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HQ 958360

October 13, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:F 958360 K


TARIFF NO.: 9701.90.00

Ms. Rose Although
Customs Administrator
Midwest of Cannon Falls
32057 t Avenue
P.O. Box 20
Cannon Falls, Minnesota 55009-0020

RE: Tariff Classification of a Skiing Memorabilia Shadow Box

Dear Ms. Although:

Your letter of July 17, 1995, requesting a classification ruling concerning a wall hanging described as a Skiing Memorabilia Shadow Box, was referred by the National Commodity Specialist Division, N.Y. (812752), to our office for a direct response. Our ruling follows.


The sample from the Philippines consists of a shadow box made of wood measuring 13 1/4 inches by 10 1/4 inches and 2 1/2 inches in depth. The front of the box has an opening with a 1 1/2 inch frame similar to a picture frame. There is a slot in the top surface to permit the insertion of a glass pane. The back of the box contains two metal hooks for wall hanging. The back surface on the inside of the box is covered with what appears to be a white rough paper backing, the color of snow. Secured to the white background by glue are a variety of miniature decorative items; a flocked paper in the shape of a mitten, a pair of wooden snow skis, a pair of skis poles, a metal toboggan, a resin pine cone and branch and corner holders for the insertion of a postcard.


The issue is whether the article as described above is a collage classifiable in subheading 9701.90.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


Subheading 9701.90.00, HTSUS, covers collages and similar decorative plaques, with a free rate of duty. The HTSUS does not define the term "collages".

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, states that collages and similar decorative plaques provided for under subheading 9701.90.00, HTSUS, consist of:

[B]its and pieces of various animal, vegetable or other materials, assembled so as to form a picture or decorative design or motif and glued or otherwise mounted on a backing, e.g., of wood, paper or textile material. The backing may be plain or it may be hand-painted or imprinted with decorative or pictorial elements which form part of the overall design. Collages range in quality from articles cheaply produced in quantity for sale as souvenirs up to products which require a high degree of craftsmanship and which may be genuine works of art.

For purposes of this group, the term "similar decorative plaques" does not include articles consisting of a single piece of material, even if mounted or glued on a backing, which are more specifically covered by other headings of the Nomenclature such as "ornaments" of plastics, of wood, of base metal, etc. Such articles are classified in their appropriate Headings (headings 44.20, 83.06, etc.). (Emphasis in original.)

Webster's New World Dictionary of American English (Third College Edition) 1988, at page 273, defines the term "collage" as an "art form in which bits of objects such as newspaper, cloth, pressed flowers, etc., are pasted together on a surface in incongruous relationship for their symbolic or suggestive effect."

The above sections of the EN and the definition for the term "collages" were cited in Customs Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL) 952578, dated April 8, 1994, and 957621, dated July 12,1995, and are useful guidelines for determining classification in subheading 9701.90.00, HTSUS. In those cases, it was determined that the articles were not collages. However, in the current case, the Skiing Memorabilia Shadow Box, is a decorative plaque designed for wall hanging and consists of bits of pieces of various materials glued on a backing of wood and paper to form a decorative skiing design. Quality and a high level degree of craftsmanship are immaterial.


The article known as a Skiing Memorabilia Shadow Box, as described above, is classified as a collage and similar decorative plaques, under other, in subheading 9701.90.00, HTSUS, free of duty. Sincerely,

John Durant, Director

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