How to Ship Antiques from Europe to Your Home
At The Antiques Diva® & Co, we have been helping clients buy antiques in Europe and ship them home for nearly 10 years. Our tips on shipping antiques are based on our experiences working with thousands of antiques buyers, hundreds of antiques vendors, and dozens of international shipping companies and will help you buy antiques and safely ship them home across the pond.
My most important antique shipping tip:
Before you go abroad set up a relationship with an art and antiques shipper so you are prepared to buy and import antiques. It makes it much faster and easier if you prepare in advance! Before you travel ask the shipper to mail you a PURCHASE ORDER BOOK (PO BOOK) and SHIPPING TAGS WITH YOUR NAME ON THEM before your trip so when you’re out and about you have all you need right at your fingertips for buying antiques abroad and shipping them home.
At The Antiques Diva & Co we not only offer Antique Buying Tours: we also have an In-House Shipping Service and you don’t have to be on a tour to use our shipping service at AD&CO Logistics. Other shippers that are well known include EDET, Camard and Chudley. When contacting shippers it’s always wise to get comparison quotes from several shippers. The key thing with shipping – problems can and do occur – but if you have a good relationship with your shipper, it will make it easier to solve the problems when they do occur!
How the Process Works to Buy Antiques and Ship Them Back Home
1) You tell the vendor what you want to buy and who your shipper is.
2) If you have your PO BOOKLET you simply fill in who the vendor is including his PHONE # and EMAIL ADDRESS as well as the COLLECTION ADDRESS for the pieces you’ve purchased and fill in your delivery information as well as LIST ALL ITEMS you’ve purchased. MAKE SURE TO GET THE VENDORS EMAIL ADDRESS AND MOBILE PHONE #.
3) When paying for antiques you have a few options – you can pay the vendor cash – but if the item is a larger purchase price you probably don’t have the cash on you! No worries! Simply fill out the PO and WRITE TO BE PAID BY SHIPPER. This allows you to buy from multiple vendors ON PURCHASE ORDER: PAYMENT AT THE END OF YOUR BUYING TOUR, but a KEY POINT is that once you have issued a PO the item is OFFICIALLY SOLD to you. All Sales are Final. And there are NO RETURNS in Europe on Antiques. The item is marked sold and if you change your mind and decide not to buy the item later on, you burn bridges not only with that vendors but also with his colleagues.
4) When you’re finished buying antiques, email your SHIPPER all your Purchase Orders and your shipper will make a summary of all the items you own $$$$ for. Your shipper will then invoice you for the AMOUNT OWED in INVENTORY and will pay ALL THE VENDORS on your behalf, making the entire process easy peasy pumpkin pie saving you time so you only have to do one payment instead of several payments to various vendors.
5) Most shippers require you pay for inventory via BANK TRANSFER – but some shippers allow you to use a CREDIT CARD. Ask your shipper their payment options.
6) While it’s impossible to give exact shipping costs prior to you making your purchases, you can get estimates on delivery costs from your shipper before your trip by telling them your budget to spend, the types of items you’re hoping to find and providing your delivery zip code. Getting the measurements of the pieces you’ve bought is important to help your shipper quote on shipping costs.
Shipping Impulse Antique Purchases
Scheduling a phone conversation with your shipper BEFORE you travel will make the entire buying process much easier and SAVE YOU MONEY when you’re traveling abroad. Some shippers will even give you their personal mobile # (we do! 🙂 ) so you can call and get a quote mid buying spree. But if you didn’t set up an account with a shipper pre-travel- Have No Fear. If you find something while traveling and haven’t set an account up with a shipper in advance there are options:
- call one of the shippers recommended above for last minute pricing and options
- ask the vendor you purchase your antiques from to ship the item direct to you
You will get better shipping prices if you do some comparison pricing on shipping but you can ALWAYS ship impulse purchases. Don’t let fear of not knowing how to get your purchase home dissuade you from buying abroad!
Do you have more questions about international shipping services for art and antiques? Visit our FAQs, or contact AD&CO Logistics directly.
