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HQ 083164

March 20, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083164 jlj 831263


TARIFF NO.: 4823.90.8500

Ms. Sheila Crider
5, Rue de Lauradey
3300 Bordeaux

RE: Reconsideration of New York Letter 831263; handed-painted envelopes

Dear Ms. Crider:

You requested a reconsideration of New York letter 831263 of August 10, 1988, which classified certain hand-painted envelopes under the provision for other articles of paper: other: other: other: other: other, in subheading 4823.90.8500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), dutiable at the rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem. You submitted samples of the hand-painted envelopes along with your letter.


You are an American artist living and working in France. You paint on paper sent to you from the United States. The painted paper is then cut and made into envelopes. You state that each envelope is unique. Your envelopes have been refused by the post office for being too decorative.

You ask that the instant envelopes be classified as works of art. Alternatively, you ask that they be classified as stationery or related items at a lower duty rate.


What is the tariff classification of these hand-painted envelopes?


As New York letter 831263 indicated, an item classified as a work of art must be created by a professional artist of the free fine arts. The provision for paintings executed entirely by hand in Heading 9701, HTSUSA, specifically excludes hand-painted or hand-decorated manufactured articles. Inasmuch as the instant envelopes are hand-painted manufactured articles (i.e., articles of utility), they cannot be classified as works of art in Heading 9701, HTSUSA.

There is a provision for envelopes in subheading 4817.10.00, HTSUSA, but the Explanatory Notes for Heading 4817 state that "This heading covers paper stationery of the kind used in correspondence...." In addition, the courts have held previously that the provision for envelopes is limited to articles which are suitable for use in holding or containing letters or documents in their transmission through the mails. Radio Corp. of America, RCA Victor Division v. United States, 30 Cust. Ct. 406, Abs. 57238 (1953), aff'd by United States v. Radio Corp. of America, RCA Victor Division, 41 CCPA 137, C.A.D. 541 (1953). Inasmuch as your envelopes have been rejected by the post office, they cannot be classified as envelopes for tariff purposes.

Inasmuch as there is no more specific provision for these envelopes, they are classifiable as other articles of paper in subheading 4823.90.8500, HTSUSA.


The instant hand-painted envelopes are classified in subheading 4823.90.8500, HTSUSA. New York letter 831263 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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