CLA-2; CO:R:C:T 089825 ch

Robert H. Schor, Esquire
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10016

RE: Classification of a coin presentation case from Canada; similar container; jewelry box; GRI 2(a).

Dear Mr. Schor:

This is in response to your letter of April 15, 1991, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a coin presentation case. Please reference your client, Universal Package Corporation.

Our decision takes into account your original binding ruling request, your views as expressed at a November 22, 1991 meeting with Customs representatives, as well as your supplemental written submissions of December 27, 1991 and April 28, 1992.

In your supplemental submission of December 27, 1991, you requested that we classify two additional coin boxes. Please be advised that the scope of this ruling is limited to the submitted sample, which was the subject of your original binding ruling request. We are unable to rule on the additional containers without additional samples.

In addition, based on your correspondence of February 25, 1993, it is our understanding that you wish to withdraw your request for a ruling on the marking requirements for the coin box. Therefore, we will not address the marking issues raised in your submissions. However, pursuant to 19 CFR 177.6, the Customs Service will retain all materials submitted to us which relate to this request.


The submitted sample is a fitted coin container. It is composed of a metal plate and paperboard base material over which a velvet man-made textile material has been placed. The interior is fitted with two satin pads, with a 5/8 inch wide ribbon located diagonally across the lower left hand corner of the front cover satin pad. Sandwiched between the pads is a plastic insert, 1/4 inch thick, which has a cut hole in the center to receive a coin of certain dimensions. The exterior of the case is ornamented with a metal die cast Heraldic Eagle, brass corners, as well as date and identification plates. The container is closed by means of a friction type metal clasp and post.

In New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 862417, dated May 7, 1991, the finished coin box, as well as the coin box imported without its plastic insert, were classified under subheading 4202.92.9020, HTSUSA, as a container similar to a jewelry case. You have asked us to reconsider this finding.


What is the proper tariff classification of the completed coin presentation case?

What is the proper tariff classification of the coin presentation case imported without the plastic insert?

What is the proper tariff classification of the plastic insert imported separately?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for:

Trunks, Suit-Cases, Vanity-Cases, Executive-Cases, Briefcases, School Satchels, Spectacle Cases, Binocular Cases, Camera Cases, Musical Instrument Cases, Gun Cases, Holsters and Similar Containers; Travelling- Bags, Toilet Bags, Rucksacks, Handbags, Shopping-Bags, Wallets, Purses, Map-Cases, Cigarette-Cases, Tobacco- Pouches, Tool Bags, Sports Bags, Bottle-Cases, Jewellery Boxes, Powder-Boxes, Cutlery Cases and Similar Containers, of Leather or of Composition Leather, of Sheeting of Plastics, of Textile Materials, of Vulcanised Fibre or of Paperboard, or Wholly or Mainly Covered with Such Materials or with Paper. (Emphasis added).

By its terms heading 4202 encompasses the containers specifically enumerated. In addition, containers similar to these exemplars are also classified under this heading.

The Explanatory Notes

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN when interpreting the HTSUSA.

You assert that the EN to heading 4202 place a specific limit on the containers that may be regarded as similar to a jewelry box. In support of this theory, you direct our attention to the following language, found at page 613:

The term "jewellery boxes" covers not only boxes specially designed for keeping jewellery, but also similar lidded containers of various dimensions (with or without hinges or fasteners) specially shaped or fitted to contain one or more pieces of jewellery and normally lined with textile material, of the type in which articles of jewellery are presented and sold which are suitable for long-term use. (Emphasis added).

You infer from this language that in order for a container to be similar to a jewelry box, it must be "specially shaped or fitted to contain one or more pieces of jewellery." As a coin case is not specially fitted to hold jewelry, you conclude that it cannot be classified as a container similar to a jewelry box. This conclusion is based on the premise that the phrase "similar lidded containers" found in the cited passage explicates the term "similar containers" found in heading 4202. However, this is not the case.

The EN you cite clarify the term "jewellery boxes," and not the term "similar containers," found in heading 4202. This passage makes it clear that the term "jewellery boxes" encompasses not only the traditional compartmentalized jewelry cases used to store numerous articles of jewelry, but also the cheaper lidded containers in which jewelry is often presented in and sold with at a department store. So long as a container is "specially shaped or fitted to contain one or more pieces of jewellery," it meets the definition of a "jewellery box." Thus, the phrase "similar lidded containers" refers to a class of "jewellery boxes." On the other hand, the term "similar containers" as used in heading 4202 refers to containers which are not "jewellery boxes" at all. Therefore, the text you cite places no limit on containers that may be regarded as similar to jewelry boxes.

Ejusdem Generis

Coin cases are not specifically provided for in heading 4202. However, they are classifiable in this heading if they are ejusdem generis with the enumerated containers. Based on your review of the heading, you believe that the common trait shared by these containers is that they are either designed to be used during travel to carry personal effects, or are designed to be carried on the person during travel.

By way of contrast, you assert that coin cases are used primarily to display and market coins for sale, and to store and protect these coins after purchase. These uses are to be distinguished from the travel goods of heading 4202. To the extent that it is possible to use coin cases for travel purposes, you imply that this is a fugitive use.