Toma – The Antiques Diva®
How To Buy Antiques in Sweden
If you’re an antiques dealer wanting to buy antiques to stock your store, it’s hard to know how far the US dollar will go when buying antiques abroad – especially when you’re sourcing high-end Swedish antiques, which are the most prestigious and best quality of European antiques – but also the most expensive. Daniel Larsson is our native-born Swedish Divo Guide. Daniel enjoys helping clients find the right piece at their desired price point. With his extensive travel including trips to the US, England, India, Norway, Spain and Holland, Daniel comes to the table with an international mindset. When he’s not guiding Diva clients, he runs a very successful business called D.LARSSON Interiör & Antikhandel which deals in fine Swedish antiques ranging from 18th to late 19th century, specializing in high-quality Rococo and Gustavian painted furniture, Swedish country & decorative items. Daniel’s extensive knowledge of Swedish antiques is a huge asset to our company and to any client who books a tour with him, as he is sure to pass on some of his wonderful insights.
When antique dealers come overseas to buy antiques to fill a container with European antiques purchases to stock their store they often come to me with a budget of anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000. Their goal is usually to multiply their purchase cost 3 to 5 times.
We asked our Sweden Antiques Expert Divo Daniel, What can an antiques dealer buy in Sweden for $100,000?
Daniel recommends dealers stocking their store with Swedish antiques buy at least 30% STATEMENT PIECES – these are higher priced items and higher end in terms of quality – that will help establish your reputation as a dealer.
Also, remember when doing display space – Swedish antiques need air to breathe… room around them to look their best. And with your display space you’ve got the room to create the environment needed to set the tone of the collective!
Antiques Diva Tip:
Mix Mid-Century Modern in with these Period Pieces to Make Both Periods Pop.
Eclectic Mix of Perfectly Paired Contrasting Inventory Draws a Crowd.
General Price Points
- Pair of Arm Chairs $4000 – $6000
- Chest of Drawers (veneered) $3000 – $6000
- Cabinet $4000 – $5000
- Buffet $2500 – $4000
- Mirrors $2500 – $3500
- Sofa $2500 – $4000
- Console tables $3000 – $5000
- Chairs $1000 – $2000
Antiques Diva Tip:
For mirrors I often recommend clients go France as the price point on French mirrors is much lower than on Swedish – similar age and style for half the price.
To Stock Swedish Inventory in Your Store
You should consider stocking 3 kinds of Swedish pieces:
1. Period – Original Paint
2. Period – Repainted, Scraped, Retouched
3. Finer Statement Pieces
So much of what is on the market in the USA is “style” pieces – pieces that look like the period, but aren’t of the period. You want to be known for having REAL ANTIQUES. You want to set the bar that you are offering the best antiques money can buy. In my opinion the best quality – with the best profit margin – is Swedish.
Stay Tuned to Learn More Details about the upcoming Master Class Daniel and I will be leading at Dallas Market Center this June 2017.
How Much Can I Buy?
If you budget $100K to fill a 40-foot container, you can get approximately 50 Swedish pieces, including a combination of top quality statement pieces as well as a wide variety of excellent quality mid-range 17th and 18th C period pieces.
Here is a sample client budget for buying antiques inventory in Sweden:
30% STATEMENT PIECES
Price Range for Higher Priced Items and Higher End Quality
- Pair of Arm Chairs $4000 – $6000
- Chest of Drawers (veneered) $3000 – $6000
- Cabinet $4000 – $5000
- Buffet $2500 – $4000
- Mirrors $2500 – $3500
- Sofa $2500 – $4000
- Console tables $3000 – $5000
- Chairs $1000 – $2000
Statement Pieces You Can Buy
- 1 x Pair of Arm Chairs $5000
- 1 x Chest of Drawers (veneered) 5000
- 1 x Cabinet $4000
- 1 x Buffet $3000
- 1 x Mirror $3000
- 1 x Sofa $3500
- 1 x Console table $5000
- 1 x set of 8 chairs $8000
SubTotal: $36,500 – Approx 8 – 10 important pieces
70% NICE QUALITY PIECES
- Cabinet ca $2000 – $3000
- Chest of Drawers $1000 – $2000
- Tables ca Prices $500 – $1500
- Sofa $1500 – $2500
- Buffet $1000 – $2500
- Mirrors $1500 – $2500
- Chairs 500 – 1000 (per chair)
Nice Quality Pieces You Can Buy
- 5 x Cabinets ca $12500
- 5 x Chest of Drawers $8000
- 10 x Tables (includes side table and console) ca Prices $10000
- 5 x Sofa $12500
- 5 x Buffet $10000
- 5 x Mirrors $10000
- two sets of Chairs of 6 – 8 $12000
SubTotal: $75,000 – Approx 35 – 40 Pieces
TOTAL – $100,000K – Approximately 50 Pieces Total
What will it cost to ship these pieces to the US?
