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HamptonsDoc

Importing Fossils

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HamptonsDoc

I will be purchasing a few legal fossils with a combined value of a little over $5,000 US from an international dealer and having them shipped to New York.  What do I have to expect in regards to customs and taxes?  I had heard that fossils are considered antiques by US customs and therefor there are no taxes on importing.  Anyone with any experience on this?  The fossils will be for my own collection, not for resale. 

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caldigger

You can always get ahold of your local customs office and inquire from them.

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tmaier

I've never imported a fossil, but there are new "cultural protection laws" in effect, and oddly enough, fossils are considered cultural property. So, I suppose you should expect some confusion and delays.

http://www.google.com/search?q=importing+cultural+objects+fossils+USA&btnG=Search&hl=en&gbv=1

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erose

May have more to do with where they are coming from.

 

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tmaier

Very much about where they come from and the value, and whether they have papers of provenance for them. The new laws were enacted to try to catch museum pieces that have been stolen, or "heritage sites" that have been plundered. Other countries are passing protective laws and the USof the A is supporting their efforts by going along with this more rigid requirements for documentation as to origin. At $5000, I'm sure inquiring minds in the customs houses on both sides will be curious about the item, but especially based on whether the item comes from one of the countries with the new laws.

I know the generalities of it, but not all the details. the details are pretty complex.

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HamptonsDoc

I'm going to have to do some more searching about cultural protection laws for my pieces specifically but according to the US International Trade Commission chapter 97 (https://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/bychapter/index.htm), "collections and collectors' pieces of paleontological interest" are duty free.

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tmaier

It's not that they will charge you more than before (or at all), it is a matter of having the right paperwork to show where it came from.

What is the country of origin for this piece you are buying? Is the dealer in the same country of origin? Have they mentioned provenance papers?



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erose

For example just about anything from China could be a problem.

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bone2stone

Imports of collectables with paleontological significance into US duty free.

Crab I sent to Alex (MB) in Spain was being held hostage by officials declaring a value added tax (VAT) I had to send written notification as to it's scientific value only and declare it's commercial value as "0" US dollars.

It was in custody for a few days till finally they accepted our explanation.

 

Jess B.

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HamptonsDoc
11 hours ago, tmaier said:

It's not that they will charge you more than before (or at all), it is a matter of having the right paperwork to show where it came from.

What is the country of origin for this piece you are buying? Is the dealer in the same country of origin? Have they mentioned provenance papers?


 

It's a few Moroccan Mosasaur fossils from one of the high end Moroccan dealers that represents at the major US shows. Yes, he does live in Morocco itself where the piece currently is. The final prep work is being done this week on it. 

 

Provenance papers- what is this exactly? Description and coordinates of where it was found?

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tmaier

Provenance papers show where it came from, and who owned it previously, etc. It is used as proof that it is not a banned object, like a stolen museum piece or somehow aquired illegally. I've heard a trail of proof is needed now, especially for these more expensive items.

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