In addition, you reason that consumers expect articles of heading 4202 to be re-usable and are purchased separate from their contents. On the other hand, consumers purchase coins with the expectation of receiving the case as a premium item, ancillary to the coin purchase. The coin cases are either thrown away after the purchase of the coin, or are re-sold with the coin upon subsequent transactions. Based on the foregoing, you conclude that coin cases are not ejusdem generis with those articles itemized in heading 4202 and cannot be classified therein. We disagree.

The containers of heading 4202 are not limited to travel goods. For example, the traditional jewelry box is primarily designed to store, display and protect jewelry in the home, and not to transport these effects from place-to-place. Similarly, the primary use of a cutlery case is to protect, display and store its contents, as there is little need to transport the silverware. Although these articles may be used to transport their contents, this is a fugitive use.

As noted above, the EN to heading 4202 state that lidded containers "of the type in which articles of jewellery are presented and sold" are also to be classified as jewelry boxes. These containers are the premium articles often sold with jewelry at retail outlets. They are used to display their contents in an attractive setting both before and after purchase. The consumer may dispose of this container after purchase, or may retain it. In sum, the uses you ascribe to coin boxes bear a remarkable resemblance to those of a jewelry box. Furthermore, jewelry boxes are no more or less likely to be used to transport their contents than are coin cases. For these reasons, a coin case is ejusdem generis with the articles of heading 4202, and is a container similar to a jewelry box.

Competing Provisions

In your written submissions, you have cited numerous alternative classifications for the instant article. These include:

1. Heading 3923, articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics;

2. Heading 3926, other articles of plastics;

3. Heading 4819, cartons, boxes, cases, bags and other packing containers;

4. Heading 4823, other articles of paper pulp, paper, paperboard;

5. Heading 6305, sacks and bags, of a kind used for the packing of goods;

6. Heading 7310, boxes and similar containers, of iron or steel;

7. Heading 7326, other articles of iron or steel;

8. Heading 7612, aluminum cans, boxes and similar containers;

9. Heading 7616, other articles of aluminum;

10. Subheading 8306.30, photograph, picture or similar frames.

The applicable section, chapter, heading notes and explanatory notes exclude most of these provisions from consideration when heading 4202 describes the merchandise. See Chapter 39, note 2(h); Chapter 48, note 1(g); Section XI, note 1(l); EN to heading 7310; EN to heading 7326; EN to heading 7612. As we find that heading 4202 is applicable to the instant coin case, these provisions are precluded from consideration.

We will assume, only for the sake of argument, that heading 7616 describes the coin case. In this event, heading 4202 and heading 7616 would be competing provisions. Heading 7616 is a basket provision for other articles of aluminum and applies to any article of aluminum not more specifically described elsewhere in the Nomenclature. GRI 3(a) states that when goods are classifiable under two or more headings, the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. In this case, heading 4202 is more specific as it more clearly identifies the coin case.

Finally, subheading 8306.30, which encompasses photograph, picture or similar frames of base metal, does not describe the coin case. Only the plastic insert could even conceivably be viewed as a "frame," and it is not composed of base metal. The aluminum component of the coin case is a container rather than a frame. Hence, heading 8306 is inapplicable.

Classification of the Container and the Insert Individually


In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 951028, dated March 3, 1993, we discussed the classification of presentation cases imported without inserts. In that ruling, we referred to GRI 2(a), which states:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or failing to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

We then applied GRI 2(a) to a jewelry box imported without its insert:

We believe that a presentation case without an insert and/or internal lining has the essential character of such a case in a finished condition. The essential character of these cases is established by the protective frame of plastic, metal, or paperboard...This conclusion is unchanged where the item to be placed in the case is a piece of crystal, gold coin, or perfume bottle.

Hence, the unfinished jewelry box was classified as if it was the completed article.

The same principle is applicable with respect to the subject merchandise. The essential character of the coin container is imparted by the nature of its protective frame, and not, as you suggest, by the fact that the coin would slip out of the container without the plastic insert. Accordingly, the coin case imported without its plastic insert shall be classified in heading 4202. Plastic Insert

You propose heading 3923, which provides for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics, as the proper classification for the insert imported separately. The EN to this heading state that:

This heading covers all articles of plastics commonly used for the packing or conveyance of all kinds of products. The articles covered include:

(a) Containers such as boxes, cases, crates, sacks and bags (including cones and refuse sacks), casks, cans, carboys, bottles and flasks.

The heading also covers cups without handles having the character of containers used for the packing or conveyance of certain foodstuffs, whether or not they have a secondary use as tableware or toilet articles.

(b) Spools, cops, bobbins and similar supports.

(c) Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures.

These exemplars indicate that heading 3923 is generally reserved for articles used for shipping purposes. Although it is possible ship a coin in the insert, its primary purpose is to display or store coins. Therefore, we conclude that heading 3923 does not encompass this item.

Heading 3926 is a basket provision for plastic articles not elsewhere specified in the Nomenclature. As the insert is not described elsewhere in the tariff schedule, it is classifiable under this heading.


The finished coin presentation box and the coin presentation box imported without the plastic insert are classifiable under subheading 4202.92.9020, HTSUSA, which provides for jewelry boxes and similar containers: other: with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: other: other, other: of man- made fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 670.

The plastic insert imported separately is classifiable under subheading 3926.90.9095, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics: other: other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are the subject of frequent negotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at the local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director