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Thread: Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

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    Default Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

    I just succeeded in importing from Europe an antique mandolin with tortoise shell on the pick guard, headstock, and neck. After I agreed to buy it I was informed it had "turtle" on it. I did a lot of research, contacted an import broker who was extremely helpful in providing information, and was able to rather easily import it with a CITES certificate.

    What I learned is that 1) there is an exemption on antique instruments with tortoise shell and ivory, but a CITES exporter certificate is needed. 2) When importing for personal, non-commercial use, I don't have to use an import broker. 3) I used FedEx's very expensive 2-day service, and although there were hiccups and persistent phone calls needed, I was able to get the mandolin safely delivered in one week. I had to fill out an additional customs form once the mandolin was in the US as well as a declaration about the wood being non-toxic (required at the discretion of the FedEx import agent), but otherwise no import taxes, duties, fees, agents/brokers were needed.

    The moral of the story is that it seems it IS possible to import pre-convention, CITES-protected, antique musical instruments into the US with a CITES certificate obtained by the exporter. Perhaps I was just lucky, but it wasn't as much of a headache as I anticipated.

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  3. #2
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

    No Cites on turtle parts. Be careful. Its 100% illegal to carry or transport over borders. If its real. A hot pin imbedded into it will smell like hair burning. If its plastic. It will smell like melted plastic.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

    Quote Originally Posted by slimt View Post
    Be careful. Its 100% illegal to carry or transport over borders.
    Yes, now that itís crossed the seas I wonít be able to take it across state lines!

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    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

    Interesting. So ... how's the mandolin?
    Just one guy's opinion
    www.guitarfish.net

  6. #5

    Default Re: Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kotapish View Post
    Interesting. So ... how's the mandolin?
    The mandolin is quite amazing. The neck is a little thinner than modern mandolins, but the tone is beautiful. I canít believe Iím playing a 250 year-old mandolin.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

    Quote Originally Posted by slimt View Post
    A hot pin imbedded into it will smell like hair burning. If its plastic. It will smell like melted plastic.
    Kind of a harsh test, IMHO. I don't believe I'll be sticking HOT PINS into ANY of my vintage instruments, thank you!

    I see this scenario..........congrats on it not being tortoise, but sorry about ALL THOSE HOLES in your vintage instrument! You can throw it in the trash, now! Yikes!!!

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    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imported a mandolin with tortoise shell - CITES

    Please review Posting Guidelines. Posts dealing in the sale or transfer of tortoise-shell products protected by the 1973 Endangered Species act are not allowed and will be removed. This includes picks made from "antique" shells. The purpose of this forum is the discussion of music, not the correctness or incorrectness of this issue. Discussions that start or end up on this topic are subject to being closed at the moderator's discretion.

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