Sourcing antiques like a pro isn’t simply knowing where to buy antiques: Interior designers, antique dealers, landscape architects and other design professionals not only source antiques in Europe, they also learn how to ship antiques from Europe to the US. I spoke to a room of design professionals on How to Source Antiques like the Pros with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian at an event at the D&D Building hosted by The Robert Allen Duralee Group.
(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)
One of the most asked questions at the event was,
“How do I get it home?” The Antiques Diva fine arts and antiques shipping partner has tried to make it as easy as possible.
How do I ship antiques from Europe to the US?
1. How do I get my purchases to my shipper?
When you’re buying antiques overseas and make a relationship with an antiques shipper – they will give you a Purchase Order book and tags/stickers. Each item you buy –you write your purchase in the Purchase Order book. For large items, you can either pay for them at the time of purchase or have our shipper pay for them on your behalf before they do collections. In the PO Book you number each item you buy – you write on a tag the corresponding number and tag all your purchases. You put tags to put on each item you buy. Note the use of the word “buy” – when you put the tag on a piece, that piece is considered sold whether you’ve paid for the item or are waiting for your shipper to pay later on your behalf! When you write the PO – you’ve written your name and the vendor’s name, and that is a legally binding commitment to buy that piece. Even when no money has been exchanged, the purchase is made. The good news is that the vendors HOLD the item for you while you have time to arrange international bank transfer and coordinate your collections. The bad news? Vendors get REALLY upset if they’ve held an item for several weeks on PO and you cancel the order. Canceling an order can result in that vendor never being willing to sell to you again.
When you have your shipper pay on your behalf at the end of your buying tour – you tally all your purchases and make one bank transfer to the shipper. Your shipper will then pay each vendor money on your behalf.
Antique sourcing pros select their shipper in advance – this saves them time and money, but many of the antique shows in Europe have shippers on hand for last minute and unexpected purchases.
2. What does international shipping cost?
Shipping isn’t cheap. We can’t estimate your shipping until after you’ve made your purchases and we know how much crating and wrapping is required to protect and ship your purchases or how many places you’re going to buy at – and thus how many collection points you’ll have to pay for.
Go big or go home. Buying just a few items is the most expensive way to ship.Where you save money is when you buy a full container. It’s hard to estimate the cost of a full container – but it can cost about $15,000 – for maybe 40-50 pieces of furniture. Buying and shipping in bulk is when and where you save money. If you spend $100,000 buying antiques in Europe on pieces that would have cost $300,000 to $500,000 in the USA – at that point the cost of shipping a container is negligible!
Our Antiques Diva shipping partner has a warehouse in Antwerp so they can store your antique purchases and you can buy over time and consolidate your shipments.
3. How long does it take to ship?
You’ve bought your purchases, you’re excited to get them! Be prepared that it is going to take a long time. Your shipper will probably say you’ll have your goodies in a month because it’s about 25 days at sea. That doesn’t consider:
- Your money has to be transferred to your shipper
- Your shipper has to collect your purchases from your vendors.
- Your shipper has to wrap and crate your purchases
- Your items have to clear customs
Some countries take longer to ship from than others. I always say expect 2 months, but be prepared for 3 months to get your antiques delivered. Interior Designer Garrow Kedigian recommends taking clients antique shopping early in the design process.
4. What do I have to worry about?
Our Antiques Diva shipping partner tries to make it as simple as possible. The reality is, shipping is always difficult. The reality is, something can always go wrong with shipping.
5. What if a piece is damaged in shipping?
Make sure you have insurance, either through your shipper or your own American insurance.
6. How does customs work?
You can choose your own customs broker if you already have a relationship with someone or your shipper can appoint a customs broker, and the fees are nominal. During our talk at the D&D, Garrow Kedigian tells our audience, “Don’t be afraid. It’s not tremendously difficult.” In New York he always works with the same customs broker. When buying or shipping antiques it’s all about relationships. Relationships get you the best prices – but also perhaps more importantly when shipping gets you the best customer service.
7. Antique shipping tips from the pros
- Carry back the small items in your carryon, says Robert Passal – even if it weighs 100 pounds! Interior designer Justin Shaulis shared that he bought an albino tortoiseshell and hand-carried it because import laws changed while he was in the buying process!
