Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post your questions or seek advice on anything relating to swords

Moderators: Big Lazy, Moderators

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:53 pm

Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Morkai » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:17 pm

hi, I'm praying there is someone here that can help answer our questions.

My husband I are returning home to the UK having been living in the USA for 9 years. We have trimmed our weapons collection down pretty substantially but are left with the few sentimental and personal loves. This includes a traditional hand forged Katana and Tanto that I purchased for him when we first met 11 years ago. We are right at the end of our moving process and are flying to the UK next Thursday so don't have much time left. I was unaware up until Monday of the 2008 regs about curved blades and now, I am to put it mildly, stressing.

I will be sick to my bones if this blade gets destroyed by customs officials. If I knew they would just send it back I wouldn't be quite so pained, I could have it returned to a friend.

I have pored over the regs and am confident it is a legal blade but our only defence is that it is traditionally hand forged. We are not members of a martial arts school. Not yet anyhow.

Our shippers are trying to work some things out but are concerned that it is going to hold up an entire shared container which I understand. Has anyone shipped anything like this via UPS or Fed-ex or any other carrier from the States? Put it in your checked luggage and come through customs with it?

Here is linkto the collection we wish to bring back with us, 3 bigger pics than the one below. None of the rest are on the restricted list, they are all legal straight blades albeit none hand forged, just generally cheap stuff we have picked up.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Victoria

Image

Owner7771

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Owner7771 » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:28 pm

I would advise shipping them via UPS so as to avoid mount plessent customs clearance house I couldnt tell from the picture yet does the katana have a clay line on it if not customs would probably try to claim its not a traditional forge. Particularilly at mount pleasent. Please be aware you may have a substansial import duty put on these items

User avatar
Geordie Ross
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:48 pm
Location: South Shields Tyne and Wear

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Geordie Ross » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:33 pm

They all look fine to me but I'm no expert, as the katana is traditionally hand forged your in the clear,
The rest aren't curved blades or concealed blades so I think it's all in order :) :mrgreen: although you may need proof that it is traditionally hand forged, such as makers marks or brand. But I doubt it will go that far (fingers crossed)

Ps, owner7771 she won't need import duties as she has not ordered them whilst living in the Uk.... :|

Pps nice collection by the way :)

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Morkai » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:46 pm

Hi thanks for the replies,

These will be imported as Used Personal effects so should not get stung with import tax but even if they were it'd be worth it. If customs was to refuse a UPS delivery would it get sent back or destroyed?

There is a temper line which I believe is the same thing as the clay line. Sorry can't turn the darn flash off on our camera.

Image

User avatar
Geordie Ross
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:48 pm
Location: South Shields Tyne and Wear

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Geordie Ross » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:52 pm

No customs don't destroy anything as it would be seized and is classed as "evidence" for a later court appeal but that won't be necessary as I doubt it will be seized.
And you won't need import duty!
That's a very nice katana! I think the hamon (temper line) looks acid enhanced like the Paul Chen pieces, can I ask where you got it?

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Morkai » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:34 pm

I do not have any documentation with the blade that I can lay hands on. I can go to the store I purchased it from, small antiques store locally that has always had a nice blade collection. I can probably get the smith's information from him, he knows his blades pretty well and he was proud of these particular ones. He hasn't had any in from the maker in a long time though, small town, not much call for $700 blades except from nerds like us :) Of course that won't be till Monday now, yay for thanksgiving holidays. It's been messing us up all over the place.

Yes, while you were replying I found the 'what to do if things are seized' public notice. It is good to know that we can go to a court hearing and plead our case. I was thinking that it would just be chunked on the spot and you are not given any recourse. Yeah, I'm a true cynic sometimes :) - I am feeling somewhat better about this now and as long as UPS doesn't want to throw a hissy fit about shipping it I think we will go this route.

And thanks for the compliments, when I find out the smith I will let you know. I know he is American but that's all I remember. It is a truly beautiful blade and I will never ever forget the look on my husbands face when he opened the box and saw the silk sash and realised what I had gotten for him, that's why it means so much to us. He had an inkling as I had purchased the Tanto (same smith) for him for valentines day beforehand, that was awesome enough, especially as I had wrapped a plastic toy katana in the silk instead for that one :mrgreen: . He thought the toy one was cool and has kept it to this day :) When I pulled the Tanto out from behind me and gave that to him he was suitably shocked/happy :) The katana? Yeah, I won his heart for life that day :mrgreen:

User avatar
Geordie Ross
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:48 pm
Location: South Shields Tyne and Wear

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Geordie Ross » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:51 pm

I doubt ups will argue if you tell them you have read up on all relevant info, as the responsibility is on the owners head not the shippers (I think). Also I think you will probably only need the smiths name and company adress and contact info if customs decide to take things further BUT legal expenses may cost you a small fortune if it does go to the courts.
I'm not sure but I think there's a strike soon in England and the border officials MAY be on strike with them, which could work in your favor or against you, but don't quote me on that as I have no idea when the strike is.
Is your katana blade folded steel? I though I could just make out slight folded patterns in one of the pictures :p

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Morkai » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:14 pm

Regarding potential court costs, aye, but worth it to us if it comes to that. If they find in our favour there will be no costs thankfully.

Strikes? awesome :roll: I know UKBA has been having some delightful issues going on recently.

IIRC the blade is folded yes.

