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1930s Ocelot Coat - legal to import?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Jenny123, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

    I recently bought a very beautiful vintage coat from an antiques market in London, i was told it is 1930s Ocelot. There are no labels in the coat, and after a bit of searching online i am inclined to believe it might be more likely to be Geoffroy's Cat.

    I will be travelling to Canada in a week's time and I can't quite find a straight answer online as to whether it is legal for me to bring this coat with me.

    It is not for commercial use, and from what i can gather from my reading it should be legal to bring into the country if it is pre-1977... obviously i have no documentation to prove anything of the sort, nor can i prove the animal that the fur is from.

    Any help anyone could give would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator Staff Member

    Hi, If you can show some photos of it I may be able to confirm the type of fur you have.
    Geoffroy's Cat and Ocelot are both listed under Cites appendix 1 which includes species that are threatened with extinction. A Cites Export permit or a Cites Re-export Certificate from the country of export/re-export and a Cites Import permit from the country of import would be needed in order to bring any species listed under Cites appendix 1 into Canada.
     
    The Vintage Merchant likes this.
  3. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Caryn! nice to see you! and thanks for your expertise!
     
  4. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Mary :hiya:. Nice to see you too and I'm happy to help anytime I can.
     
    The Vintage Merchant likes this.
  5. MissRita

    MissRita Guest

    If it was me, I'd leave the coat at home. Why ask for trouble and you never know if you're gonna get that one damn Customs officer who happens to know everything about the Fish & Wildlife policy and immediately recognizes the cat fur regardless what specific type it is. It happened to me once with a snakeskin bag but as luck would have it, it was priced very low so the officer assumed it was just the texture (only saw the invoice) and let's just say I'm a good liar.

    The thing is, chances are it's illegal to bring into another country even if it's for personal use and that's a chance you shouldn't take.
     
    vgirl likes this.
  6. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    I wouldn't try it either. Just not worth a certainly beautiful item that could get you into very, very hot water I think.
    This is why I'll never buy any kind of snakeskin article abroad (not that I haven't seen great stuff any time I go to Vienna) and why I don't take my small fake Chanel bag anywhere across a border. I've had a few close calls with customs too - not regarding illegal items, but regarding the value of what I was bringing back home - sometimes I just got so many presents (which would all have been bought secondhand - but try explaining that!), or talk about a bag full of wrapped Christmas pressies from my friend and her family for me and my family - that the officer thought I should need to know what was in there and what it was worth! It's also been proven that already through the baggage screening in the sorting process, customs can get alerted to certain things in your suitcase without your knowing it. There's a few more things that will get custom's attentions - like a plastic bag or anything that says "I went shopping abroad" (a poster roll is enough!), and there's also the matter of how you dress, what flight or where from you may have arrived. Getting off a plane from Singapore in the early morning meant they were busy looking for all the people bringing all sorts of illegal things from Asia, and I would probably not have been picked out coming from New Zealand through Singapore - I was not dressed like a beach tourist - but I had bought so many Christmas presents that I was way over the allowed amount and went and paid my customs fees anyway - there was no way I could have explained all this stuff away. Coming in from a late evening city flight means customs officers who have nothing much to do and lots of people who walk through with hand baggage only. So the few people like me who have to wait for checked baggage and then walk through one by one like me are sure to be asked what they have on them... Still, all these calculations are just calculations. In the end, you never know.

    Karin
     
    vgirl likes this.
  7. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with both Karin and Rita. Canada requires the certificates I previously mentioned for any furs that are listed under Cites Appendix 1 or greater whether you are a seller or just a traveler with the fur in your luggage. Those guards and many of the fish and wildlife employees can recognize a spotted fur but most of them are not educated on how to determine the age therefore they have to assume the fur is from a time after the animal type became red listed if the certificates are not present to say their ok for export, import, re-export, and re-import.
     
