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®
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®