CITES, Ivory, and trying to upgrade a half set

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Tell us something.: Highland piper interested in (potentially) getting into uilleann piping to go along with my love of pub music.

CITES, Ivory, and trying to upgrade a half set

Post by make_fast »

I have a nice Peter Hunter half set that I picked up used (in the US) and have been learning on and enjoying for the past little while. A year and a half (or so) ago I went ahead and put down a deposit with Sam Lawrence with the idea that I could get regulators added when my time came up in the queue. Was also going to have him make a few reeds, etc. All well and good.

I was not really thinking about it at the time, but now that I'm likely moving up in the queue...I'm fairly (99%) sure that the mounts are ivory. Sam verified that Peter only used ivory in his sets and based on the time it was made, this is a Peter set.

Which has me scratching my head. I was poking around on the various CITES websites and there is no "Hey I'm just sending this for repair/refurbishment by the maker of the pipes" section to make it easy for me to send them to Sam. BUT I figured someone here (I may check with the Highland Pipers as well) may have some experience in this realm.

Is shipping ivory in this way just a non-starter? I could probably re-budget, try to sell my current half set and purchase a full set from Sam if necessary.

Has anyone successfully shipped an instrument across the Atlantic for such a purpose?

Anyone a CITES expert with insight? All experiences welcome! I've mostly read the horror stories...

IF I can get these to Sam I will probably have him redo the mounts in a non-ivory option!! I'm not even sure how these made it into the US - they aren't that old, just the late 90's (but also would have been pre-crackdown).
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Tell us something.: Uilleann Piper. Gramophone Enthusiast. Piping Art Collector. Co-chair South Wales Pipers. Board Member NPU. Chorister Côr Meibion Morlais.
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Re: CITES, Ivory, and trying to upgrade a half set

Post by RLines »

I've received CITES certificates on several occassions to travel with historic sets of pipes. It's not nearly as difficult or frightening as internet forums often make out. I've always had good experiences and no real problems.

It doesn't really matter the purpose for which you're shipping the pipes (other than the difference between commercial and personal items). What matters is that the ivory is crossing international borders. The main issue for getting CITES approval is documenting the age of the ivory. This may be a problem in your case, as I don't know whether you can access documents to verify the source of the ivory and/or the year the pipes were made? That's really the key step towards applying for CITES.

My undertanding is that domestic legisation here in the UK (Ivory Act 2018) stipulates that on musical instruments ivory must be pre-1975 to be legal. But as the sets I travel with are all well over 100 years old I've never really had to sweat the finer details of dates, so I could be mistaken.

Feel free to DM me if you like and I'm happy to talk you through my CITES experiences.

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