This was the third comment on the story:
Ah yes, any 'classic' instruments. Like an 18th century harpsichord. What? No serial number? Or a Guarnerius violin from the 17th century. Or my handmade guitar dating from 1983 which originally had an ivory nut. OK, it does have a number: 24. It was the 24th guitar by the maker. He passed away, so no records of manufacture available. I didn't use to worry about being busted, but since these stories I certainly do! I love the US, but travel that involves passage through the US I avoid whenever possible. The law enforcement in the US is out of control, and if you become a "person of interest," you haven't a hope in hell. They will load you with so many supposed infractions that you may well be grateful to get off with a mere misdemeanor and a $17,500 fine. What madness!
This is absolute nonsense, written by the WSJ in an attempt to undermine our environmental precautions. Any 'classic' instruments that were manufactured before such restrictions went into place, can be readily verified and authenticated through serial numbers (or methods of manufacture, age of finish or hardware.) Not one musician that I know, who is currently an owner of a vintage guitar, has ANY worries about being busted over any of their instruments. This is nothing more than a scare tactic to confuse the issue.
UPDATE: I apologize for getting emotional in this post, but the mere possibility of the forces of the state confiscating one's musical instrument is such an unpleasant thought that I over-reacted.