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Shipping an antique banjo from Europe to the USA

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Aug 2, 2020 - 11:19:26 PM
70 posts since 10/15/2010

Does anybody have any advice/source/contact that is knowledgeable about shipping a banjo from Europe to the United States? The banjo is 92 years old, contains brazilian rosewood and pearl. The owner has reportedly obtained a CITES certificate as to its being an antique. I know there is some form from the Fish and Wildlife Service required to import musical instruments, but it seems to apply to those recently manufactured.
I've searched the Banjo Hangout Archives and can't find an answer to this question.
Thanks for your help.

Aug 3, 2020 - 12:07 AM

Polle Flaunoe

Denmark

5429 posts since 3/7/2006

 

Is the banjo made in USA? 

If so you´ll - besides a CITES export/re-export license - maybe need a sales document describing the deal and the banjo in the best possible way - with regards avoiding US duty/sales tax - here´s as an example the text from the sales document for a banjo sold by me some years ago:

Regarding

Epiphone Recording B ”Bandmaster” tenor banjo – Serial No. XXXX

This is a confirmation of our private deal – my sale and your purchase - regarding this banjo. I have received a CITES re-export license/certificate for it from the Danish authorities – the banjo will be shipped to you today – via Post Danmark.

As agreed the purchase price is $XXXX.XX – to be paid by you as soon as possible.

The banjo was manufactured by Statholou Inc., New York, USA in 1928 – it came to Europe many years ago and has since been sold several times over here. With your purchase it´s now going back to USA.

It´s all-original and comes in its original case – it hasn´t been improved in any way – this with reference to HTS Code 9801.00.1095 – American Goods Returned (AGR).

Aug 3, 2020 - 4:34:02 AM

204 posts since 8/11/2007

This would be a good question to ask in the Collector's Corner forum.

Aug 3, 2020 - 5:22:46 AM
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1579 posts since 10/12/2011

I'd contact a Licensed Customs Broker. They can help you navigate how to get it to the US. It'll cost a few bucks but its better than being seized by Customs.

Edited by - buckholler on 08/03/2020 05:23:24

Aug 3, 2020 - 9:17:56 AM
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1062 posts since 5/19/2018

Go with what Buck Holler says. Spend the $, Leave it to the professionals.

There are now so many small variations that can have an instrument locked into customs, that there is no way an amateur can figure them all out.

It’s at the point of ridiculousness.

Aug 3, 2020 - 9:18:37 AM
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csacwp

USA

2677 posts since 1/15/2014

There is no import tax/duty on antique instruments shipped into the USA regardless of where they were made. You will not need cites documentation unless the instrument features ivory.

Aug 3, 2020 - 10:09:42 AM

70 posts since 10/15/2010

The banjo was made in the USA and exported at some point to Europe. If I purchase it I will be sure to get documentation from the seller as described by Polle Flaunoe.

Just to illustrate how complex this process can be, I'm including this information for BHO members who may face this issue.

As suggested, I searched for "Licensed Customs Broker" and was directed to this page:
traderiskguaranty.com/trgpeak/...ms-broker

This directs you to the "Port of Entry" and once you establish that, then you are confronted with a list of dozens of LCBs. Some are members of the " National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America". They of course have their own webpage:
ncbfaa.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll...y=members Thinking it best to use someone from this organization I went to their webpage.

I live in the San Francisco Bay area. When I type that in on the Association's search box a list of 50 brokers comes up. Then you are faced with the daunting task of picking one of these brokers. Does anyone have experience in working with one of these brokers in my area or do you I simply pick one at random and hope for the best?

To be continued, I think.

Aug 3, 2020 - 10:25:14 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

323 posts since 8/9/2019

I've been eyeing a pre war archtop for sale in Italy. Being located in Canada, having such a thing shipped overseas seems like a daunting task, not because of CITES woods, mostly because I can't imagine DHL or whoever to handle that massive box gently.

Aug 3, 2020 - 10:36:30 AM

70 posts since 10/15/2010

I agree. There are the big companies, like DHL and UPS, but the horror stories of instruments being destroyed when they ship is enough to make me think twice about using them. Any suggestions?

Aug 3, 2020 - 5:57:11 PM

13153 posts since 6/29/2005

I'm pretty sure that any amount of shell material will need a license to get past the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  I don't know about the rosewood—that would be another department.  It's probably prudent to have affidavits and necessary paperwork, as they can seriously delay the instrument at the border, you may have to pay for inspections, and in the worst case, they can confiscate it. 

Because of various government de-fundings, budget sequesteration, blahdy blahdy, the USF&WS needs to generate revenue from permits and licenses to fund itself nowadays.

Aug 4, 2020 - 6:12:29 AM

1579 posts since 10/12/2011

quote:
Originally posted by neuronz

The banjo was made in the USA and exported at some point to Europe. If I purchase it I will be sure to get documentation from the seller as described by Polle Flaunoe.

Just to illustrate how complex this process can be, I'm including this information for BHO members who may face this issue.

As suggested, I searched for "Licensed Customs Broker" and was directed to this page:
traderiskguaranty.com/trgpeak/...ms-broker

This directs you to the "Port of Entry" and once you establish that, then you are confronted with a list of dozens of LCBs. Some are members of the " National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America". They of course have their own webpage:
ncbfaa.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll...y=members Thinking it best to use someone from this organization I went to their webpage.

I live in the San Francisco Bay area. When I type that in on the Association's search box a list of 50 brokers comes up. Then you are faced with the daunting task of picking one of these brokers. Does anyone have experience in working with one of these brokers in my area or do you I simply pick one at random and hope for the best?

To be continued, I think.


My wife is a LCB, its the only reason I know half this stuff.  Are their any antique instrument dealers in your area?  If so. I'd go and visit and see who they use.  You would want someone who deals with instruments, as many are just freight forwarders and are used to clearing whole shipping containers from over seas. 

My wife used to work for AN Deringer and they have an office out of LA.  If anything if you call they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Aug 4, 2020 - 2:11:49 PM

1062 posts since 5/19/2018

Since you live in SF.

Call Gryphon Strimgs and see if they can help you in any way. I’m pretty sure they will have some experience in this area.

They may take this on for a small fee perhaps and leave you out of the potential headaches.

Aug 4, 2020 - 2:47:48 PM

70 posts since 10/15/2010

I was thinking of contacting Gryphon. Yes, they may have some experience in importing "vintage" musical instruments (not antique, as I've learned. Has to be 100 years old or greater to qualify as "antique".)

Just to illustrate how complex this area is, take a look at this website from the US Fish and Wildlife Service:
fws.gov/international/Permits/...ents.html

Aug 5, 2020 - 7:45:23 AM

10820 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

There is no import tax/duty on antique instruments shipped into the USA regardless of where they were made. You will not need cites documentation unless the instrument features ivory.


Yep. US Customs defines Antique as being 100 years old or over. There is no import duty on antiques. Likewise, none on any instrument originally made in the USA.

Edited by - mikehalloran on 08/05/2020 07:45:52

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