi.

He knew a single-seller Web site would lack the excitement of having many competing sellers. “You know, the buzz of eBay,” said Antebi. “There was something fun about eBay in the early days.”

Antebi started work on the project in December with his father, David Antebi. “We spent a fortune building this Web site and filling it with content and advertising. We feel if we create a niche market that’s sophisticated and accessible, we’ll become an alternative to eBay when it comes to art and antiques,” he said.

“The main question a seller really wants answered is about fees. There is no listing fee. There’s only a very low commission if the item sells, which comes out to about 2 1/2 percent of whatever the final sale is. If you sell an item for $1,000 you’re paying Antique Spider about $25 in commission,” said Antebi. charges no fee for listing an item having a reserve. “That’s a key point,” said Antebi.

Sellers will be charged additional fees for increased visibility features like having their merchandise circulate on the home page. has four sales options: auction, fixed price, trades and classifieds.

“One of the nice features with the fixed price sale, there’s a button on the page that allows a person to buy the item right away, or they can make an offer, which is common in the antiques industry,” said Antebi. is based in New York City. Customers may contact Antebi by phone toll-free at 888-260-6691 or by going to the Web site,