The World Customs Organization has the unenviable job of trying to categorize everything that is traded across borders.
Every few years they update their classification system, adapting to the development of new products and changes in trade patterns.
Poignantly, this means the elimination of archaic goods. The list of categories eliminated between 1992 and 2007 is a record of a lost world:
- cigar or cigarette holders
- bow ties
- headgear of furskin
- vinyl record players
- magnetic tapes
Snails narrowly escaped the cut — obviously a good decision, considering that international snail movement is significant enough to feature on this very blog. So did opium, dictionaries & encyclopaedias and silver tableware — items you could imagine sitting in the baggage compartment of the Orient Express, alongside the cigar holders and the fur hats.
Among new commodities: the ape-trade, immortalized a century ago by John Masefield, is belatedly recognized with classifiation 010611: live primates.