FEDEX takes the gloves off, when Russian Embargo is concerned

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March 8, 2018 – In July 2017, nearly the complete House of Representatives voted for the imposition of a new embargo on Russia. This embargo was thought to punish Russia for its interference with the presidential elections, the annexation of the Crimea and its human rights violations. FEDEX is really serious about implementing this embargo. How hard it tries, you will read within the following emails.

The following emails concern an object similar to this one. From Lanz sale 165 (2017), No 424.

The object concerned is an ingot made of raw silver of the Novgorod type which was produced ca. 13th/14th cent. AD by local authorities.

February 22, 2018, 11.38 AM: Representative of FEDEX to recipient
I’m working on an International Shipment that is currently being held at U.S. CUSTOMS. In order to make entry on this Shipment, I will need the following information:
1.) Please verify the country of manufacturer for all coins.

February 22, 2018, 3.05 PM: Recipient to representative of FEDEX
Please contact the auctioneer for the details on the coins. He should be able to verify the country of origin of the coins and confirm provenance that they have been outside their country of origin since prior to the import restriction dates.

February 22, 2018, 4.11 PM: Representative of FEDEX to recipient
Our origin station has contacted the shipper a few times and he is stating that he can not provide anymore information than he already has. I have to know before 10.00 AM tomorrow where the coins were originally manufactured, regardless of what countries they have been through. 

February 22, 2018, 4.26 PM: Recipient to representative of FEDEX
A little more notice would be helpful next time. Here are countries to best of my knowledge:
Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Syria, Turkey.

February 22, 2018, 4.33 PM: Representative of FEDEX to recipient
We just received your email address today from the shipper. … We will get this processed. Thank you for your assistance.

February 22, 2018, 4.43 PM: Representative of FEDEX to recipient
Looking at your previous emails with the country of origins listed, the coin manufactured in Russia will require manufacturer name and address. This is a sanctioned country and the manufacturer information is required on all imports to determine if they are on the list.

February 22, 2018, 5.27 PM: Recipient to representative of FEDEX
The item from Russia is not a coin, it is a bare ingot that hasn’t been manufactured into a coin. It is from Novgorod area. Not sure what else you want to know?

February 22, 2018, 11.53 PM: Representative of FEDEX to recipient
We still need the manufacturers name and address for the bare ingot. We have to make sure that they are not on the Sanction list.

February 23, 2018, 5.43 AM: Auctioneer to representative of FEDEX
The manufacturer are the various mints.

February 23, 2018, 8.32 PM: Representative of FEDEX to auctioneer
Lot 14 Russia principality, Russia is a sanctioned country we can and will not import and release any items into the U.S. that were manufactured in Russia without a Russian Manufacturer name and physical address per U.S. Customs regulations. The shipment will be set up for return. If the full Manufacturer name and address can be provided, before the shipment leaves the Fedex hub, we can request a stop on the return and go ahead with the processing of your shipment.

February 24, 2018, 11.59 AM: Auctioneer to representative of FEDEX
At this time 700 years ago there was no Russia, it’s an ingot in silver cast by local rulers in the area that is now called Ukraine. It has absolutely nothing to do with Russia. So call it: Country of origin Ukraine.

February 26, 2018, 5.01 PM: Senior representative of FEDEX to auctioneer
My apologies, however, Ukraine is also on the Sanction List. Therefore the manufacturer name and address is still required. The shipment will have to return tomorrow, if the information is not received, no later than 10 AM CST as this is past the 5 day return policy.
If the information is received and the manufacturer is not on the sanctions list, I may be able to stop the return. No guarantee.

February 26, 5.26 PM. Auctioneer to senior representative of FEDEX
It was made by a local Scandinavian silver smith in 1, Mainstreet, New Castle.

We might doubt whether the representative of FEDEX understands this joke. That’s really asked too much. In fact, when this silver bar was produced, more than two centuries had gone by, since the Vikings had piled out of the territory of the later USA. Perhaps they were confronted with an ancestor of the FEDEX representative at immigration who insisted on seeing a valid visa before she let them enter the country.