DC Gia Alumni Lecture by Bobby Mann

William R. Mann, a collector of unusual Ivories, provided a fact-filled evening about various natural Ivories. His presentation about Ivory and Ivory substitutes reflected his great enthusiasm and passion for Ivory and everything related to it. As a co-founder of the International Ivory Society his knowledge and passion about the subject was on full display as his discussion was filled with numerous fun facts and anecdotes about the animal tusks. Bobby�s presentation included a lecture and slide show that detailed his lifelong experiences with Ivory. He covered everything from Elephant to Boar tusks and shared various ways to identity look-alike ivories from the real ones.

Tony Conway with eyes closed appears to be divining what's in Fred Ward's books

Tony Conway with eyes closed appears to be divining what’s in Fred Ward’s books.

Along with his ability to separate look-alike from natural ivories, Bobby is also a master in identifying manufactured ivory substitutes. Using Ivory Identification Comparison kits along with a brief slide presentation with a written guide, Bobby showed the diagnostic characteristics of the various selected natural ivories as well as natural and manufactured substitutes.

Ivory expert Bobby Mann prepares his slides.

Ivory expert Bobby Mann prepares his slides.

Chapter members had numerous ivory examples to examine.

Chapter members had numerous ivory examples to examine.

The slide show presentation was a great help later in the evening as Bobby led the audience through an ivory identification exercise. A group of 40 ivory, ivory �look-alikes,� and manufactured substitutes were placed on a table for all the audience to identify. Chapter members and guests evaluated all different types of ivories including natural Elephant Tusk, Mammoth Tusk, Walrus Tusk, Hippopotamus Teeth, Sperm Whale Teeth, Narwhal Tusk, Wart Hog Tusk, and Boar Tusk, mixed with their natural ivory substitutes – Bone, Antler, Vegetable Ivory, Hornbill Ivory, Shell, Coral, Meerschaum, displayed together with the manufactured ivory substitutes � such as celluloid and polymer-plastic. Analyzing the ivory specimens under 10x magnification, the entire audience was really tested when we all had to actually view all the specimens to try to identify the different types. Identifying the ivories was a real challenge for most of the audience, who were filled with fun and laughter. I truly believe that most of the participants did not correctly identify all the different types of ivories!

Bobby shares an ivory tusk with Sherlene

Bobby shares an ivory tusk with Sherlene.

Ever shy and timid, Bobby calls out the winning lottery ticket.

Ever shy and timid, Bobby calls out the winning lottery ticket.

Spending the evening with a true Ivory expert such as Bobby Mann was a great opportunity for all the participants to learn even more about Ivory. The presentation gave all the participants a hands-on experience to try to distinguish between the natural, natural-substitutes and the manufactured substitutes. All in all it was truly a fun- filled evening with lot of learning.

Bobby Mann and friend

Bobby Mann and friend.

Writeup by Kusam Malhotra
Photographs by Doris Voigt

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