  8. MissRita

    MissRita Guest

    LOL about the wrapped presents. I was in US Customs once when 5 ladies (70+) came in all in a huff. Get this, they had been pulled in because 4 of them had wrapped bday presents in the trunk for the 5th (they were joining friends in the US for her party) and they refused to tell the officer at the booth what was inside them and spoil the surprises for the bday girl. They were pulled in and proceeded to have a little party in the seating area where the bday girl could open her gifts, albeit in front of an officer. There were a lot of people in there and no one was looking at the ladies - they were glaring at the officer for being such a jerk. Those ladies had balls of steel let me tell you, the officer even told them they could be arrested for defying a customs official and they kept right on opening gifts (handmade woolens to boot, nearly peed my pants laughing). I was so proud of them. :USETHUMBUP:
     
  9. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I've taken a few photos which i'll upload shortly, Caryn (or anyone) if you could help identify it for me it would be much appreciated :)

    I phoned the UK department for wildlife import/export today (AHVLA) and was told that yes i definitely do need a CITES certificate to re-export this, and i also need to have a furrier or clothing expert of some kind look at the coat and verify that they believe it to be pre-CITES (1977?). Its rather inconvenient as i am supposed to be leaving the UK in 7 days but i think i might leave the coat here with family until i get the necessary documentation. I'm not really willing to part with it!

    Does anyone have any idea how much this coat should be worth? It is in great condition apart from expected wear on the edges of the lapels (evident in photographs) and one small repair job in the leather on the shoulder, which is not visible unless very closely inspected. Oh, also the fur on the underside of the sleeves appears to have a bit of wear as the guard hairs have been worn away and the texture of the fur is therefore not shiny and fluffier in appearance.
     
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  10. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

    There is a shadow cast across the lower half of the garment - this is not a change in colour of the fur, but rather a table which was in the way of the light when i took the photo!
     
  11. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

  12. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

  13. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

  14. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

  15. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

    Also, the lining is in great condition but obviously has aged.
    No labelling whatsoever - perhaps it has been re-lined at some point?
    And it is a UK size 8-10. Fits me beautifully, how ironic!
     
  16. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

  17. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth Queen of Tech Staff Member

    I believe the relevant date for the UK is March 1947 - at least for items made earlier than that, you don't need a certificate to sell them within the EU. It may be different for exporting outside the EU and not for commercial gain. However DEFRA/AHVLA should be able to tell you the relevant date for what you are proposing to do.

    I'm no expert on fur coats, but stylewise that looks later than 30s to me, and quite possibly later than 1947, which may restrict what you can do with it. It looks like a 50s swing coat to me (ETA thought I'm not sure about that collar shape). If it is later than 1947, it's possible the seller broke the law by selling it to you even within the UK, without a CITES certificate.

    I could be wrong about the age of the coat though, someone else here may be able to give you another opinion. Like I said, not my area.

    Regarding value, we don't give pricing advice here, but all these restrictions do limit it's resale value.
     
  18. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

    Thanks Ruth. Yes... I'm beginning to think my best option with this coat might be to leave it in the UK with a family member and just make sure i take the opportunity to wear it whenever i am back!

    And yes i think you are right, the antiques dealer who sold it to me has definitely broken the law on some level - even if this is pre-1947, he hasn't supplied me with any evidence to say so.
     
  19. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth Queen of Tech Staff Member

    I think, if the seller was truly confident it is pre 1947, then they don't need to have given you any documentation. But they need some expertise to be sure of that - they may have been over hopeful in their dating but not truly accurate, or they may have been deliberately dishonest about the 30s date to try and get around the law, or simply unaware of the law. If an expert later rules that it is post 1947, such as when you try and the documentation to export it, then the person who sold it to you has broken the law, even if they weren't aware of the fact.

    I'd be interested to hear other's opinions on the date of the coat (though be aware they are only opinions).

    I should add I'm not a lawyer, and this is just an opinion from what I learned by researching these issues - I may be wrong.
     
  20. Jenny123

    Jenny123 Registered Guest

    Hmm. I bought it from a dealer at London's Spitalfield market thursday antiques fair. They had by far the best selection of pieces in the market, what i would call "proper" vintage pieces, really special quality textiles and such. I did mention that i would be going to Canada and was concerned customs might pull me up on the fur, but they shrugged it off saying they fly with suitcases of furs all the time. No doubt they knew exactly what the laws for re-exporting are.

    I might get an "expert" to look at it at some point in the future, and if all seems well apply for the CITES certificate to have it re-exported. I move between countries too often at the moment for it to be worth all the back-and-forth and paperwork. In the meantime, i guess my grandma could wear it on her weekly trip out to Tesco if she liked!!
     

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