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Thread: CITES Question

  1. #1
    Registered User mandrian's Avatar
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    Default CITES Question

    Hi,

    I have a mandolin that someone in the US wants to buy. It is the Michael Lewis Ritz in the classifieds, so it was made in the US.

    The woods are basically spruce, walnut and ebony. Not sure what the inlays are.

    Are there likely to be any CITES issues in shipping it from the UK back to the US? Logic would say that since you are shipping it back to its place of origin, the answer would be no.

    Anyone know for sure if that is correct? Id rather just keep it than run into problems as its great mandolin.

    Thanks.


    Regards,

  2. #2
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    My understanding is that it is to do with crossing international borders, regardless of where it was made.

    It's unlikely that any of those woods will be an issue. CITES is most concerned with mother of pearl inlays, ivory, Brazilian Rosewood etc.

  3. #3
    Registered User mandrian's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply. I’m wondering if the Lewis inlay on the headstock is mother of pearl and that might create a problem.

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    Any further advice from those with experience of this is much appreciated.

    Regards,

  4. #4
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    You could try contacting the maker and asking.

    I had an old Gibson mandolin sent to New Zealand- they had to apply for a cites permit to prove the pearl used WASN'T the restricted version, i.e. white abalone.

    $200 process. I've had a hundred times where USA sellers just send an instrument with no questions asked, no CITES mentioned.

    My belief from experience is that for private buyers/sellers this is not rigidly enforced. But that's just my experience. But yeah, the minute you say "old Bazz said it'd be alright, they confiscate the mandolin."

    When I got my Gibson from Carters, the CITES cert was worked in as part of the shipping - took a month to get the paperwork sorted.

    Had a banjo the year before from another crowd, not a word of CITES, banjo arrived fine, despite having pearl inlays.

    I think if you try and do the right thing - contact customs, document your findings, do what you believe to be correct from your findings, thing will go fine.

  5. #5
    Registered User mandrian's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Hi,

    I think I will just keep it unless I find a UK buyer. Selling or buying anything internationally now seems to get more complicated by the year.


    Regards,

  6. #6
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Quote Originally Posted by mandrian View Post
    Hi,

    I think I will just keep it unless I find a UK buyer. Selling or buying anything internationally now seems to get more complicated by the year.


    Regards,
    Probably wise. I had a couple of nightmare international buying experiences in the past couple of years, after a lifetime of no trouble whatsoever.

    Worst was a guitar that arrived here in NZ, got returned by NZ Postal service to the USA with no explanation. Neither postal service accepted liability. I had to pay postage again to get it and it arrived damaged. Ended up cutting my losses - sold locally and lost about 2k on the deal....

    Find a UK buyer as you say. Even if you don't get quite as much, the reduction in stress will be well worth the difference

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  8. #7
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    There should not be any CITES issues. However, there may be other issues. if the mandolin has a declared value of over $2000 US, then the receiver will need to fill out and lodge a Lacey Act form. This is not CITES, it is completely separate. If it contains shell inlay then to be legal the receiver will need to get an import permit from US F&W, and fill out and lodge the appropriate wildlife form. The shell inlay stuff is the biggest pain, and many people have been ignoring it and getting away with it, but you are running a risk of confiscation. I get around it by using wood for my headstock logo and opal for the fingerboard marker dots.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  10. #8

    Default Re: CITES Question

    RE peter.coombe's post above:

    How long before it becomes all-but-impossible for used instrument sales across international borders? At least not without a boatload of rigamarole and paperwork...?

    Could we reach a point where the sale/shipment of NEW instruments also becomes that difficult...?

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Albert View Post
    How long before it becomes all-but-impossible for used instrument sales across international borders? At least not without a boatload of rigamarole and paperwork...?
    We're already about 3/4 of the way there.

    A few years ago, I posted an old B & J Victoria mandolin in the classifieds. It was perhaps a $600 instrument. A fellow in Germany wanted to buy the mandolin.
    Problem was, it had a rosewood fingerboard, and yes, mother of pearl position markers. It was hard to say where the rosewood was from.

