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International concertina purchases


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I'm looking at an international purchase of a vintage Wheatstone from a private party-I live in the USA. The instrument is 90+ years old but not 100. How do I find out about possible customs duty charges? How do I deal with CITES regulations if the wood ends are or resemble ebony? I would appreciate info and/or sources of information-thanks.

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I'm looking at an international purchase of a vintage Wheatstone from a private party-I live in the USA. The instrument is 90+ years old but not 100. How do I find out about possible customs duty charges? How do I deal with CITES regulations if the wood ends are or resemble ebony? I would appreciate info and/or sources of information-thanks.

 

 

 

So, if it is over 100 years old the duty will less ? If that is the case then it is up to you if you wish to lie about it to save a few dollars.

 

I am not aware of any CITES problems regarding Ebony. If there was/is it would cause big problems especially in the field of musical instruments; Violin/ Guitar fingerboards. Clarinets and Oboes, though they are made of African Blackwood, would have to be tested because the colour might suggest Ebony....etc etc.

 

For myself it would be devastating because I make whole instruments out of Ebony ! The Ebony I use is of the type that I can still legally purchase.... it is not Indian,not Sri Lancan, not Madagascan. So, the control is done at the raw material stage, therefore, any product made in the western world will have been made with legal materials.

 

I cannot imagine you having CITES problems with a 90 year old Concertina.

 

But good luck anyway,

Geoff.

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If you lived in the UK it's pretty easy to find the HMRC rules for importing antiques by googling "HMRC, Antiques".

 

Basically, if your item is over 100 years old, it qualifies as an antique and is free of import duty and qualifies for the reduced level of VAT at 5%. If your item is 99 years old, then you'll have to pay import duty and the full VAT value. I'd guess there's a similar regime in the US but there'll be different rates and terms for the customs and VAT duties.

 

As far as I know, there's no CITES restriction on ebony (but I'm not an expert on this). There are restrictions on a lot of exotic timbers, some of which are now getting very difficult to get hold of partly because of the increased cost for certification of sustainable hardwood foresting but there shouldn't be any problem when it's part of an old manufactured artefact such as a concertina.

 

You may find that "your" Wheatstone is ebonised pearwood rather than ebony (and the "ivory" buttons are usually bone rather than ivory) but you might need an expert declaration to confirm that to the satisfaction of the authorities.

 

Alex West

Edited by Alex West
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I've bought several instruments recently from Great Britain, and shipped them to the US. Just because a law doesn't properly apply to your antique instrument, don't count on the law being interpreted correctly by customs officials. You might have no problem at all, or a customs official may question the materials and age of the instrument you are importing. I had a concertina held briefly as a violation of the Lacey Act which prohibits certain logging and restricts trade in protected wood species. With some quick explaining, the issue was dropped, but the customs official briefly threatened to disassemble the instrument to ensure no protected woods were incorporated in it! How's that to make your hair stand on end?

 

If you use a freight company such as DHL, they will handle the import duties and taxes. I'd imagine they could give you an idea of these costs before you purchase. A high end concertina just cost me $400 USD in duties and taxes to import from Great Britain.

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Oh, I'm told it is a great aid when importing a concertina from abroad into the US to describe it as a "small accordion" on the waybill, rather than just calling it a concertina. Apparently, everyone knows what an accordion is, but this is not so for concertinas. IMHO, the world would be a better place if everyone knew what a concertina is. :)

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This happened to me today. I bought a concertina from the UK and paid for express shipping. Watching the tracking ledger, it crossed the pond three times because of "insufficient description". Even then an exception was issued, demanding additional description. So I phoned UPS and said that a concertina is a "small accordion". Today I got a phone message from a southern lady in Kentucky, thanking me for clarifying what the item was, and that it had been released for delivery.

Seems to me like people are dumber than ever in today's "information age".

 

 

Oh, I'm told it is a great aid when importing a concertina from abroad into the US to describe it as a "small accordion" on the waybill, rather than just calling it a concertina. Apparently, everyone knows what an accordion is, but this is not so for concertinas. IMHO, the world would be a better place if everyone knew what a concertina is. :)

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This happened to me today. I bought a concertina from the UK and paid for express shipping. Watching the tracking ledger, it crossed the pond three times because of "insufficient description". Even then an exception was issued, demanding additional description. So I phoned UPS and said that a concertina is a "small accordion". Today I got a phone message from a southern lady in Kentucky, thanking me for clarifying what the item was, and that it had been released for delivery.

Seems to me like people are dumber than ever in today's "information age".

 

 

Oh, I'm told it is a great aid when importing a concertina from abroad into the US to describe it as a "small accordion" on the waybill, rather than just calling it a concertina. Apparently, everyone knows what an accordion is, but this is not so for concertinas. IMHO, the world would be a better place if everyone knew what a concertina is. :)

then there's concertina wire - another potential source of confusion me thinks....

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