User avatar
Geordie Ross
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:48 pm
Location: South Shields Tyne and Wear

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Geordie Ross » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:21 pm

Very very nice katana ;) *jealousy*

User avatar
the blade master
Posts: 2957
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:46 pm
Location: here there and everywhere

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by the blade master » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:54 am

a clay line did i just read that right owner your going to get a right ar*e kicking
when some one we all know and love reads that id run for the hills for it if i were you
bloody hell a clay line he says you had best wear your tin hat around your backside if i were you
you can of course ignore this advice at your own peril :roll: :roll: :roll:

morkai hi
either lawrence the site owner will or moon will be along soon they,ll let you know whats what regarding bringing in your blades into the uk
sorry im not more helpfull at the moment
mick

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Morkai » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:12 am

Geordie Ross wrote:Very very nice katana ;) *jealousy*
Smile, thank you :)
the blade master wrote:a clay line did i just read that right owner your going to get a right ar*e kicking
when some one we all know and love reads that id run for the hills for it if i were you
bloody hell a clay line he says you had best wear your tin hat around your backside if i were you
you can of course ignore this advice at your own peril :roll: :roll: :roll:

morkai hi
either lawrence the site owner will or moon will be along soon they,ll let you know whats what regarding bringing in your blades into the uk
sorry im not more helpfull at the moment
mick
LOL, well I had to go re-educate myself, I am horrible at remembering all the names, except the mune, I'll always remember that as it was what my husband named our first cat. The hamon, I feel edumacated now :)

And thank you, I swear if this lot gets through I will promise to make the majority of our purchases from here. I've been looking through the site and they have some awesome stuff. At a minimum we are going to need a bunch of wall mounts :)

User avatar
Loz
Blades UK
Posts: 1855
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 9:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Loz » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:58 am

Hi Morkai,

If you've told HMRC there is a samurai sword on your contrainer or other weapons it will be searched and entire shipment seized but they aren't monsters and you should immediately apologise, plead ignorance and ask them to take and destroy the sword on arrival, - you need to do this now before the shipnent arrives, they usually charge a small fee and it can take them up to 10 days, probably longer at this time of year.

If you've not said anything I highly recommend you do, if they find the sword, things will be worse, they have destroyed entire shipments because of 1 or 2 prohibited items.

Forget the handmade defence, it won't meet the UKBA definition as it's not folded.

If you had my weekly experience of dealing with HMRC/UKBA you'd go take option 1 in an instant.

User avatar
the blade master
Posts: 2957
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:46 pm
Location: here there and everywhere

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by the blade master » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:01 pm

hi morkai
is that a gil hibben/ united cutlery warbird bowie i see there just above the axe on the
right hand side just asking as im a avid gill hibben collector myself.
all the best mick

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Morkai » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:03 pm

Loz wrote:Hi Morkai,

If you've told HMRC there is a samurai sword on your contrainer or other weapons it will be searched and entire shipment seized but they aren't monsters and you should immediately apologise, plead ignorance and ask them to take and destroy the sword on arrival, - you need to do this now before the shipnent arrives, they usually charge a small fee and it can take them up to 10 days, probably longer at this time of year.

If you've not said anything I highly recommend you do, if they find the sword, things will be worse, they have destroyed entire shipments because of 1 or 2 prohibited items.

Forget the handmade defence, it won't meet the UKBA definition as it's not folded.

If you had my weekly experience of dealing with HMRC/UKBA you'd go take option 1 in an instant.
The shipment hasn't left yet, it's all still sitting in a pile in my living room and the sword in question is in my lap. That's why I was asking about the UPS route. I have already told my shippers we will not send the weapons on the container. It is definitely not worth the risk of holding up the entire container which is of course shared with other people.

I will have to check on the folded but I am almost 100% sure he told me it was. This was a $700 sword purchased 11 years ago, I'll grant being a small town antiques store I was probably overcharged somewhat. I will contact the shop to find who crafted the blade before we send it. It is definitely hand forged I know that much. None of the paperwork I have seen from HRMC has mentioned folded, merely hand forged. "The weapon in question was made before 1954 or was made at any other time according to the methods of making swords by hand" - C2-26 Offensive Weapons pdf available from customs website.

If we have to leave it here, become members of a school that teaches the katana for 2 years and then get it sent over we will. We would both love to do that anyway.

Been looking at the Paul Chen blades and I think this might be one of his although I could swear the shop owner said it was an american smith, Chen is of course in China. The price certainly ties up. The only differences between my blade and the one in this picture is a fractional difference in the gold highlight on the tsuba and the kashira, I don't know if these are commonly available accessories but the dragon itself is identical. The menuki is different and it doesn't have the blood groove. The blade itself looks identical in marking and colouring and hamon to the Paul Chen Practical Plus Katana you have listed on the main site which are folded blades according to Paul Chen's site.

I take it any makers mark will be completely hidden on the tang? I certainly will not send this unless I can provide documentation for it.

Image

Morkai
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:53 pm

Re: Desperate for advice, trying to import from USA to UK

Post by Morkai » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:12 pm

the blade master wrote:hi morkai
is that a gil hibben/ united cutlery warbird bowie i see there just above the axe on the
right hand side just asking as im a avid gill hibben collector myself.
all the best mick
Yes it is :) Always loved his stuff :)

Post Reply