The U.S.A. has not changed its strict import rules on elephant ivory
products (e.g., ivory keytops). Ivory products must be over 100 years
old. You must present proof of that (a signed invoice from a dealer
will work) plus a "Pre-CITES Permit" from the exporting country.
("CITES" = "Convention on the Importation of Endangered Species").
This is a form obtainable (for around $100) from the country's CITES
authority which confirms the ivory pre-dates the CITES Convention date
of December 28, 1973.
That's right: you must not only demonstrate that the piano is 100 years
old, you must also go to some lengths to prove it's over 30 years old.
Most signatories to CITES require only that the item pre-dates the
treaty. I've had two pianos in a government warehouse for two months
due to CITES complications. The pianos are over 100 years old, and I
do have a CITES Permit.
The problem? The permit is dated after the date the shipment entered
the U.S. My choice may well be surrendering the keys or returning the
pianos to Europe.
Previously, the crate containing these same pianos was destroyed by
German Customs who suspected pipe bombs. These turned out to be piano
rolls. They charged me $1700 to repair the crate (for which I had paid
On other occasions, I've had no problems at all with imports. As my
Customs Broker says, "Customs can do anything they want", so we can
only hope for mercy!
West Chester, PA USA