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Old 03-08-2005, 02:04 AM
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What is the best way to ship art?

I apologize if this has been covered, I did a search for shipping art on the forums but didn't find the answers to my questions.

What is the best and cheapest way to ship original art (and prints too for that matter). I was told that Fed Ex will no longer insure original art (don't know if this is true, was just told this by another artist). I did call UPS today and asked them and they said they will insure it but if something happened to it during transit, it may be hard to collect on the claim because there is no way to prove it's worth, unless you take it to an appraiser first and how many of us want to do that.

How about the regular post office?

I need to ship an 18 x 24 framed oil painting right now. But I'd like to know the in's and out's of the different shipping options for future as well for both originals and prints. Has anyone here been through all this and can steer me in the right direction and give some good pointers?

Thanks!!
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:38 AM
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Re: What is the best way to ship art?

While this method is labor intensive, its also the cheapest and best. Get large sheets of corrugated cardboard, 4' x 8' (The UPS store will order some for you for around 3 bucks a piece.)
Get some spray glue, the kind that comes in a big aerosol can. Spray and glue at least 3 or 4 of the cardboard sheets together. Cut each side to size, glue and tape the box together. Indestructable and light. Don't rely on insurance to cover it...your best insurance is to make a really sturdy container that the gorillas won't break. I used to ship stained glass this way and never had a mishap, while Mailboxes ETC. always managed to have to try and get insurance to cover cracked pieces. Ugh.
Use Fed-ex over UPS. The USPS is second choice. I just got some frames by mail and UPS gouged and destroyed one of the frames. Now, this was covered by insurance by them but it sets me back a few weeks.
Or, you could shell out some real cash and maybe buy these: http://www.airfloatsys.com/
Hope that helps,
Stephen
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Old 03-08-2005, 11:17 AM
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Re: What is the best way to ship art?

Hi Halo,
UPS now will not insure a painting for over 1600 or 2000 ( I forget which )
without an appraisal. I got in a big yelling match with them over this - to the effect that the painting was already sold for 5000 so why would i need an appraisal ? To no avail .

In any case someone here mentioned 3rd party insurance you can buy over the web for whomever you ship with, so that you wont get burnt when some stoned warehouseman runs a forklift tine thru the middle of one of yer paintings ...


Colin
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:35 PM
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Re: What is the best way to ship art?

You may also want to check out some of the specialty shipping firms. Check with a local shipper/packer. UPS and others may not have information on these services. They tend to be fair priced and I have yet to have any trouble with any of these folks which is more than I can say for UPS. They can also ship and handle really large pieces and use air transport for short time shipping.

I have shipped USPS and had incredible luck with them. I like the idea of the self manufactured board that Stephen talked about. Smaller pieces can be packed up in the USPS priority mail boxes and shipped. I have sent about a dozen pieces this way and have not had a bit of trouble, knock on wood.

You can also order boxes about 4" larger than your work and use foam and bubblewrap for packing. These can be reinforced with extra sheets of cardboard. So many alternatives.
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Old 03-08-2005, 06:34 PM
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Re: What is the best way to ship art?

Some kind soul here told me to go to Pier 1 & Hobby Lobby & ask for mirror boxes.

I now have a very, nice asst. mgr. at Pier 1 helping me get boxes. They're very sturdy and big. Of course, I try to buy something in there when I go there which isn't hard.

At Sam's, I got bubble wrap 175' roll by 12" for about $10. Someone else here said to go to Lowe's for heavy duty brown wrapping paper. That was about $8.
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:26 PM
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Re: What is the best way to ship art?

Thank you guys for all the great replies. I am saving them all.

I talked to both UPS and Fed Ex today, and was told by Fed Ex that they now will only insure up to $500. They suggest if you need more coverage than that to get additional insurance from an outside party. I have called my home owners insurance (State Farm) and was told that with my policy, I am covered up to $1000 off premises. Only problem is it is a gray area, and we're wondering if it wouldn't be covered because at the point I ship it, I no longer actually own it since it was sold. I was told by Fed Ex and UPS and my insurance company already has mentioned on the phone as well, that if the art value cannot be proven, by having it appraised beforehand, or some other kind of invoice, it may be hard to collect if there is damage done. UPS said they insure up to $50,000. But I keep hearing how people have problems with damage with UPS so that is very concerning.

There aren't any specialty shipping services in my area, so I am hoping to go with Fed Ex. The painting I am dealing with right now is $800 so that's only $300 more than the amount Fed Ex will insure.

I think I'll go with Fed Ex and count on state farm to fill in the rest.

Sounds like the best insurance is great packaging!

smartpeppydoc, I wouldn't have any problems spending at pier 1 either lol.
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:48 AM
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Lightbulb Re: What is the best way to ship art?

Hi this post has been awhile but just wanted to let you know that Fed ex just shipped my artwork for $1500.00 no questions. I use Airfloat http://secure.redmagnet.com/airfloatsys/strongbox.asp for important stuff or to send stuff back and forth to the printers. As far as sending stuff that I sell, my new plan is to get 1/4 hardboard at the hardware- Home depot type store and have a piece on each side. Cheap and not too heavy and buy boxes on Uline. For one box , U-haul mirror boxes also work.
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:51 AM
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Re: What is the best way to ship art?

Like Howard, I have had good experiences shipping USPS. For domestic shipments, I use Priority mail. It is fast (2-3 days) and sometimes less expensive than even Parcel Post. The artwork CAN BE INSURED, but only if it is sold; then it can be insured for the purchase amount. (I guess this is seen as proof of the value.) For international shipments, I use USPS Global Express Mail.

Small works (5 x 7s) and small works on paper 8 x 10 or smaller) can be packaged in cardboard and then shipped in a Priority Mail flat rate envelope, which is only $3.85 plus insurance.

Teresa
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:55 PM
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Re: What is the best way to ship art?

Thanks Canvased and Teresa! I just ordered an airfloat box, I'm sure this customer won't mind sending it back to me. I will also look into getting a mirror box for times I don't want to ask the customer to return the box. I'm glad to hear of successful shipping stories! I keep getting the word that UPS is notorious for damage. Glad to learn that now.
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