International Shipping of Art?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by Ricochetrider, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Not sure this is the proper place for this but I am planning to send a framed photograph of mine to some friends. I live int eh U.S.; they live in England. I bubble wrapped the pice heavily and built a wooden "crate" for it. overall it's not particularly heavy and its dimensions are 22.5 X 16.75 X 2-7/8 inches.

    I've contacted 2 entities I found online who ship art internationally- but get the feeling that their customer base is more galleries or artists who use their services a lot more than just needing them for a one-off. I live pretty much smack in the middle of the Mid Atlantic region of the east coast and can drive the item within reasonable distance to drop it off at a shipper's location.

    Anybody here shipping their framed photos around the world? I would welcome advice and experiences etc.

  2. The big shipping companies all handle such stuff well. With proper insurance it can be rather costly though;

    Specialty art shipping firms are, well, 'special' and costs are not meant for the ordinary consumer.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  3. I have no experience with this specific question but in general, I agree with @JDMvW. Most national postal/shipping services have good (optional) 'trace and track' and 'recorded delivery' options that allow the deliver process to be monitored and recorded at each stage. I've sent valuable photos this way. If the item was a truly unique work of art (such as a painting), you might choose differently. If you have the ability (or take precautions) to have the photo re-printed re-framed then the risk of "loss" is substantially smaller than for a painting/sculpture. If not, consider taking the photo out of the frame and having it scanned at 600 or even 1200 dpi. Then even if the ubiquitous 'track and trace' process should fail in your case, you always retain a backup copy.

    Just a thought: there are undoubtedly US-based mail/shippers (UPS?) who guarantee to track-and trace deliver your package damage-free in the UK. There may also be UK-based post/shipping services who - through their US partners) wil pick up packages in the US and track delivery through to the UK.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  4. Thanks guys!
    One of my biggest concerns is my friends getting hit with a VAT charge in receiving my gift to them. I have sent and received stuff back and forth between here and England a few times, but somehow their VAT system remains a bit of a mystery.
  5. I sell my work around the world and as such I find it convenient to user trusted production houses in various places. In the UK I've had good experienced with both Genesis Imaging and Spectrum. Alternately, Whitewall does very high quality work (in Germany) and ships at very reasonable rates to countries around the world. PS: In some countries, fine art is exempt from import taxes. So you might do a bit of research on H.M. Customs website to verify.
  6. Just ordered a print from Whitewall to go to a customer in Canada. Shipping price was very good. Customer got hit with customs duties though (which I offered to pick up) couldn’t figure out why the print came from Germany though! Your answer makes sense now!

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