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Shipping issues alert - all post items affected

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Discovered a very troublesome development.

Airlines placing their own restrictions on all luggage and cargo shipments they carry which explicitly prohibit weapons, including all manner of swords and knives.

And the shipped item basically travels back to you snail mail because somewhere along the way it was supposed to get on the airline which bans these items - and was rejected. So you get it with airlines label "rejected - sword inside" and the note that it is your responsibility to insure that airlines are allowed to carry the items you shipped.

 

So far I encountered it twice, the last time with Bratislava Airlines.

Fedex still flies their own planes, so it should not be an issue - except they don't insure/declare value on antiques above 1000$, and obviously exactly 10 times more expensive than EMS/airmail and such.

 

Kirill R.

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It is now the law in the UK that it is prohibited to send any 'knife' through the postal system. In the past antiques have been exempt from import and other restrictions and prohibitions but not this one as far as I know. Whether the ruling includes swords I am as yet unsure.

Ian Bottomley

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Ran into this trying to ship via USPS, from USA to Australia. No restrictions in US or AUS, but gunto came back to me TWICE! Through making phone calls, turns out USPS contracts out international air shipping. A regular vendor they use is Emirates Air - who will not even ship knives!. And there is no way to find out which airline will be used on a given day as it varies on the day and city. I switched to FedEx, even knowing their reputation and their frustrating practices with invoices.

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It is now the law in the UK that it is prohibited to send any 'knife' through the postal system. In the past antiques have been exempt from import and other restrictions and prohibitions but not this one as far as I know. Whether the ruling includes swords I am as yet unsure.

Ian Bottomley

 

Ian is this new? What is with sending Swords for polishing or buying in the UK from EU  :(

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Ran into this trying to ship via USPS, from USA to Australia. No restrictions in US or AUS, but gunto came back to me TWICE! Through making phone calls, turns out USPS contracts out international air shipping. A regular vendor they use is Emirates Air - who will not even ship knives!. And there is no way to find out which airline will be used on a given day as it varies on the day and city. I switched to FedEx, even knowing their reputation and their frustrating practices with invoices.

 

Precisely! Somewhere along the way the item gets in queue to be shipped using airline X which does not allow the shipment, and that's the end of the line.

 

Kirill R.

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Re: The Uk

I was recently contacted by a senior member of an Iado association in the Uk who is in discussion with the Home Office and asked the Token of GB to help. At the moment everything is on hold because of the election and they are waiting to see who is appointed to deal with the proposed changes in legislation. As far as I am aware swords are still being shipped within the UK and to and from other areas, Europe, US etc. However the comment regarding airlines is absolutley right and some are refusing to carry swords.

Also please note that although Fedex will ship swords in the USA they will not carry them in the UK and if they arrive here they will be turned round and sent back (unless something has changed in the last 6 months)

All I have seen so far is additions to the dangerous weapons acts but no change to defences and exemptions which should mean antiques and traditionally made swords are legal as are those used for martial arts. the key word here is should! 

I have recieved swords via DHL from europe with no issue in the past few months.

The situation continues to change and the shipping companies are finding it difficult to understand legislation so tend to opt on the safe side and just not ship.

Hopefull we can establish some clarity in the next few months.

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Worldwide. See it daily.
Just about everyone is including "no dangerous weapons" in their conditions, and they can interpret anything as a weapon, anytime they like.
We are importing barrel blanks from S Korea, and today the factory told us they cannot find a single airline willing to take bare barrels. And they may not even find a ship to transport them.
It doesn't matter if your sword is sheathed and wrapped in 20m of bubble wrap. You...as an edged weapons collector is an anomaly to the politically correct world, and must be suppressed. That's all it is. We are all deviants because our hobby includes something that the "one world, one love, one authority" population doesn't deem acceptable.
 

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Hi Kirill, im not saying this would have made the slightest difference, just a few thoughts, desperate times judging by this read.

 

"dagger", is a word I would try to avoid, would stick to "Antique, over 100 years old, customs tariff no 9706.00.00.00" possibly add "art"

 

This will HOPEFULLY make whoever sees it give it more attention, rather than just immediately disregard it.

 

Darcy done a write up on this somewhere, by the way.

