Can anyone update me on the newest rules on import from Europe of ivory clad antique pianos?
According to below document it would be perfectly legal. However the Bestode dealer from Leeds in England just told me that they would have to remove the keytops and replace them with plastics.
Below text is an excerpt from this link:
>>US Fish and Wildlife Service De Minimis Exception Requirements
To qualify for the de minimis exception, manufactured or handcrafted items must meet all of the following criteria:
If the item is located within the United States, the ivory was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990, or was imported into the United States under a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) pre-Convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use;
If the item is located outside the United States, the ivory was removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976;
The ivory is a fixed or integral component or components of a larger manufactured or handcrafted item and is not in its current form the primary source of the value of the item, that is, the ivory does not account for more than 50 percent of the value of the item;
The ivory is not raw;
The manufactured or handcrafted item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory, that is, the ivory component or components do not account for more than 50 percent of the item by volume;
The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams; and
The item was manufactured or handcrafted before the effective date of this rule.
Goldberg made the point that the USFW based the 200-gram figure on the approximate weight of a set of piano keytops. Throughout the ruling, the USFW goes to great lengths to point out that they don’t believe musical instruments are contributing to the poaching of elephants or the ivory trade.
Much concern has been focused on what will be expected to satisfy the USFW in case they have questions about actual age.
There’s also some good news on that front as the USFW said, “Though not required, a qualified appraisal or another method of documenting the value of the item and the relative value of the ivory component, including, information in catalogs, price lists, and other similar materials, can also be used. We will not require ivory components to be removed from an item to be weighed.”
That means a letter from a piano technician, a photocopy of relevant information from the Pierce Piano Atlas and even, (as Goldberg suggested) a handmade certificate with information about age/model/etc. should prove sufficient. Again, the USFW says they know what they’re looking for in terms of ivory smuggling and musical instruments aren’t the problem.<<