- Antiques are not taxed, so if you have documented antique pieces you will not pay an import tax.
- Robert Passal often shops with a friend and finds that consolidating shipments saves money when shipping antiques. Remember the more you buy, the more you save on shipping! And consider consolidation. Garrow Kedigian reminds you, “if you’re willing to wait, your shipper can often consolidate his shipment with another client’s because shipments come regularly to the US.”
Do you have questions about how to get your antiques home? Contact us for international fine arts and antiques shipping information and to get a quote:
Antiques Diva Shipping Services
REQUEST A QUOTE
FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49 MOBILE: +32 (0)478 01 01 01
If you’d like to book an antiques buying tour in Europe, Asia or the US let me know what you’re looking for and when you want to shop, and we will create a custom, 1:1 antiques shopping tour that meets your requirements and budget!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Last Spring I took journalist Alison Engstrom of Rose & Ivy Journal on an antique tour of Paris and Provence. I was beyond thrilled with her October 3- part series, The Thrill of the Hunt, A Provençal Dream and We Run for Antiques.
Last week I went through the painful process of updating my iPhone – it wasn’t as seamless as I’d hoped! But during the process I discovered these gorgeous photos I took while we were shopping the antiques market – these l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue produce market photos are simply too stunning not to share!
Antiques Diva® tours provide design inspiration: of course we track down the best antiques and negotiate the best prices – but on our custom, 1:1 antique shopping tours our expert, local Diva Guides introduce to all that is special about the region – art, culture, terroir, and bien sur, foods! Design inspiration is all around you. Join me on my culinary souvenirs of a weekend antiquing in Provence…
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is one of 12 antiques shopping tours The Antiques Diva offers in the north and south of France. Our Antiques Diva Guide picks you up at your hotel and takes you to the second largest antiques flea market in France (after the Paris Flea Market) where essentially the entire town center is filled with antiques! We custom plan a route based on your style and budget, maximizing your time and money. Our Guides translate and negotiate on your behalf, and help you ship your purchases home using Antiques Diva fine arts and antiques shipping partner or we will liaise you with a preferred shipper to get your items home. Additional visits outside of town in the neighboring countryside are also added in based upon your wish list. Ideal for both the trade and tourist.
Here are my photos from the l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market that have been waiting to be rediscovered on my iPhone…
Toma, The Antiques Diva
Spring Market 2018
March 20, 2018
Laguna Design Center
Los Angeles, California
RAD Group Showroom
Details Coming Soon…
Details Coming Soon…
Dressing With #DivaStyle
ANTIQUES and CONTEMPORARY DESIGN:
DESIGNING with ANTIQUES in the DIGITAL AGE
MODERATOR: Gary Inman
Eric Cohler, Toma Clark Haines, Alexa Hampton, Jason Oliver Gary
Today’s interiors are about story-telling and no element adds more to the story than a beautifully crafted antique object. Join ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Magazine and antiques experts: Eric Cohler, President of Eric Cohler; Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co; Alexa Hampton, President of Mark Hampton; Jason Oliver Nixon, Co-Founder of Madcap Cottage and Gary Inman, VP of Hospitality at Baskervill, as they discuss the relevance of antiques in the age of technology.
How to Shop Antiques at High Point Market
Friday, April 13, 2:00pm
The Point (on Commerce Ave next to the Transportation Terminal)
Moderators – Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva and Chad James, Chad James Group
With tens of thousands of antiques to peruse each High Point Market, how do you even know where to start your hunt for the perfect piece? Join the Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, and interior designer Chad James in a roundtable discussion as they share their vast knowledge of antiques and shopping at High Point Market – and answer your questions along the way!
Ciao, Bella! Today Antiques Diva Guide Désirée is taking us antiques shopping in Rome! Whether you’re shopping for vintage fashion, antiques or seeking design inspiration, Italian design is guaranteed to deliver! From dodging Vespa’s in the hustle and bustle of Roman and Renaissance cities to cruising the softly undulating hills of the Tuscan countryside, Italy is brimming treasures just waiting to be uncovered. This is the perfect country to plan a multi-day, bespoke Italy antique tour, going from Rome to Milan to Florence to Venice to Siena or a hilltop village in between; finding the best prices on mid-century pieces, contemporary ceramics and glass and a gorgeous selection of rustic farmhouse and more traditional antiques. Our Italy Antiques Diva Guide will take the guesswork out of where to go, creating well-researched itineraries for you, as she picks you up from your hotel and escorts you through this enchanting nation, translating and negotiating on your behalf the entire time. Because our guides are locals, they have relationships with vendors and know exactly where to take you based on your style and budget, maximizing your time and money while on tour. Today, Rome Antiques Diva Guide Désirée is taking us behind-the-scenes on a recent tour.