 

Personally, after reading about such issues, im now thinking it may be a good idea to add some information somewhere about yourself, just to let them know your not just a spotty teenager buying a weapon from abroad, something along the lines.

 

Mr J Bloggs, importer/collector of Japanese antiquities, aged 50, member of "the token society of great Britain, Northern Token Society and the NMB etc + passport details.

.

I would describe the papers fully and probably throw in the word museum piece just for good measure.

 

it might help, might not, a bit desperate, I suppose

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9706 tariff was indicated.

Regarding classifying things as Art, or simply antique, used to do that a few times, very high chance of refusal by airline with a statement content does not match the description.

 

I never encountered the item being destroyed in either case, rather just returned to sender.

 

Kirill R.

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Maybe it is interesting for the german members. A collector friend from Berlin gets an offence by customs in act of the KSGS (Kulturschutzgesetz). They confiscated 3 pieces, a Tsuba, a Kozuka and a Saya as important culture pieces. 

The two Kinko pieces are from 17/18 century are nice but nothing special. After weeks of waiting, writing mails and phone calls he get the offence now from german ministry of culture. They gave him 4 weeks to make an statement. 

I never heard this before, but i stayed with him from the first day he came from the customs and heard and see the whole story. That is really frightning what is going on.

 

The pieces was purchased in Japan from a dealer not private over ebay or other platforms.

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Regarding the titles, passport data etc. - never encountered this to be of any help with mail, couple of times I was asked for tax number, gun license etc. of the recipient, but those were unusual cases that were expected to attract scrutiny.

Otherwise, these days they do x-ray every single package send through air-mail. The rejection by airline is pretty straightforward - they either can carry swords+, or can't (minority of them). If they see a blade they will always check the customs form. If it says antique folk metalwork, 90% chance any European airline will reject it. 

 

However when crossing a border with an item, the titles do help a lot. Sometimes customs suspect this is a business transaction and thus has to make a decision how much paperwork and fees do they want to collect. At this point they actually will directly ask you what do you do, who are you, what titles, and can even ask some more personal questions.

If they are satisfied this is not your main business, you just go through. Once though I had to sign a piece of paper which said I am to not resell the item within 2 years. I don't know what would happen if I refused. 

 

Regarding Kulturschutzgesetz and similar laws being interpreted in the nature "what is not explicitly allowed is forbidden". It is my policy to stay away from Germany. For one reason or another whether on this forum, on elsewhere in life there is a considerable amount of strange behavior accumulating in the German antiques and militaria scene (Germany and abroad included), I don't know why, but that's my experience. Well, I do know why, but that would be political.

My experience was that if the items are expensive and thus were cleared through export permit in Japan, then there is very little potential for problems in Germany (I am not German, might be wrong). Somewhere there is an official paper (with a seal) attesting to export rights, and that's fine.

If not - they tend to concentrate more on Asian/Middle East countries (again, its a political thing). Quite a few public entities will not want to deal with your items if there is no government seal somewhere, and customs in deep theory can start asking weird questions as well.

 

Kirill R.

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Hi Kirill, it's wise to stay away from Germany, don't be afraid of the "strange" behavior and tell us why this happened.

 

Best

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Kirill

I dont think Germany is unique for strange behaviour. I have heard various horror stories from most parts of Europe (which includes the UK!) basic problem is that national laws and customs tariffs are complicatied and often misiterpretted. I would hate to be a customs officla trying to work out whether something was legal to import and if so what the custom charges should be, it is a nightmare.

Having said that the thing that really winds me  up is when items are mishandled and treated badly. I recently saw a package where some bright spark had cut through the bubble wrap on a daisho so carelessly that they cut through the silk bags and scored lines in the shirasaya (both swords). This is pure neglect and incomptetence. Sorry a different topic. I'll let you back to the original thread.

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Very personal:

As far as I know, almost all non-European countries (Japan being a very rare exception) - China, India, Turkey, Iran, Russia, etc. etc. generally prohibit shipped export of anything antique, in some cases unless there is an extensive paperwork procedure that is being followed.

Compared to this the situation in Europe is a great relief.

