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United States v. Olivotti & Co.

7 Ct. Cust. App. 46, T.D. 36309 (1916)

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United States v. Olivotti & Co.

United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals

7 Ct. Cust. App. 46, T.D. 36309 (1916)

Facts

The Tariff Act of 1913 provided that manufactured marble objects that were imported into the United States were subject to a 45 percent ad valorem duty and that works of art, including sculptures made of marble, were subject to a 15 percent ad valorem duty. Dictionary definitions and relevant caselaw defined sculptures as works of art that were carved out of solid materials and that resembled natural objects. An importer (defendant) brought a marble font and two marble seats carved by a sculptor into the United States. The font included columns that were decorated with carved leaves. The customs collector assessed a 45 percent duty on the marble font and seats, finding that they were manufactured marble objects. The importer appealed to the board of general appraisers (the board), arguing that the marble font and seats were sculptures that were dutiable at 15 percent. The board held that the font and seats were sculptures, reversed the customs collector, and assessed a 15 percent ad valorem duty. The United States government (plaintiff) appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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