Assuming you’re shipping a 40-foot container and crate a lot of what’s going in the container, it’s a safe assumption to budget approximately €15K for shipping 1 exceedingly well container door to door. Granted –prices vary – so this is just a guideline – you could save thousands depending on your packing needs.
How long after my Antiques Diva buying tour will it take to receive my purchases?
Estimated lead time from payment of vendors: 2 – 3 weeks for collection and preparation + 25 days transit time + door transport.
- handling + container traction harbor € 700,00
- unloading collections + storage + charging packed goods into container € 1.100,00
- export packing /m3 € 45,00 OR
- crating for fragile items (based upon level of protection and m3) /m3 € 60,00-150,00
- fumigation (if needed: based upon nature of shipped goods) € 200,00-400,00
- weighing container (for customs) € 145,00
- ocean freight (port-port) Europe – US 40-ft € 3.400,00
- insurance 1,50%
- banking on behalf of buyer: included
Does not include duties and import taxes, demurrage or unloading at destination.
How do I price Swedish antiques for sale in the US?
We are not antiques dealers, but we work closely with dealers and designers to buy European antiques and negotiate the best price possible. Based on our experience, we find that dealers typically sell their pieces for at least 3 times over the purchase price.
Interested in booking an Antiques Diva Sweden Buying Tour? Email email@example.com to schedule a phone call to discuss your needs.
Toma – The Antiques Diva®
I’m beyond thrilled to share with you a guest post by Margaret Schwartz, owner of The Summer House, and the inaugural USA Antiques Young Gun of the Year. Margaret is an antiques powerhouse: she began her career working at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which played a key role in inspiring and developing her passion for the home décor business. After four years, she left to open her own shop, The Summer House in New Canaan, Conn. Margaret applies her signature styles and passion for home design to hand pick today’s best finds: upholstered furniture, fashionable jewelry, eye-catching lighting, exquisite rugs, fine art and more.
I have a confession. I am an antiques junkie.
Three years ago by a stroke of luck, I discovered The Antiques Diva through another favorite blog, The English Room. I was planning a trip to London and just by chance The English Room posted about antiques tours offered by The Antiques Diva, the brainchild of Toma Clark Haines. I was very intrigued because I love antiques but was hesitant to buy because I don’t have a degree in Decorative Arts. The Antiques Diva gave me the opportunity to buy with confidence. The moment I laid eyes on a lavender glass mid-century chandelier on Lillie Road, I was hooked. That was nearly three years ago, and I am about to embark on my next adventure with Gail McLeod, UK Antiques Diva, and Daniel Larsson, Swedish Divo.
I’ve taken a half-dozen tours with The Antiques Diva and I’ve learned quite a bit about how to prepare for a buying trip. Let me give you some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.
Tips for An Antiques Buying Trip
Do Your Research
Antiques Diva tours are incredible regardless of how much prep you as a client do. However, these guides are seasoned vets and know all the best places to go for that perfect Venetian mirror your client covets. For instance with this upcoming trip, I am looking for pairs of chests, pairs of nightstands, cabinets, side tables, mirrors, and lighting. We usually create a shared photostream on our phones and post photos of past items I’ve purchased and loved, things I’ve seen and loved, or items that clients have requested I locate. Pinterest or a shared visual board would work, but we prefer the shared photostream because you can add detailed descriptions, measurement, and budget info and it’s private. Once the Diva or Divo Guide has an idea of what you’re looking for, he or she will tailor the itinerary to your needs.
