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Author Topic: older instruments: caution  (Read 360 times)

Offline Tony Raven

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older instruments: caution
« on: September 10, 2017, 12:04:48 PM »
Someone reminded me of this on another forum, & none of us could determine whether the matter has been settled somewhat better.

You may remember when Federal marshals raided a Gibson plant back in August 2011, and previously three plants in 2009.
Quote
They were enforcing the Lacey Act, a century-old endangered species law that was amended in 2008 to include plants as well as animals.
I'm all for protecting endangered species.

HOWEVER, the law has been interpreted as 100% retroactive.

That is to say, if you own (say) an African carving that your great-grandfather bought as a tourist in the 1950s, & it's made from some wood that has since become scarce, you might be violating Federal law to possess it.

The problem for us? Let me point out that pianos used to have coverings made from elephant ivory. Technically, the Feds can storm into any place that has old pianos or keytops, & lock everything down until they go through, piece by piece, & determine that none of the ivory is actually from an embargoed source.

This has -- thank heavens  :o -- settled down a bit. However, attempts to export or import old ivory keytops run afoul of U.S. Fish & Wildlife, & those Federal marshals.

Not that everything is so easy. Remember that carving? Let's say it was instead in elephant tusk. You may rest assured it's totally legal to own.

...so long as you don't sell it, or buy it.  ::)

You CAN buy or sell if the ivory used is at least a century old (past the death of the elephant, one assumes). And it was properly brought in through a designated port. And it has been in no way modified (inclding any repairs). Naturally, you must have paperwork that proves its age AND importation path.

Certain woods are also protected. I find mention of ebony (Madagascar) & rosewood (Brazil & Madagascar).

You might get a great deal on an old Lyon & Healy. Is it crossing an international border to get to you? Are you certain of all the materials used in its construction? Do you have any sort of credible verification that you're correct? If you are a performing musician, do you travel outside your country with such an instrument?

If you have a higher-end instrument from the 1970s or even later, you might run afoul of the Lacey Act. As far as I can determine, even one little ebony chip in a headstock inlay might cost you the instrument. And until the Feds are entirely satisfied that your axe is legit, they'll happily hold on to it for you.

Any updates welcome!!
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

resident troublemaker: http://forum.frugalguitarist.com/

Offline ship of fools

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Re: older instruments: caution
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 06:17:24 PM »
from what I understand newer guitars are more subject to the cities regulations and that builders need to prove the supplier and age of Rosewood and ivory well that's a tough one as for the raids they went no where as they were able to show the wood was old stock as for piano's it seems that it is hard for them to determine african and indian ivory and old pre - cities so hard to say I know some have claimed to have had problems taking their guitars across the border but every musician I know just shows them the sale of when they were bought.
so an old Lyon and Healy wouldn't have any problem as they can be dated by experts its only difficult when dealing with private builders who cant prove their old stock no one knew that it would be crazy like this sorry for late response this took 2 days fingers arent working so good anymore
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Offline Tony Raven

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Re: older instruments: caution
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 05:16:37 PM »
I know what you mean about the fingers; I work on transit buses all day, & evenings I often feel like I'm poking at the keys with bent chopsticks.  :(  Always great to get your input, even if we don't move so fast as we used to.

Actually, thanks for what you said; cheers me up a little. I'm no fan of Big Government (totally nonpartisan, btw) & not very good at being optimistic that "common sense" comes into play.  ;)
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

resident troublemaker: http://forum.frugalguitarist.com/