Transporting fine art and collectables

You have spent a great deal of time and money growing your collection of fine art and collectables. So, if you plan to ship any of your pieces, you need to ensure you take the proper precautions to protect your valuables during each step of the process.

If pieces from your collection are improperly packaged for transport, they may be exposed to damaging risks. Therefore, if you choose to prepare your pieces for shipping yourself, consult an art conservator before beginning the process. In addition to receiving expert advice, review the following pieces of guidance to ensure that your fine art and collectables are protected during transport:

  • For smaller pieces, first wrap the items in a layer of acid-free paper, and then wrap them in bubble wrap before placing them in a well-padded box. After sealing the box, consider placing it in a slightly larger box with padding, since it is less likely that a larger object will get lost in transit
  • For non-uniform or particularly heavy pieces, consider having foam core packing pieces made to ensure the item is secure
  • For framed paintings, prints and lithographs, wrap the items in acid-free paper, sandwiched between dense and durable foam boards, and then wrap them in cardboard and tape them securely
  • For all pieces, provide a personal identification code or phrase so that you can identify the contents of each parcel. If necessary, clearly label the box with ‘Fragile’ and ‘This Side Up’ stickers. Never label boxes with ‘Antiques’, ‘Collectables’ or ‘Fine Art’, as this could encourage theft

Regardless of how well you believe your fine art or collectables were packaged, the only guaranteed way to preserve the value of your item(s) is with proper insurance. Before you purchase any type of carrier insurance, review your current policy for your collection to verify that you are not already insured for transporting.

If you do not plan on transporting pieces of your collection very often and you are not already covered, consider purchasing carrier insurance. However, if you will be transporting pieces of your collection regularly, you should consider purchasing fine art and collectables insurance that is tailored to your specific needs.