Trust in your Guide
Your Diva or Divo Guide is there for you, no matter what you need. This is something that differentiates them from other buying agents. Your guide has access to some of the best secret sources in Europe. When I say I’ve bought from castles, I mean actual, real fairytale-esque castles. I’ve also dug through dirty warehouses because you really can find a diamond in the rough. If you prefer to only shop castles, let your guide know as far in advance as possible so she can schedule those calls for you. No need to storm the gates down; when they see it’s an Antiques Diva client, they will roll out the red carpet for you.
There is an art to negotiating, and in Europe you need a trusted hand to guide you through any cultural barriers. They will translate for you and help you negotiate prices. The dealers offer good prices because The Antiques Diva brings so many clients through, and there is power in numbers. Be prepared to bargain, but don’t insult them and your Diva Guide will help you walk that fine line.
Your Diva is also an expert in the industry. She can help you spot a piece that you might have overlooked, or conversely a piece you are interested in, but you didn’t see that replacement leg that would turn off your clients. You make your own decisions, but they will keep you informed and point out things you might not be aware of. Listen to what they have to say because they will impart wisdom to you and teach you so much about the industry. Gail McLeod, UK Diva Extraordinaire, has been such a tremendous source of wisdom and support, helping me grow my business and career, and she’s been with me every step of the way on all my antiques tours. She has become a fast friend too. I don’t know what I would do without Toma and Gail!
I cannot stress this enough. Set. Your. Budget. And then add 20%, minimum. There will inevitably be an absolute to-die-for must-have piece, and of course it comes when you’ve already spent your budget. Your budget can be anything. There is no minimum spend on these tours, but communicating your budget in advance with your guide will help set you up for success! Price-point is key so they know where to book your calls. A quick note, even when you do set your budget and go over, there will still be the one that got away.
I had the opportunity to buy the console from an Axel Vervoordt-designed castle that was on the cover of The Houses of Veranda book. What was I thinking passing it up? I was thinking, “Oh my god, I’ve been on tour for two weeks, and I’ve completely blown my budget!” There will ALWAYS be the one that got away! And that’s ok. My mom likes to say that it’s good to not get everything you want. Naturally, she is referring to the sable coat she has always wanted, but she got a gorgeous sheared mink with sable cuffs and that will do. Haha!
How can you help stick to your budget (+20%)? Transfer funds ahead of time! One of the best tips I’ve learned is that you transfer your budget, plus the 20% slush fund, to your shipper. While you are out on your trip, your Diva Guide will be writing up detailed purchase orders and you can keep track of your spending that way. If you don’t use the 20% extra (I’ve never been that disciplined) that’s fine. Your shipper can deduct their charges from that leftover amount. It’s all very tidy when done this way.
I learned the hard way that the dealers need to be paid immediately. Your reputation over there is everything, and if you drag your feet on payments, other dealers might hear about it. So pay promptly. Seriously. These dealers work so hard sourcing and restoring, and this industry already has razor thin margins. In order to keep these wonderful dealers in business, we must pay them promptly.
Just as important as the relationships you build with your Diva guides is the relationship you build with your shipper. Your Diva Guide can help you with that, but better yet, you can conveniently use the in-house The Antiques Diva shipping service. The Antiques Diva & Co. kicked off their shipping service last year, and using them will help streamline your experience. The fewer moving parts the better! And you absolutely need a trusted shipper. There are so many forms to fill out and information that customs needs. Getting a shipper who understands that process and guides you through it, or manages it for you, is absolutely vital. Plus, you want someone reputable, reliable, and experienced and The Antiques Diva knows quality when she sees it!
Day to Day Tidbits
- Wear comfy shoes. While Toma is always clacking in heels, my days of Barbie Feet (look it up, it’s real) are over since I moved out of the Upper East Side, and now I prefer a pair of fly-looking Chiarra Ferragni slip-on sneakers so I’m still stylish but can navigate barns and fields.
- Pack light, re-wear items. The dealers don’t know that you’ve worn that sweater twice before, and the Diva Guidess don’t mind. Trust me on that one.
