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Shipping Art Internationally: 6 Essential Tips for Beginners – 2024 Guide

Art cannot be overemphasized. Today’s contemporary art scene brims with works for any taste and budget. Paintings, prints, sculptures, designer watches, and fine clothing are just some of the most popular. With people massively investing in the art industry, the international market continues to thrive at an unseen rate. However, many art lovers are still limited by their unawareness and so-called neophobia.

The main concern is, of course, international shipping that wears the expression of a huge conundrum for the vast majority of inexperienced folk. If you have shipped art at least once in a lifetime, you must probably know how challenging it may be. Nonetheless, there is nothing particularly hard in that process. If you are a big admirer of art and need to ship it internationally, you will find below some super handy tips that will help you figure out solutions to all your problems and embrace the benefits of global shipping. Let’s get started!

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Where to start?

Shipping art on a global scale might fairly have the most diverse reasons in practice. The most prevailing one is a gift for your friends or relatives. On the flip side, if you are an emerging art collector, you may be interested in international shipping when buying fine art from art auctions and galleries.

Depending on the nature of shipping, the process won’t change markedly, though there are still nuances that must be considered. Let’s start with the tips that will be a good reminder for you to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls.

Tips for shipping art internationally

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  1. Draw up a budget, preparing for the worst

As opposed to domestic shipping, international services cost a pretty penny, which is totally understandable, considering the whole complexity of the process. The shipping charges are not the only thing affecting the price. Do not forget about packing and crating, hiring professional shippers, art insurance coverage, and other services you might need.

For safety purposes, reserve some money. All sorts of emergencies may appear, and you should be prepared for them. Even though there are no many catastrophic cases, better safe than sorry. Plus, the operation of airlines – if you pick the air shipping – is not stable due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  1. Pack your art but better hire someone who can pack it for you

The next essential tip is about packing. There are two common options: a traditional one and an alternative one. The first one implies reaching out to professional art packers. Having chosen this service, you can spare some time to meet up with friends or have a cup of tea while specialists do their work.

Such a method might seem unreasonable, especially when you buy or ship a small piece of art. Well, that makes sense. In such a case, you can try an alternative way and pack it yourself. It does require some training, but if you deal with a relatively inexpensive artwork, you can try to handle this task on your own. At least, you won’t lose much money.

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  1. Think of added security of the shipment

This refers to wooden crates, the second protective layer that goes right after cardboard. Crating is indispensable when it comes to international shipping. If to compare with packing, crating is the domain of niche workers, so it is not recommended that you build a crate yourself, even if you have some skills (and screwdriver is not a new word for you). A custom wooden crate is the frontline security, and its quality extremely affects safety.

  1. Find a professional shipping company

The question of “do it myself vs. hire professionals” strikes again, and it is always up to you what is right up your alley. Most often, working with expert companies pays off because of the number of substantial benefits you get. So, why do you need a professional art shipping company?

Art shippers come across as experienced workers who provide a bunch of art logistics services. A bunch is a keyword here. The most favorable way to ship your art is to hire a reputable company, such as the NYC-based Fine Art Shippers, which will take care of art packing, crating, shipping, insurance, and more. Thus, you get all the required services in one.

Art handlers will deliver your package to a freight company, either a seaport or airport, depending on your preferences. There, the most boring part of shipping takes the stage. Ladies and gentlemen, meet paperwork!

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  1. Be ready to face lots of paperwork

Being patient does not sound like a tip, but what you might need is to prepare all the documents if you aim at succeeding in the first attempt. The list would differ from country to country, but the most common documents include export invoices, customs declaration forms, export licenses, and EORI (if you are shipping within the borders of the European Union). If you have no desire to waste time on it, consider the services of freight forwarding agents. They can marginally simplify the process of filling out the paperwork. A professional art shipping company can also handle all the paperwork for you.

  1. Get an art insurance

Art insurance is one more important part of the art shipping process, which is, however, often underestimated by newbies. Who knows what nasty things may happen to your art in transit? Yes, there is standard insurance provided by a freight company, but, frankly speaking, it is futile if you ship high-dollar art. For these reasons, third-party art shipping insurance comes into play. You can find a lot of legal companies on the market, which would be happy to help you with arranging the appropriate insurance coverage.

All in all, shipping art overseas is a comprehensive task, but it should not be a stumbling block for those who want to buy artworks. With the aforementioned tips, you can open new horizons in the art world, which will allow you to acquire the favorite pieces of art and become an essential part of the global community. Good luck!

About Matt Durham