    Anyway, to make it legal, I would have had to furnish documentation that it was made before 1980, in case it was Brazilian rosewood, or document that it was not Brazilian. No problem with something like a Martin guitar, where the date of manufacture and use of materials is easy to document because of their well known and orderly serial number system. But no such thing exists for a B & J mandolin.

    So, I would have had to make a trip to Nashville, have the instrument appraised, apply for a CITES permit, and then figure out whether or not to clear the inlays through the Lacey Act. By the time you factor in the cost of an appraisal, permit costs, a full day of travel, etc, into the price of the mandolin, that's a couple of hundred bucks. And then there is overseas shipping, customs, import taxes, etc. So all of a sudden, a $600 mandolin had become a $900 - $1000 mandolin by the time all of the costs were factored in, and we were told it would take a minimum of several weeks for any permits to be granted.

    Too much money, too much trouble. The buyer reluctantly bowed out of the deal, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Too bad. He was a very nice fellow, and I would like to think that he would have greatly enjoyed the instrument.

    A few of the retailers, such as George Gruhn, Fred Oster in Philadelphia, and Folkway Music in Canada have the paperwork down to a science. Some others have quit selling internationally, while a few others will only do it reluctantly. For individuals like me, it is just not worth the effort.

    The shipment of new instruments was disrupted by the CITES restrictions on all rosewoods a few years ago. Although those restrictions have been relaxed for the moment, they could be re-instituted at any time.

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  14. #10
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Even with the stores who have the paperwork down to a fine art, it can take a long time. I bought a vintage mandolin from one of the big Nashville stores who did things to the letter, and the paperwork took two months. They were most apologetic - it was a stressful (but necessary) wait for them and me.

    Some shops and sellers just send internationally with no paperwork or CITES applications. Yes, these instruments still get through but at what risk.

    Not doing the CITES paperwork because "it probably won't get stopped by customs" is like not wearing a seatbelt because you probably won't crash.

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  16. #11
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    The USA is the worst country to send to in my experience, even though there is a free trade agreement in place between the USA and Australia. Added to that is a paperwork nightmare in my own country where I have to get a permit to export if the mandolin is worth more than $2000 AUD. I need to front up at a Customs counter and hand over 10 point photo ID before I can lodge an application, then wait several days for it to be processed. Unbelievable, that we have to get permission to export!!! Problem with that is I live in a remote rural area no where near a Customs branch. Grrrr. 3/4 the way there, yep. It used to be easy. The world has gone mad.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    At the last big guitar show I attended, receipts and paperwork- just the old paperwork, not the wood- documenting pre ban Brazilian rosewood were selling behind the scenes for prices that would have made Pablo Escobar blush....

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  20. #13
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    The USA is the worst country to send to in my experience, even though there is a free trade agreement in place between the USA and Australia. Added to that is a paperwork nightmare in my own country where I have to get a permit to export if the mandolin is worth more than $2000 AUD. I need to front up at a Customs counter and hand over 10 point photo ID before I can lodge an application, then wait several days for it to be processed. Unbelievable, that we have to get permission to export!!! Problem with that is I live in a remote rural area no where near a Customs branch. Grrrr. 3/4 the way there, yep. It used to be easy. The world has gone mad.
    So much for the "global economy."

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  22. #14
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    At the last big guitar show I attended, receipts and paperwork- just the old paperwork, not the wood- documenting pre ban Brazilian rosewood were selling behind the scenes for prices that would have made Pablo Escobar blush....
    It's like watching dealers at Bluegrass festivals sell picks made from material that not be named.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  24. #15
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    It's like watching dealers at Bluegrass festivals sell picks made from material that not be named.
    I want my MTV.

    Mick
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  25. #16
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    Default Re: CITES Question

    The main show stopper that I found trying to ship a guitar to the US about a month ago was that no carrier would insure it unless you are paying well in excess of 1k for shipping.
    I believe a few companies have musical instruments excluded from the insurance list, even if properly packed.

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