Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Mysteries of Ebay

So, some of you may know that among my many hobbies I include knife making. I don't make my own blades (yet) but do have a great time choosing materials and making really nice, hardworking knives.

Here are a few of my recent builds...

Finished this one tonight. Brass guard and pommel, maple, purpleheart, and mammoth tooth. Yes, Mammoth tooth.

This is one of my favorites. Blue mammoth tooth and German Silver bolsters on a Damascus blade.

My Collection.

Well, I had been selling knives on Ebay, that wonderful online garage sale. Recently I listed one for sale and it was removed by the Ebay Police. They sent a nice note letting me know that knives containing mammoth tooth were no longer allowed because... wait for it... mammoth tooth comes from an endangered animal. That's right. Due to the complex international treaties restricting elephant ivory, Ebay no longer allows ivory products to be sold. Into this category they mysteriously lump the tooth of the Woolly Mammoth.

I tried to explain to them that mammoth tooth was not from an endangered animal, as it has been extinct for about 12,000 years. But received another nice note saying that I cannot sell ivory.

So I asked to be forwarded to someone higher on the food chain, and I explained that not only is the mammoth extinct, but the "tooth" is a fossil. Formed when minerals slowly replaced the organic material over ten or twelve millennium. So essentially a "mammoth tooth" is just a pretty rock.

This time I got a terse reply saying "sorry you disagree, but we are right. No Ivory."

I thanked them for their time.

Upon digging into Ebay a little closer, I found that mammoth tooth stuff is still selling, but now it is called "stabilized fossil" or "Pleistocene fossil" or my favorite "Prehistoric fossil" (as opposed to the modern fossils). So now I sell my knives as having "stabilized fossil" handles. Just pretty rocks.
Ahh, Ebay. When logic fails, always fall back on the old "because I said so."

More Later


Sharon said...

How funny! And frustrating? I think "mammoth tooth" is part of the allure... too bad! But... I guess we wouldn't want people out there killing off the mammoths so they can harvest their teeth!!!
You have quite an impressive collection! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Wow. It's just like how a certain organization I work for is run!

And if I was into stabby things...I would TOTALLY buy up your collection.

John said...

Five Monkey Rule Baby!