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international shipping

Source Antiques Like the Pros - How do I ship antiques from Europe to the US | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva

Source Antiques Like the Pros: How do I ship antiques from Europe to the US?

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 


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 


AD&CO International Shipping - Crating With Care- How to Ship Large Fragile Antiques

Crating With Care: How to Ship Large Fragile Antiques

Antiques Diva® clients often spot a fabulous piece – or pieces – perfect for their latest interior design project, or exactly what they need in their antique shop. But the question is:

How can I possibly ship that home without it getting broken! 

At AD&CO Logistics, that’s our specialty: we know how to ship large fragile antiques and art purchase from Europe to their final destination whether that’s across town, across the border or across the ocean. With over 50 years expertise in international shipping, AD&CO Logistics makes the impossible possible. On a recent buying Belgium Antiques Diva buying trip our clients spotted these beauties at an antique dealer’s in Brussels, snatched them up… and left the shipping to us!

Large, fragile antique statue, columns and urns require a crane to be removed from the Brussel dealer’s shop. How to ship large fragile antiques: In the shop - Crating, packing and shipping antique statuary

The pieces are carefully transported to AD&CO Logistics warehouses in Amsterdam. 

At an Antiques Dealer in Brussels: Crating, packing and shipping antique statuary

At AD&CO Logistics warehouse, the pieces are carefully packed in custom crates for shipping to the US. 

AD&CO Logistics warehouse: Crating, packing and shipping antique statuary

Smaller pieces are individually wrapped for shipment. 

Smaller pieces packed at AD&CO Logistics: Crating, packing and shipping antique statuary

Large pieces are packed in custom crates for shipment.

AD&CO International Shipping: Custom crating, packing and shipping antique statuary and columns


How to ship large fragile antiques: Custom crating, packing and shipping antique statuary and columns for international shipping by AD&CO Logistics

Crating, packing and shipping antique statuary and columns by AD&CO Logistics international shipping


AD&CO Logistics - International Antiques ShippingThe Antiques Diva & Co® is pleased to offer art and antiques shipping services from Europe to destinations around the globe. AD&CO has partnered with a premier international shipping company with 50 years expertise in shipping services. 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, packing, complete all export/import paperwork and monitor your shipment’s progress from the time we receive your goods until they are delivered to you; and keep you advised of the status of your shipment.

Our international shipping services provide the options of:

∗ full 20 or 40ft containers or partial containers (LCL: Less Container Loads)
∗ door-to-door shipping
∗ port-only shipping
∗ independent or shared location shipping

Learn More Here: AD&CO Logistics

FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49        MOBILE: +32 (0)478 01 01 01 


Leave the Shipping to AD&CO Logistics! 
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva 


AD&CO Logistics arts and antiques international shipping

How To Import Antiques from Europe: Customs FAQs

How do I handle international shipping customs for antiques?

AD&CO Logistics - international shipping customs for art and antiques The Antiques Diva® & Co is pleased to offer art and antiques shipping services from Europe to destinations around the globe. AD&CO Logistics has partnered with a premier international shipping company with 50 years expertise in shipping services. Your 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, packing, complete all export/import paperwork and monitor your shipment’s progress from the time we receive your goods until they are delivered to you; and keep you advised of the status of your shipment.

How To Import Antiques from Europe: Customs Frequently Asked Questions

At AD&CO Logistics, we prepare the official international shipping customs documentation that allows your goods to leave the European Union: 

Once arriving at the destination port, the client will need to have a customs broker. If you do not have a customs broker we will appoint one for you. If you have your own customs broker you are welcome to use your own broker for this process.

    1. Import duties (taxes) are calculated based on the following:
      1. Each item is categorized according to an international system of numbers pertaining to materials.
      2. Each item is dated. For example, if an item is greater than 100 years old, no import tax is assessed.
    2. The customs process varies –  it is always a risk that the customs at the destination port will decide to check the entire ship. If this happens – and there is no way to predict when it will – it creates additional costs as well as time delays.  This is a random security check.
      1. Customs may choose to x-ray crates to see the contents and the client is obliged to pay those costs… for example, an x-ray may cost approx. $200 and there is no choice but to pay it. The customs broker works on your behalf through this process keeping you informed.
      2. If the entire ship is being checked, then all the scheduled unloading and deliveries will be subsequently delayed.  Which could then overlap when other ships come into port, causing further congestion.
    3. Taxes are state-driven, not federal. Which means the amount of tax due will vary depending on the destination port. 