 

But the problem with Germany is that anytime-anything cultural or historical goes into dispute there, the prism of what happened a century ago immedeately paratroops in. And then the chances of having it reasonably resolved, no matter how little the problem is, are gone. There is instead an immediate need to first prove that what happens now is in no way a semblance of what happened then. Which is done with limited grace.Some of such posts get deleted here, but overall I can't remember the case at least with regards to myself and some German event, where in some form this would not creep in.

 

May be an outside person just gets exposed to this more. Still, if one is on lecture trip from Vienna to Basel through Germany, there is an observable difference.

 

Kirill R.

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Related to all of this is a case I became involved in (totally against my will I might add). It involved a shipment of Chinese made so-called 'samurai swords' impounded by the Customs at Dover. They were clearly marked 'Made in China', had the most appalling stamped out mounts, black painted saya and horrendous bindings, yet the shipper insisted the mixed metal blades were 'traditionally made'. What has caused all the problems is that our brilliant legislators failed to add the word 'Japanese' to the definition of 'traditionally made' . What swung it in the end and had the shipment stopped,  appears to have been the fact that as I pointed out there were no 'Samurai' in China and hence they could not have been 'made in China as traditionally made for samurai'.  

Ian Bottomley

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Kirill expressed most of the complex issues better than I could.

   I do agree that Germany is one of the most challenging countries, if not THE most challenging. I am surprised that some countries I would think difficult are quite easy, yet Germany is the most random.

As was pointed out:   It does seem partially regional there. Over the past 20 years, nearly identical packages going to one or two German regions have a much higher rate of Customs issues than other regions.

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In my experience, issues with customs in Germany are VERY province-dependent.

 

A friend of mine stopped importing swords via his home City in North Rhine-Westphalia because of the constant issues with the customs officials there and now uses an address in another city instead. Same declerations, same categories, same paperwork - zero issues with the officials (so far).

 

I never had any problems in years, but was stopped, thoroughly searched and had my background checked by the border police at Hanover airport upon declaring my oversized box at the check-in counter (I had included the usual explenatory letter in the box, with my phone number etc.) three weeks ago.They were not unfriendly, but rather completely out of their depths of what to to now (and to do with me), continuing to call in the next level of authority. In the end they let me off the hook; however, it really took some time, friendliness / patience on my part and repeated explanations.

 

It is hit or miss, really. 

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For me too i had never serious problems. Once a time i had a discussion about magnolia wood that is protectet from china but not in Japan. I think it depends too from which custom office the package is picked up. 

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I have to purchase a Puma hunting knife from someone in Germany and somehow get it sent to me here in SA via courier. Do you think I will have hassles exporting it as a collectible knife etc?

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I have to purchase a Puma hunting knife from someone in Germany and somehow get it sent to me here in SA via courier. Do you think I will have hassles exporting it as a collectible knife etc?

 

Not at all. If the courier / carrier agrees to transport knives, there should be no trouble whatsoever. I have been collecting kukris for decades by now and have shipped and received them from all over without any problems; and these look a heck of a lot scarrier on X-ray than a Puma knife.

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Indeed,

 

apart from the highly complicated regulations, in Germany it mostly depends on the local customs office and the people who work there....

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today i picked up a Tsuba at the Munich Custom.

 

I talk to the offical about the sword import and the KSGS (Kulturschutzgesetz).

 

He tell me there is no problem at all about import blades and Kodogu to Germany.

 

The only thing is if i want to reduce the income tax (7% instead 19%) i need a official document that proof the older then 100 years status.

 

Michael

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Maybe it is interesting for the german members. A collector friend from Berlin gets an offence by customs in act of the KSGS (Kulturschutzgesetz). They confiscated 3 pieces, a Tsuba, a Kozuka and a Saya as important culture pieces. 

The two Kinko pieces are from 17/18 century are nice but nothing special. After weeks of waiting, writing mails and phone calls he get the offence now from german ministry of culture. They gave him 4 weeks to make an statement. 

I never heard this before, but i stayed with him from the first day he came from the customs and heard and see the whole story. That is really frightning what is going on.

 

The pieces was purchased in Japan from a dealer not private over ebay or other platforms.

Nearly the same happened to me quite some time ago with a little yari i bought from Grey Doffin. At first they wanted me to prove that the yari was NOT important! Bunch of clowns sometimes... :doubt:

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Florian did you have any help ideas for him or did you get it back after some time?

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