Fine Art Shipping Costs


The world of art collection is as vast and varied as the pieces it comprises. One critical aspect that often goes overlooked, however, is the safe transportation and storage of these valuable items. The challenges inherent in shipping and storing artwork stem from the need to protect and preserve pieces from damage, degradation, or loss. To aid collectors and artists alike, this post draws upon insights from Artwork Archive, shares tips from shipping experts, and provides guidance from other authoritative sources to navigate these complex processes successfully.

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Packing Your Art for Safety and Longevity

The adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings especially true when it comes to packing art. Using the right materials can significantly mitigate the risk of damage during transit. The choice between DIY and professional packing hinges on the value of the artwork and the complexity of its packing needs.

1. Framed Artwork: Secure loose components and cover glass surfaces with painter’s tape in a star pattern to prevent shattering. Bubble wrap and corner protectors are must-haves before boxing.

2. Unframed Prints: Use acid-free paper for matting, followed by clear plastic wrap sealing. A hard, flat container or tube (for larger prints) ensures protection against bending or folding.

3. Canvas Paintings: Bubble wrap is your friend, but ensure the painting’s surface is protected with a non-abrasive layer first. Opt for boxes slightly larger than the painting to accommodate padding materials.

Choosing the Right Shipping Method

Navigating through customs, understanding international regulations, and choosing carriers with reliable international networks are crucial when shipping artworks beyond borders.

Each carrier (UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS) has its advantages and disadvantages, varying significantly based on the artwork’s dimensions, weight, and value. Insurance and tracking options provide additional peace of mind, albeit at varying costs and service levels.

Specialized Art Shipping Services: When and Why to Use Them

For extremely valuable or oversized pieces, services like Displays Fine Art Services and Fine Art Shippers offer customized solutions, including custom crating and climate-controlled transport, highlighting the balance between cost and the necessity for specialized handling.

Costs of Art Shipping

Shipping costs can quickly escalate based on several factors, including the artwork’s size, weight, the distance of transit, and the required speed of delivery. Real-world examples illustrate how diverse these expenses can be.

The financial responsibility for shipping often falls on the artist or gallery, depending on their agreement. Incorporating shipping costs into the artwork’s price can simplify transactions and ensure transparency.

Storing Your Art Collection Safely

Proper art storage involves controlling the environment to prevent damage. Optimal conditions include regulated temperature, humidity, and minimal light exposure.

The pricing for storage facilities varies widely, often reflecting the quality of conditions and services provided. Balancing costs while ensuring the safekeeping of art requires careful consideration.

 Additional Considerations

Regular appraisals and adequate insurance coverage are indispensable for protecting the financial investment in your collection.

Routine maintenance and monitoring, especially for works in storage, are key to their preservation.

Tools such as Artwork Archive offer sophisticated means for managing and cataloguing collections, ensuring important details are easily accessible and secure.


Successfully shipping and storing artwork demands an understanding of the specific needs of each piece, coupled with a consideration of the costs involved. While the process can be complex, investing the necessary time and resources significantly contributes to protecting and preserving the value of your collection.


If you have any questions or would to work with us on your next shipment, Contact us here.