Beautiful white antique couch in an all white room needing to be packed and shipped for a customer.

How To Pack And Ship Antiques

Packing And Shipping Antiques

Whether you're buying antique furniture from an antique dealer or are being given one as a family heirloom, shipping antique furniture can be tricky. Unlike conventional furniture, it is much harder if not impossible to replace these rare items if damaged in transit. Because of their scarcity, it is vital that you do everything in your power to protect your antique, as it is crucial that you know how to pack and ship antiques to get it to your destination safely.

Get It Appraised

Antiques are a significant investment that can be one of your most valuable possessions. To protect this investment, you will first want to get your antique appraised. Appraisals determine the actual dollar amount that your antique is worth in case of an unfortunate accident. Even though some antiques are impossible to replace, you are better off getting the dollar amount in the event of an accident. But that is only possible if you get your furniture insured.

Get It Insured

In the event of an untimely accident, you will want your antique furniture insured. Antiques are investments, and insurance protects your assets with proper compensation if lost or damaged. Some accidents are due to carelessness or fragility due to the antique's age and condition, making moving them almost impossible without any structural damage. When shipping high-value fragile antiques, being prepared is wise if the furniture is damaged.

If moving yourself, then:

Select High-Quality Packing Materials And Boxes

Just because you aren't a professional doesn't mean you shouldn't pack like one. When packing items yourself, do your research and use the best packing materials you can afford.

Items You Will Need:
  • Styrofoam
  • Glassine (if you have any glass)
  • High-quality boxes (the smallest your antique will fit in if applicable)
  • Corner protectors
  • Moving blankets
  • Bubble wrap

How To Pack

How to pack antiques depends on the type of antique furniture. Is it small enough to fit in a box? Fit it into the smallest box your antique will fit in, and add bubble wrap or styrofoam inside the box. Both of these will prevent your antique from sliding around too much while in transit. Does it have glass? You will need to wrap the glass in glassine. Is it a big dresser or table or any other antique furniture that has sharp corners? Then you will need to use corner protectors.

How to Ship

Many people do not know how to ship antiques. If your antiques are heavy, you will want help lifting them. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. The people helping could be friends, family, or local movers that you are willing to pay for the job. After packing, if you cannot fit your antiques into your vehicle, rent a proper-sized truck. After securing the rental, you will need to place the moving blankets down first. The blankets protect your furniture if you accidentally hit something hard inside the van or truck.

Next, you will need to lift the furniture into the vehicle carefully. Depending on the size, weight, and shape, you may need three or more people. After properly loading the rental, you will need to tie down the antique furniture. There are various ways to do this, but the goal is to keep the antiques from moving while you are driving. You could use moving straps, rope, or cords to tie the antique furniture to the vehicle and secure it in place. After that, drive carefully, and once you reach your destination, repeat the steps in reverse. Again, you will want help with your antique furniture so have whoever's helping you at your destination ready ahead of time.

How To Select Professional Antique Shippers
  • When looking for professional antique shippers, you should look at the following qualifications:
  • Experience: How many years moving antiques?
  • Licenses: Are they licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • Services: Do they offer packing for the particular type of antique furniture you are shipping? Do they wood crate?
  • References: Always check online reviews and ask for any references.

Once you have reviewed these credentials and qualifications, please select one to your liking and ensure you have gotten your antiques appraised and insured before they pack and ship anything. Accidents with professionals are unlikely but still possible, so be prepared ahead of time.

While professional packing and shipping services cost more than doing it yourself, it saves you peace of mind and is far more convenient and safer than learning how to pack and ship antiques yourself.

Shipping Antiques Cross-Country

When shipping an antique cross-country, you should use professional antique shippers to do so. When relocating your antiques yourself, many of the same precautions listed above still apply; however, as the distance increases, the frequency of your antique furniture being damaged increases. When driving your antique furniture cross-country, your cost increases, leaving little difference between doing it yourself or hiring a professional.

Shipping Antiques Internationally

The best way for anyone shipping antiques internationally to avoid damage is to use a professional antique shipper. Shipping internationally is outside the scope for most people. Certain materials, labels, and forms must be used and filled out correctly, or your items could be rejected and left in limbo at customs. Furthermore, professionally packing your furniture is a better decision because ocean travel is much harder on the antiques than when shipped by freight. For this reason, most experts ship antiques and furnishings in wooden crates. Consult with experts on whether or not you should use a wood crate for your antique furniture.

Ship Smart is here to help. We have shipped antiques for prestigious auction houses like Bonhams and Butterfields and helped private collectors ship pieces affordably and safely. Call our staff to get a free estimate if you need to send your antiques cross-country or internationally.

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