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HQ 087766

December 18, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087766 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 7117.90.5000

Joel K. Simon, Esq.
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Christmas Pin; Festive Articles; Heading 9505; Imitation Jewelry

Dear Mr. Simon:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, dated August 14, 1990, on behalf of your client, Russ Berrie & Company, Inc., requesting the tariff classification of a Christmas 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 articles, designated as Item No. 1948, consist of pins with various Christmas motifs. The front of the pin is made of molded polyvinyl chloride and a metal bar-pin is affixed to the back to fasten the pin to a person's clothing. The pins are designed in the shape of a Christmas tree, a Christmas wreath and a sprig of holly leaves with red berries. Printed on the side of the box are the words "Christmas Charms." The pins will be made in China. After production, the pin will be sent to Hong Kong where it will be packaged in small cardboard boxes with see- through plastic covers.

You maintain that the Christmas pins are classifiable under subheading 9505.10.2500, HTSUSA, which provides for Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Christmas ornaments: Other: Other or in the alternative under subheading 9505.10.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other: Of plastics.


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.

In the instant case, there are three headings of the nomenclature which may be eligible for classification of this article.

First, Heading 9503, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[o]ther toys." Customs has previously held that among pins and buttons 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.

Second, 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 articles:

(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 Christmas pin is a decorative article which by its design and ornamentation is intended to be used during the Christmas season. It is clear, however, that the class or kind of goods to which this pin belongs is not traditionally associated with Christmas. 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 satisfy the requirements for classification of an article under the "festive article" provision in Heading 9505, HTSUSA.

Finally, 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 Christmas 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); HRL 087109, dated August 16, 1990 (a skeleton pin was classified as imitation jewelry 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 satisfy the requirements for classification of an article under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, and is more 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 Christmas 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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