Packaging and Shipping Art Pottery

Most every collector of antique American art pottery has experienced the frustration of finding that perfect addition to your Rookwood collection or making that great Roseville pottery purchase only to have the piece arrive broken due to poor packaging. Broken art pottery is a frustration to both buyers and sellers.

The following provides some simple guidelines for successfully packaging and shipping art pottery:

  • Select the right box. In order to protect your antique art pottery from the abuse it will take during shipping, the box must be large enough to provide at least 2" of space between the pottery and all interior walls of the shipping carton. If you are reusing a box, make sure the carton sides and flaps are still firm with no bends or tears.
  • Wrapping art pottery. When wrapping art pottery for shipment, each item must be wrapped separately. Each individual pottery piece should be wrapped with a minimum of 3 layers of bubble wrap covering all sides of the vase with particular attention shown to handles and any sharp edges. At Just Art Pottery we use 2 wraps of small (3/8") bubble wrap and one wrap of larger (3/4") bubble wrap for added protection. In addition, rather than taping the bubble wrap, we secure it with rubber bands, which makes unwrapping much quicker and safer.
  • Packaging art pottery. Prior to placing your wrapped art pottery in the box, fill the bottom of the carton with at least 2" of cushioning preferably polystyrene peanuts. Other acceptable cushioning items include inflatable packaging air bags or foam enclosures. After preparing the cushioning layer for the bottom of the shipping carton, place your art pottery item in the center of the box and fill the remaining void areas (at least 2" on each side and top) with your cushioning material. Prior to sealing the box, it is important to make sure the shipping carton is packed tightly to withstand the weight of other heavy packages that will likely be placed on top of your box during shipping and prevent shifting of the art pottery in the box during transport. We have been told by shipping company staff that you should expect your item to be dropped from up to 30 feet numerous times during its travel to its ultimate destination.
  • Securing the shipping box. The best packaging in the world won't help your antique Roseville pottery or Van Briggle pottery vase arrive safely if the box is not closed and secured properly. For taping the shipping box, use either a 2" pressure-sensitive plastic tape or a nylon-reinforced tape. Do not use masking, duct or other similar tape. In order to ensure the box stays sealed and your art pottery secured during shipment, we follow the UPS-recommended six-strip taping technique. This technique requires a strip of tape along the full length of the top and bottom seam (where the flaps meet at the top and bottom of the carton). In addition, a strip of tape is placed on both sides of the center tape, half way between the center flap and the outer edge of the box on both the top and the bottom of the carton.
  • Double boxing. For more expensive items, we recommend double boxing your art pottery by placing the shipping carton inside a larger box. When double boxing art pottery, the outside box should also be large enough to provide at least 2" of space on all sides between the inside box and the outside box. The 2" void space should be filled with acceptable cushioning material.

Over the years, we have followed these guidelines and successfully shipped thousands of pieces of antique art pottery ranging from small Teco pottery vases to Weller and Roseville pottery jardinière and pedestals.

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