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UK sale of cave formations

Posted: Fri 24 Mar 2006 09:57
by Canda@CSCC
It would be helpful if there was a standard short piece of text (say less than 500 characters) which could be cut and pasted by anyone for sending to vendors of cave formations, urging them to withdraw their item(s) from sale.

Ebay is commonly found to have such items available and presently eagle-eyed cavers point out such to the wider caving community whereupon individuals act and write to ask the vendor to withdraw their lot(s), with little success unfortunately.

Since this is a topic where vigilant individuals are usually the first to see these things, it might be very helpful if a well worded standard email could be created (perhaps in this thread below) for immediate copying and onward passage to the vendor(s).

Further comment/input gratefully received...

Posted: Fri 24 Mar 2006 20:50
by David Cooke
An excellent idea. I'll bring it up at the BCA AGM tomorrow for endorsment.

The NSS are quite hot on this sort of thing, although unlike us, they have the benefit of legislation protecting cave formations. It might be worth a look at their website.

Posted: Fri 24 Mar 2006 20:52
by Les Williams
I will raise this at the BCA council meeting tomorrow

Posted: Fri 24 Mar 2006 23:55
by Jenny Potts
Seems a good idea in principle but I've no idea what
sort of cave formations are put up for sale and am
surprised if, as this suggests, such things come up
regularly. But then I never check Ebay.

Query: may this not be illegal under certain
circumstances anyway? It's certainly illegal in
Britain to remove mineral specimens from an SSSI.

Posted: Sat 25 Mar 2006 00:08
by Canda@CSCC
Item removed from sale: email received this evening - so one successful, one unsuccessful. Copy correspondence below:


1) Successful:


Trading cave formations (however and whenever they were acquired) creates acceptability in the minds of vandals which can lead them to harvest unlocked caves for such portable objects for a quick buck via sites such as Ebay. I ask whether you would reconsider offering the cave formation in your possession for sale - if you no longer want it please just donate it to your local museum.

Council of Southern Caving Clubs, Conservation & Access Officer.


ok nice one didnt think on those lines

I've taken this item off the listings at 7.20 sorry to cause any offence never give it a thought you are right i will give this item to my daughter to donate to school cheers mate you’re doing a good job david

2) Unsuccessful:


Your collection of cave pearls for sale on Ebay has come to our notice; I write on behalf of a regional caving council as a conservation & access officer and it would be MOST appreciated if you would please remove the items from sale since trading in cave formations is frowned upon as it has encouraged vandals to collect them in the past. There are rare acceptable exceptions such as providing academic institutions (museums) with geological samples from caves which were discovered as a result of quarrying - and it may be possible that your items were acquired in such a situation (please advise).

Most caves (including those in the Peak District) are Sites of Special Scientific Interest and it is an offence to remove items from them. Please consider withdrawing the items from Ebay, since they are probably not going to earn you much money and other people may see your lot as an example of an easy way of making a few bob by pillaging caves.



These were collected by my grandad, probably back in the 1930's (he died in WWII) at a time when such regulations were not in place. I appreciate your point but have no intention of withdrawing them from sale. As they have come to your attention perhaps you would like to place a bid on them and give them an appropriate home. Thanks

Second approach:

Thanks for the explanation/background to these items and your suggestion to give them a good home. I shall see if the Derbyshire regional conservation & access officer is interested - but it is the trading of cave formations which is of concern, not their origin.

I am unable to purchase the items since, despite their provenance, trading in cave formations creates a tacit acceptability in the eyes of third parties which leads to caves being harvested for other items which then get placed on the market; ceasing such trade prevents the collection of the items in the first place.

You may find other people contact you on this topic with the same hope as myself. If you wish to get rid of the responsibility of ownership of the pearls please donate them to your county museum, geology department.

With thanks.


Posted: Sat 25 Mar 2006 10:10
by Canda@CSCC
Cookie wrote:The NSS are quite hot on this sort of thing, although unlike us, they have the benefit of legislation protecting cave formations. It might be worth a look at their website.
Apparently the legislation is limited. See:- ... sc&start=0

... for a stunning example of formations for sale