Toma, The Antiques Diva
Early in February, I spoke at New York City’s D&D Building and I was asked by a room full of interior design professionals, “Where is the trend heading for European now?” My response: If you’re only going to shop one place, for one-stop shopping the best place to buy antiques is England! In January I was in London twice – first for the London Art, Antiques and Interiors Fair, and then again later in the month for meetings to plan upcoming special events.
England has become a far more affordable travel destination for Americans in recent years due to some negative news: Brexit led to an economic downturn. Here’s another tip: According to USAToday, ‘Airbnb is thriving in London with an average rental rate of $115 per night, and sister-site TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals are in no short supply.’
One of the best examples of “one-stop shopping in England” is the 29th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair in March.
Today is the Best Time to Buy Antiques in the UK
Brexit has had an impact on buying antiques in the UK. In short, England has gone on sale for American buyers! Now is the best time to buy antiques in England.
If you’re only going to shop one place, I would say shop in England. England is one-stop shopping. The best of France is already there. For hundreds of years, the Brits have been scouring the world collecting antiques.
Gail McLeod is our English Antiques Diva Buying Agent and she might just be the most connected woman in the world of antiques. She also is owner of Google’s top-ranked antiques fair website Antiques News & Fairs and is Editor in Chief of the Antiques are Green website and vice chair of the new Antiques are Green Trade Association. She is co-founder of Antiques Young Guns. Her career in the antiques trade began as manager of Pennard House Antiques in Bath – the UK’s largest export trade collective for decorative antiques in the fabled days of frantic business.
Here in England we are blessed with a complete melting pot of inventory which has arrived on our shores from the Colonies and there has never been an occasion when I have been stumped by a request from a Diva client! Spanish Colonial period pieces for a Hollywood mansion? Step this way! A collection of gravestones and a church spire for a luxury theme park? No problem!
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is still the leading regional event to beat, where rustic to refined ultra-relevant stylish English Country House style, Mid Century design, industrial chic, Swedish period painted furniture, period portraits and perennially fashionable crusty iron garden furniture will rub shoulders with decorative staples of the 80s and 90s.
Now back in demand by a new and younger audience – French marble top chocolatiers’ tables, elaborate brass and steel bakers’ racks, buffets and armoires in fruitwood, huge pine refectory tables and Windsor chairs, rows of yellow confit pots, pub signs, marine and advertising ephemera, homely Staffordshire dogs, samplers and quilts and yes, large-scale oak, mahogany and walnut brown furniture re-imagined by a new generation of decorators and collectors.
The event has remained at the same wonky Bath Pavilion since the launch back in 1989 and quickly fills up with eager exhibitors each year, keen to secure a place at what is reliably expected to be a busy event teeming with buyers from the UK, EU and USA happy to queue up for hours in all weathers before the doors open at 12 midday.
The 29th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair
9-11 March 2018
TRADE ONLY 8 March
The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU
- Opening Times:
TRADE PREVIEW Thursday 8 March: 12noon – 5pm
Admission with Trade Invite or Trade Business Card. Otherwise £10.00.
PUBLIC: Friday 9 March 10am – 5pm
Saturday 10 March 10am – 5pm
Sunday 11 March 10am – 4pm
Toma, The Antiques Diva
Design Is Global
Mar 21 – Mar 22 | 9 AM – 6 PM
Pacific Design Center’s annual Spring Market is the West Coast’s showcase for global design. Each March, WESTWEEK debuts an array of luxury furnishings and interior resources crafted by today’s foremost design innovators. The two-day event features keynote programs, product introductions and showroom happenings, complemented by presentations from the nation’s leading shelter publications, editors and tastemakers. WESTWEEK attracts 3,000+ trade professionals from across the West and around the globe.
Check back for details and updates.