- Take breaks throughout the day. Your Diva Guide will keep you fully caffeinated and fed, but you will both need mental breaks to review what you’ve purchased throughout the day.
- Take photos of everything. Now on your iPhone you can write directly on the pictures so you remember what the price was, the measurements, and what restoration was promised or that you need to do on your end.
- Be social! Get your booty into high gear with social media. Post multiple times a day and have a little fun with it. Yes, this is a serious job with serious people, but it’s also an absolute joy. And even though the company is called The Antiques Diva, the guides and you will get down and dirty so have fun with it! Show people what the behind-the-scenes of the business is!
Margaret (Modern Antiquarian)
Antiques Diva Shipping Services
When purchasing valuable, one-of-a-kind or fragile antiques or art, one of the first questions our clients ask is how to pack and crate antiques for international shipping. In addition to The Antiques Diva & Co in-house, turnkey antiques shipping services AD&CO Logistics, we also offer antique warehousing and shipping liaison services, and work on your behalf with your shipper to meet your transportation needs.
This gorgeous table was purchased by an Antiques Diva antique buying tour client who contracted AD&CO Logistics to pack and crate it for international shipment, along with her other purchases.
la Vendange: Antique French Wine Tasting Table
The wine tasting table had the following specifications:
- antique French wine tasting table with tilt-top
- 86cm diameter x 67cm height
- 10 kg weight
- traveling from Europe to the US
- prepare for international shipment
- to be picked up by client’s transport company
This beautiful antique French wine tasting table was purchased on an Antiques Diva buying tour.
Fragile, valuable and one-of-a-kind pieces are carefully cushioned and protected for international transport. Our AD&CO Logistics expert team carefully built a custom crate to protect the table from damage during shipment.
Our team of international shipping experts have been packing, crating and shipping antiques for over 50 years, to destinations around the globe.
Our shipping concierges understand you have unique needs and requirements. We will work with you to provide a solution to your international shipping needs. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about international shipping.
The crate is wrapped tightly in a special black foil to protect it from rain damage during transport.
Request a Quote Today
FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49 MOBILE: +32 (0)478 01 01 01
When you’re traveling overseas and shopping for antiques you have a few options on how to ship antiques home from abroad. In addition to Antiques Diva shipping services, here are some other ways to ship antiques home from abroad. For more information on Antiques Diva tours and services, see our FAQs.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
At The Antiques Diva & Co our goal is to provide a turnkey solution and help our clients with the entire process of buying antiques overseas. From planning customized one-on-one antique buying tours to taking clients shopping by the hand whilst doing the translating and negotiating – our goal is for our clients to have “smooth sailing” antiquing abroad. We want our clients to have a seamless experience in their process of buying antiques overseas. For years we’ve worked with 3rd party shippers – but the fact is that when there were problems – and with shipping there are always problems – we didn’t have control over helping our clients SOLVE their problems.
The Process of Buying Antiques Abroad Just Got Simpler
By starting an in-house Art and Antiques Shipping Services called AD&CO LOGISTICS we are now able to offer our clients more solutions to their global sourcing needs. While we’re still happy to work with our preferred list of 3rd party international shipping companies who we trust and have worked with for years— we’re also giving clients a turnkey solution so that within one company they can shop in multiple countries and ship their purchases worldwide within the safe confines of The Antiques Diva & Co! For you, that means the process of buying antiques abroad just got simpler! And while this service is new at AD&CO, it’s old-hat for our shipping team. We’ve partnered with a premier international shipping company with 50 years expertise in international shipping as our in-house shipper.
“It’s not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage… “
George William Curtis
At The Antiques Diva & Co we’re all about customer service. Your AD&CO LOGISTICS shipping concierge will personally manage all facets of your shipment, including:
- collecting your goods from the dealers
- tracking your inventory and payments
- cross-referencing your tags
- complete all export/import paperwork
- monitor your shipment’s progress from the time we receive your goods until they are delivered to you
- keep you advised of the status of your shipment
Our containers leave from the shipping port in Antwerp, Belgium.
