Transporting Your Antiques & Valuables

October 5th, 2010 by

When it comes to moving your irreplaceable antiques and valuables, you should be very careful in choosing a company to transport the items for you.  Careful consideration and a little investigation before making your decision will save you the emotional trauma of seeing your formerly pristine antiques arrive damaged, not to mention the grave financial loss you will inevitably suffer as a result of the moving company’s poor handling of your precious items.

To begin, search only for companies that specialize in the shipping of antiques and fine art.  These companies train their employees in the proper handling, crating and transport of priceless pieces.  Furthermore, many of these companies provide temperature controlled shipping facilities as well as temperature controlled storage units if necessary.  For added piece of mind, many offer tracking services for your shipment.

A great way to find a local moving company that fits your needs is to contact museums or historical preservation societies to see which companies they use to move their collections.  You can also find a listing for several such companies right here on Antiques.com; just look under Services – Shipping and Storage.  Once you’ve come up with a few alternatives, you should verify their reputations by contacting the Better Business Bureau to see if any of the companies you’re considering have had customer complaints.  Those that have should be taken out of consideration.

Another way to verify a moving company’s reputation is by asking for references.  You can generally see client testimonials on a moving company’s website, and although reading these is comforting, it is best to speak with auction houses, vendors or other businesses that have used the mover’s services.  By speaking with professionals in the antiques and valuables industry and getting their feedback on a prospective moving company, you can be assured your priceless pieces will arrive safely.

One last, but very important, thing to check is the insurance coverage the company provides.  It is imperative that you carefully examine their policy.  Pay special attention to the section that discusses the coverage for any damage that diminishes the value of the antique or valuable.  It is important to note that homeowner’s insurance coverage may include moving insurance or additional insurance coverage.

Once you’ve chosen a moving company, prepare an inventory list that includes descriptions, photos, appraisal values and copies of receipts for each item you’re shipping.  When the movers arrive be sure to get a Bill of Lading that includes a complete inventory list (this should match your personal list exactly), as well as the mover’s name and address.  Carefully examine the Bill of Lading to be sure that each item has been accounted for.  Never sign a Bill of Lading that you believe to be incorrect.

Finally, after your precious cargo has arrived at its new location, be sure to have each item unpacked and reassembled.  It is at this time that you must inspect your valuables for any damage.  If you find damage has occurred during transport, note the damage on the Bill of Lading, point it out to the movers and take photos.  You should then contact the moving company to verify your claims have been reported.

If you take the time necessary to find an exceptional moving company, your irreplaceable antiques and valuables will arrive safely to their destination.  Save yourself the staggering financial loss and inevitable heartache of damaged goods by doing a little extra leg work up front.

-Michelle Grimmett

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