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HQ 087109

August 16, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087109 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 7117.90.5000

Mr. John Moriarty
Import Manager
Spearhead Industries, Inc.
9971 Valley View Road
Minneapolis, MN 55344

RE: Dancing Halloween Skeleton Pin

Dear Mr. Moriarty:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, dated April 17, 1990, requesting the tariff classification of a Dancing Halloween Skeleton pin under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample of the merchandise was submitted along with your request.


The sample article, designated as Item No. 6165, consists of a plastic Halloween skeleton pin. The article is approximately three inches tall. It has a bar-pin attached to the back and is designed to be worn on clothing. A pull string at the bottom causes the arms and legs to move in an upwards direction when pulled. The importer has provided information which indicates that the article will be marketed and sold as a Halloween costume accessory.


Whether the sample merchandise is classified as a festive article under Heading 9505, HTSUSA.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

Heading 9503, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[o]ther toys." Customs has previously held that only comic buttons with humorous words or sayings are properly classified as "other toys." Although the subject pin provides minimal amusement, it is not of a comical nature nor does it feature humorous words or sayings -- it is simply a novelty pin which does not meet the requirements for classification in Heading 9503, HTSUSA.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides for festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles, as well as parts and accessories for these articles. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 9505, HTSUSA, state that the heading covers the following:

(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, which in view of their intended use are generally made of non-durable material. They include:

(1) Decorations such as festoons, garlands, Chinese lanterns, etc., as well as various decorative articles made of paper, metal foil, glass fibre, etc., for Christmas trees (e.g., tinsel, stars, icicles), artificial snow, coloured balls, bells, lanterns, etc. Cake and other decorations (e.g., animals, flags) which are traditionally associated with a particular festival are also classified here.

Articles classifiable in Heading 9505, HTSUSA, generally tend to have no other function than decoration.

Although an article may have the design or ornamentation appropriate for use during a specific holiday, it may still not qualify for classification in the festive article provision. In the instant case, the skeleton pin is a decorative article which by its design and ornamentation is intended to be used during the Halloween season. It is clear, however, that the class or kind of goods to which this pin belongs is not traditionally associated with Halloween. Pins, as a class of merchandise, are used all year long, and may have a wide variety of motifs, many of which would not be considered festive. Consequently, the instant merchandise does not meet the definition of a "festive article" under Heading 9505, HTSUSA.

Heading 7117, HTSUSA, provides for "[i]mitation jewelry." Legal Note 10 to Chapter 71, HTSUSA, states that "[f]or the purposes of heading 7117, the expression 'imitation jewelry' means articles of jewelry within the meaning of paragraph (a) of note 8 above. . . ." Legal Note 8(a) defines "articles of jewelry" as follows: "Any small objects of personal adornment (gem-set or not) (for example, rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings, watch chains, fobs, pendants, tie pins, cuff links, dress studs, religious or other medals and insignia). . . ." A brooch is defined in the Jeweler's Dictionary, 3rd edition, 1976, published by Jewelers' Circular Keystone, as: "A piece of jewelry to be worn pinned to clothing, as at the neck or shoulder, on the breast or hat, or in the hair." The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd college edition, 1985, Houghton Mifflin, defines a brooch as a "large decorative pin or clasp."

In the instant case, the dancing skeleton pin is not materially different from the pin-on novelty buttons that Customs has classified as imitation jewelry articles. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 086630, dated July 3, 1990 (a Santa Claus lite-up button and a Frankenstein lite-up button were both classified as imitation jewelry articles in subheading 7117.90.5000, HTSUSA). The sample merchandise contains a bar-pin clasp which is the type of clasp routinely affixed to jewelry pins or brooches. Moreover, the article is intended to be worn pinned to clothing for display as an article of personal adornment. Accordingly, it is Customs view that an article such as the sample merchandise which is primarily worn as a decorative article of jewelry, does not meet the definition of a "festive article" under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, and is properly classified in the provision for "imitation jewelry" in Heading 7117, HTSUSA.


In view of the foregoing analysis, it is the determination of this office that the dancing skeleton pin is properly classified under subheading 7117.90.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for imitation jewelry, Other, Other, valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts. Articles classified under this provision are subject to a rate of duty of 11 percent ad valorem.


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