For more questions about AD&CO Logistics international art and antiques shipping services,
visit our FAQ page

Request a Quote
FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49       MOBILE: +32 (0)478

How to Pack and Crate Antiques for International Shipping

Protecting la Table de Vendange: How to Pack and Crate Antiques

Antiques Diva Shipping Services

AD&CO Logistics - international fine arts and antiques shippingWhen 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.

Happy Shipping!

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

AD&CO Logistics Art and Antiques Shipping Services

The Antiques Diva Art and Antiques Shipping Services

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 CurtisThe Antiques Diva Art and Antiques Shipping Service

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
  • packing
  • 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 to set up a phone call to talk about your options!

The Antiques Diva Art and Antiques Shipping Service

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.

Bonne Shipping!

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®

Exporting Antiques With The Help of a Courier

Dear Diva Readers,

Perhaps the biggest challenge when shopping overseas is knowing how to get goods home sweet home safely and cost effectively. Oh the thrill of the hunt! On tour we have a range of clients – from ones who fill multiple 40 foot containers, spending hundreds of thousands of euros on inventory to stock their stores to ones who are seeking just a few small items that are perfectly packable and brought home in the their luggage. Occasionally clients even buy a second suitcase on tour to bring their goods home! Now here’s a surprise… sometimes it costs less to MAIL that second suitcase with a courier than it does to bring it with you on the plane home.

International Shipping, Using a courier to ship antiques home, Sourcing antiques in Europe, ParcelHero

When you’re shopping the fleas and decide to mail items home you need a professional international courier with the appropriate customs documents (and licenses when applicable). Typically the shipper advise of any additional arrangements required like crating for fragile objects or customs documentation.

We always recommend clients discuss with their courier or shipper their insurance needs. A good courier will offer added insurance to cover high-value items. When sending antiques with a courier, it is important the inventory is packaged carefully following the recommended packaging guidelines carefully. If the item is not packaged correctly, it will not qualify for cover in the event it is damaged during transit.   On tour – when you’re out buying – we always recommend clients take photos of their purchases as they shop! This gives you extra security, in the event there is any dispute or damage in transit.

International Shipping, Using a courier to ship antiques home, Sourcing antiques in Europe, ParcelHero

When it comes to shipping, accidents happen and snafu’s occur. But sometimes those snafu’s are more than lost of damaged goods. What happens if you buy something you’re not allowed to ship internationally? One of the best recent examples of export restrictions is the story of Jane Austen’s ring that made headlines in 2014. Singer Kelly Clarkson was forced to give up Jane Austen’s turquoise ring that she bought at a Sotheby’s auction in 2012. Clarkson was unable to take the ring out of the country due to a temporary export ban placed by Jane Austen’s House Museum. The official deadline was 30 September. The museum was able to raise £152,000 to save the ‘national treasure’ for Austen readers around the world! This complex, but fascinating case shows how important the paperwork is for collectors. The UK is notoriously strict when it comes to buying and exporting items which may be classified as ‘national treasure”!

So what are the Rules & Regulations for Export from the UK?

  • In the UK, items under 50 years of age, which do not include precious metals and are not of national significance are generally exempt from restrictions.
  • However items which contain precious metals and are of national significance or are over 50 years of age will be subject to stricter export regulations.
  • Always check with the Portable Antiquities Scheme or Arts Council if you are unsure.
  • If the object falls under the definition of the treasure outlined in the UK Treasure act, you should check that the item has been reported to a UK coroner within the legal period of 14 days. The inquest will always have final say whether or not the finds qualify as national treasure.
  • If the treasure is found to constitute a national treasure, the finder must first offer the item to a museum. If a museum does not express interest, then the finder will retain ownership.
  • Keep in mind, that under English Law, landowners will have rights to objects found on their land. It may be necessary to qualify with the seller where the item was found (this only applies to coins, ring, jewellery or artefacts over 50 years).
  • Certain carriers like DHL have different rules and restrictions for various countries, particularly Australia. So, check with several carriers if possible.

When in doubt if the item you’re buying is suitable for export professional couriers such as the UK-based customer service team at can advise on shipping costs and restrictions to your recipient country. You can also estimate costs of shipping excess luggage or individual antiques with their handy booking tool to help you plan your trip. The site will allow you to track up to 25 items at one time with real-time scan updates, so you can follow your packages’ movements before you even step foot on the plane.

