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HQ 952655

February 9, 1993

CLA-2-CO:R:C:F 952655 K


TARIFF No.: 4909.00.4040

Ms. Cleta J. Magyar
Impact International, Inc.
1515 N. Federal Highway, Suite 208
Boca Raton, Florida 33432

RE: Tariff Classification of Puzzle Cards With A Message Send In An Envelope

Dear Ms. Magyar:

The following is in response to your request of August 13, 1992, for the classification of merchandise called "Love um's 2 Puzzle Cards" with envelopes. A sample was submitted.


The merchandise consists of two rectangular cards six by four inches, and approximately one sixteenth of an inch in thickness, that contain printed colored pictures on one side and the other side is blank. The cards are perforated so that they can be separated into seven or eight irregular shaped pieces. The purchaser is instructed to "Break Apart The Puzzle Pieces For Sending" and "Your Friend Solves The Puzzle To Get The Message". The puzzle may be quickly reassembled with no difficulty. Messages, such as, "You're My Psychedelic Sweetie" are printed on the cards. Also printed on the cards are the words "TO:" and "From:" for the convenience of the sender of the messages. Envelopes are provided to send the pieces by mail.


The issue is whether the Puzzle Cards are classifiable as puzzles, postcards, or as printed cards bearing personal messages.


Subheading 9503.60.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the

United States (HTSUS), provides for puzzles other than crossword puzzle books. Headquarters Ruling Letter 088333, dated March 19, 1991, concerned a four and three quarters by seven inch rectangular jigsaw puzzle assembled and displayed inside a sealed envelope made of transparent, flexible plastic. The puzzle was made of 70 irregularly shaped, interlocking pieces with a picture on one side. A sheet of paper prepared like the blank side of a picture postcard, with spaces for a stamp, message and addressee, was glued to the back of the plastic holder. While the merchandise could be sent by mail in an envelope, it was not possible to send it by itself as a postcard. The ruling held that the merchandise was a puzzle rather then a postcard.

Heading 4909.00, HTSUS, provides for printed or illustrated postcards; printed cards bearing personal greetings, messages or announcements, whether or not illustrated, with or without envelopes or trimmings. The instant merchandise is similar to the prior ruling in that it is not possible nor is it intended to send the printed matter by itself in the mail as a postcard. We are satisfied that the merchandise is not classifiable as a postcard under subheading 4909.00.2000, HTSUS. However, subheading 4909.00.40, HTSUS, also provides for printed cards bearing personnel greetings, messages or announcements other than postcards.

The merchandise in the prior ruling is distinguishable from the merchandise in the instant case. Each of the seventy pieces in the prior sample (except for the corner pieces), contained a combination of three or four male and female interlocking connections to make and secure a puzzle. The prior sample depicted a pictorial representation consisting of approximately fourteen mounted horsemen with colorful uniforms marching in the background of a building or palace similar to the scene of the changing of the guard. The various colors and configurations would require time and patience to put the seventy pieces together. On the other hand, the instant sample is easily and quickly put together to arrive at the source of the message in the center piece of the card. The cards do not have interlocking male and female connections to hold the card together like a puzzle. The card provides the means for identifying the sender and the recipient of the message.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, a guideline for use in determining classification under HTSUS, states that heading 4909 covers "Christmas, New Year, birthday or similar cards..." and "the term `similar cards' is to be taken to include cards used to announce births or christenings, or for conveying congratulations or thanks." Further, "the printed cards may incorporate ... novelty features...". We conclude that the merchandise in the instant case consists of printed novelty cards bearing personal messages.


Novelty printed cards consisting of several pieces that are quickly assembled in the form of a puzzle, that bear personal messages, that identify the sender and the intended recipient, and are designed to be sent by mail in enclosed envelopes, are classifiable in subheading 4909.00.4040, HTSUS, as other printed cards bearing personal messages, whether or not illustrated, with or without envelopes, dutiable at 4.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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