Tips for shipping fine art and antiques

Every move has some hard parts. Furniture is notoriously hard to pack and ship. But, almost nothing compares to shipping fine art and antiques. With so many fragile, yet valuable items, it’s natural to feel a little afraid. One mistake can lead to huge damage to your precious collection. So, you need to carefully prepare your art and antiques. From packing everything properly to taking care of shipping. Here are some tips that will help you have a successful move with your fine art and antique collection.

Customs regulations

The first step in shipping fine art and antiques is to find out about customs regulations. You need to have all the facts before you start the moving process. The last thing that you want to happen is for your collection to be stuck in between countries.

Most countries have regulations that regulate import and export of fine art and antiques. And there is usually extensive paperwork required. Also, you will probably have to pay a certain amount of import taxes. So, when you start to prepare for moving internationally, the first step should be researching. Make sure you are familiar with regulations and have all the proper paperwork. You also need to have an approximate estimate of how much is the import tax for your collection. That way, you won’t be caught off-guard. And your move will be that much easier.

Learn the rules for shipping fine art and antiques.
Learn all the custom rules!

Find a quality company for shipping fine art and antiques

The next step in shipping fine art and antiques is to find a reliable shipping company. It doesn’t matter if you are moving locally or internationally. You will want to find a moving company that you can rely on. You don’t want to have to worry about your collection.

There are many shipping companies that are reliable and trustworthy. Companies, like Kokusai Express, that will pay close attention to your collection. And in order to find companies like that, you, again, need to do some research.

How to find a good shipping company

When it comes to shipping fine art and antiques, you want only the best. You want a reliable moving company that employes only the best. And in order to find such a company, you need to pay close attention to details. Doing a thorough background check on a company can save you a lot of trouble. As well as a lot of time and money.

Check the company out before shipping fine art and antiques

You should start by checking the moving company’s website. Find all the details that you can about them. Are they registered? What are their hiring policies? Do they offer insurance? Find out where they are located.

Once you do, make sure they are where they actually say they are. You can visit that location with Google Street View or by actually going there yourself. It’s always better to discuss details in person when shipping fine art and antiques.

Google front page on a laptop to research shipping fine art and antiques.
Visit the company on Google Street View as part of your research!

The last important thing that you need to do is to check out their online reviews. There are many review sites online that you can visit and search for them. Look for reviews that are as close as possible to your situation. That way, you will have a pretty good idea of how they operate. And whether or not you can trust them with your fine art collection.

Make a list of your collection before shipping fine art and antiques

Before you start packing, and certainly before you hand over your collection, make a list. The list should contain every little aspect of your fine art and antiques. First, list all your items. Then, start adding specifics next to each item. Write down if there is any damage present. And if you know it, write down the value of every piece. Alongside that, make sure you take plenty of photos of your artwork before you start packing it.

Hire an appraiser

If you are not exactly sure how much your collection is worth, you should hire an appraiser. That way you will know exactly how valuable your items are. It’s an important step when filing for insurance. And you will be able to notify your movers of the value of your collection.

Pack your collection with care

Packing is one of the most important parts of shipping fine art and antiques. You want everything to be very well protected. There are many online guides on how to properly pack your artwork. But, in short, you need to follow a few important rules:

  • Use shipping tubes if your artwork is not framed.
  • If it is, make sure you properly protect the frame. Broken glass can easily tear the art beneath it. Also, make sure you protect the corners.
  • If you are expecting a longer shipping time, avoid wrapping everything in plastic. Plastic traps moisture and can cause mold. Instead, wrap your artwork and antiques in a soft cloth.
  • Avoid acidic materials. Artwork can age much faster when it comes into contact with acids. So, always use acid-free packing materials.
  • Use hard-shell crates for shipping fine art and antiques. And make sure you use separators in between each piece.

Get insurance for your fine art and antiques

Another important thing that you need to do when shipping fine art and antiques are to insure them. Accidents can happen. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault. But, you will want to be, at least financially, protected against that. So, find a good insurance company and arrange an inspection. Your insurance premium greatly depends on the value of your collection. If nothing else, with insured cargo, you will have peace of mind during the shipping process.

A hand holding a house.
Get insurance when you are shipping all of your home belongings!


While shipping fine art and antiques is never easy it can be done. With a reliable moving company and a good amount of preparation, your move will be successful. And you will not have to worry about any damaged or lost items. Even if the worst happens, you will have insurance to cover all your loses. So, no matter if you are moving locally or internationally, these tips will help you in your relocation.

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