Now if you are planning to mail your purchases home sweet home yourself – here’s a few Hints & Tips on Packaging Your Items for Mailing Correctly:

  • Whether you are stuffing a suitcase or boxing items for shipping via courier, the principles remain the same – wrap and insulate correctly to avoid any damage in transit.
  • Protect each item against damp and dust by wrapping the item in a clean plastic bag.
  • If it is a framed artwork, use foam board and corner supports for additional protection.
  • Insulate the item in bubble-wrap, secured with packaging tape.
  • Use a new or strong, suitably sized box with the joins and seams reinforced.
  • Place packaging chips or other insulation within the box (scrunched up paper will do)
  • Place the wrapped item or items within the box, ensuring the items do not touch each other or the outer walls of the box
  • If you have customs documents, place duplicate copies within the box with your items.
  • If you are using a second-hand box, remove all old labels and barcodes from the box.
  • Seal the box with dedicated strong packaging tape.

Happy Shopping!
The Antiques Diva®

P.S.  Thanks to our friends at for providing additional information on export restrictions.

Treasures on Tuesdays: The Mantique Collection – Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Dear Diva Readers,

Drum roll please… or perhaps I should have had a bugle call the corps to order, for today I’m rolling out

This collection adds Man + Antique, combining fab finds perfect for Father’s Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries and Holidays, making shopping for the men in your life easier than ever! A few of our Father’s Day Gift Ideas include:

This French Le Petit Journal Newspaper from October 1897 offers a one-of-a-kind look at French artillery training! A group of soldiers on bicycle form “en carre” with weapons drawn as they straddle their bicycles in a field. Certain to be a conversation starter, it’s ideal for framing in an office or den and is an ideal Father’s Day present for a military buff or cycling fan. Bright turn-of-the-century coloring pops from the page which is charmingly aged with brown edges. The interior of this newspaper offers additional framing opportunities and a plethora of pages with French writing to use in craft projects. $36 (28 Euro) includes international shipping

Quite possibly the perfect Father’s Day gift, this vintage French Antique Shaving Kit includes an adjustable mirror and stand, a bowl to lather the foam and a never-been-used foaming brush. Charmingly engraved Thibaud-Gibbs & Cie Paris with patent # 210, this brush was made in France and we believe this piece dates between 1934 and 1959. The foam bowl is in white porcelain and the stand is made of white metal while the back of the mirror is lined with the original sharkskin. This is the perfect present for the man who enjoys the art of shaving! $130 (97 Euro) includes international shipping

Bring home the taste of Belgium with this vintage Belgian Beer Stein engraved with an interlocking R and A on the pewter lid. Patrons of the local taverns often would leave a glass with their initials hanging on a hook at the local pub so that each time they visited their “local” they could sip from the same mug. This Mantique would make a perfect Father’s Day present for beer aficionados! $50 (39 Euro) including international shipping. (Stay Tuned we have another sensational stein – this time of German origin – to be posted soon!).

This Vintage White Metal Billecart-Salmon Champagne Bucket is for shoppers “in the know”. Listed in the book “1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die”, this prestigious small Champagne house has a reputation for balance, elegance and finesse. Thus, visitors dining chez toi (or alfresco as you picnic in the park) will recognize your ultimate expression of diva style! This bucket has lived a long life, taking center stage at festive occasions and shows a few dings from living la dolce diva! $75 (59 Euro) includes international shipping

Before the Peugeot Brothers became a famous French car manufacturer, they were renowned for their coffee grinders and pepper mills. This Antique Peugeot Frere Coffee Grinder is simply smashing in red and pops perfectly in the kitchen! Though antique, it still works like a charm, allowing you to do just as some French grandmère did ages ago when she poured the beans into the mill, then placed the mill between her knees for leverage to grind the daily brew. This piece is well worn, with perfect patina and is one of my favorite pieces in our collection! Don’t hesitate to buy it, before I change my mind and decide to keep it for myself! $134 (105 Euro) includes international shipping. (Stay tuned – My Buyer on the ground shopping the brocantes of Paris just announced that she’s scored 2 more antique coffee grinders!)

This Vintage Pewter Wine Bottle Stopper with Chain is designed to hang on the neck of your favorite bottle of wine! After you’ve poured yourself some vino, simply recork the bottle, saving the rest of the goodness for later! The stopper with cork measures almost 3inches tall and is designed to fit almost any bottle of wine. The chain is 7 inches long and dangles artfully from the neck of the bottle. $45 (36 Euro) includes international shipping

These are just a few of our treasures to whet your appetite – to order and shop online, visit our entire collection! Each week at “Treasures” by The Antiques Diva™ we post new inventory at our online brocante on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays! Looking for something special for your man on Father’s Day? Email to have my shopper shop for you!

Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™
(Seen Right With my Dad)

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The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

The Antiques Diva & Co is a LAPADA Approved Service Provider 

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The Antiques Diva & Co is the Official Tour Guide of Paul Bert Serpette at The Paris Flea Market

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