Antiques Diva Art and Antiques Shipping Services Options:
∗ full 20 or 40ft containers or partial containers (LCL: Less Container Loads)
∗ door-to-door shipping
∗ port-only shipping
∗ independent or shared location shipping
We provide white glove art and antiques transport and shipping services to customers across Europe and around the globe, including antiques dealers, interior designers, builders and private clients. And while we love it when you book our Antiques Diva Tours – we’re even willing to offer our shipping service for those times when you’re shopping on your own independent of AD&CO!
Our bespoke shipping services will provide you with tags, labels and instructions to identify and inventory your purchases at the dealer or on your buying tour, and our shipping concierge is always available to respond to our customers before, during and after your shipment. In fact – if you’re just needing to get information – wondering if buying antiques overseas is feasible – why don’t you email me firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a phone call to talk about your options!
Our Art and Antiques Shipping Services Include:
√ Organising the invoicing and payments of the goods purchased on an AD&CO Tour for our tour clients; or collecting the goods if you are not part of an Antiques Diva Buying Tour
√ Collecting all the goods from the different vendors and transporting to our warehouse in Antwerp
√ Our packing service including wrapping your goods in protective materials, crating, loading on pallets for transport, and using the most advanced art and antiques packaging and crating industry practices
√ Prior to shipping we store your goods in our secure cold storage warehouse in Antwerp
√ Shipments are organized in 20ft, 40ft or LCL (Less Container Loads)
√ We manage the loading of your container in our warehouse
√ We organise all customs and VAT paperwork concerning the export and import documentation necessary for your goods
√ If required, we provide fumigation of your container
√ We provide insurance for the shipped goods
And we’re doing it all at a bargain…
Our Goal at AD&CO is to save you time and money, whether that means by getting you better prices when we take you with us to source antiques overseas or in offering competitive rates on our art and antiques shipping services.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hen you’re traveling overseas and shopping for antiques you have a few options on how to ship antiques home from abroad:
The first option is to only buy what you can pack in your suitcase. This costs nothing and is perfect if you’re looking to buy a few trinkets or smaller items – but what if you’re really wanting to buy a lot when you’re overseas?
The second option? Buy an extra suitcase. When you’re at the Paris Flea Market they actually have stalls with suitcases for sale. Pick up an extra suitcase and fill it to your heart’s content. (It’s not a bad idea to bring a hand-held luggage scale with you on holiday to make sure you’re within the weight limit).
But what if you’re buying porcelain or other breakables? Do you really want to risk putting that in your suitcase? I didn’t think so.
Your third option? Then we’re talking either the local post office or FedEx – hint: the post office in Europe is always much cheaper than FedEx. Plus at the post office you can buy the box for packing your purchases. Investigate if the town you’re traveling to has a Mail Boxes, Etc. I often pay to have Mail Boxes, Etc pack my breakables for me. When Mail Boxes, Etc finds out that I’m using the post office to mail my box instead of them, they often offer a discount off their services. They are faster than the local post office so if you can get a bargain it’s worth paying a little more for special handling to go this route.
Now – you may not know this – but if you want to get a bargain in Europe – RARELY will you get that bargain on smalls. The smaller, the more perfectly packable it is, the more expensive the price tends to be when comparing it with American standards. On the other hand, if you fall in love with an armoire it’s likely to be 1/3 the price you’d pay stateside. As I always say “Go Big or Go Home.” The bigger the antique the better the price. But if you want to ship an armoire what’s a girl to do? Hire an international shipper! They will give you a cubic meter price – an estimate on the cost of shipping the item. You’ll want to ask them for a door-to-door quote and specify that they include insurance on the delivery. The price they give you may not be exact – it’ll probably be an estimate. You’ll have the option to air freight the item or to put it in a consolidated container to ship home on the slow boat. Find out the price difference between the two methods. Be aware that delivery ALWAYS takes more time than you’re expecting.
Introducing your fourth option: For help with how to ship antiques home, contact The Antiques Diva & Co. Our white glove art and antiques international shipping service (AD&CO Logistics) is ideal to ship home antiques that you purchase in Europe. Our shipping service is available even if you’re not on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour. At AD&CO we can also liaise you with some of our preferred international shippers. We’re always happy to help you get antiques home sweet home across the pond.
Toma, The Antiques Diva®