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How to Pack and Ship Your Consignment Property

Important: All shipments should be reviewed and approved by your Heritage Auctions Consignment Director PRIOR to shipment to Heritage. If your materials have not received approval before shipping, they may be returned and both you and Heritage will incur shipping charges.

USPS Registered-Insured Mail:

Sending via USPS Registered-Insured Mail is one of the most secure methods of shipping your valuables. With this service, you can purchase up to $50,000 worth of insurance. Registered-Insured Mail usually takes 2-5 business days. If you have any questions, please contact your Heritage Consignment Director, or call Client Services at 877-HERITAGE (437-4824) prior to shipping.

As with any form of shipping, there are a few guidelines we recommend you follow.

What TO Do:

  • Contact your Consignment Director before you ship anything to us. We might be able to provide more tips for packing and shipping your items, and we will make sure your items are appropriate for auction and expected by our team.
  • Use bubble wrap, tissue and other insulation paper for wrapping each individual item to make sure nothing moves around and gets damaged while in transit. Remember, packages can encounter very rough treatment during shipping, so the more packaging material between the items and box sides the better. Good rule of thumb – if you can hear movement when you gently shake the box, add more padding/filler.
  • Be sure to use sturdy boxes that show no signs of damage or fatigue to ship your items. Using old, recycled boxes could break open during transit, causing loss or damage.
  • Always include an inventory (hand-written is fine) of the items in the box. Also include copies of any written correspondence with your Consignment Director, when available. This lets us know what to expect and look for as we are opening each package.
  • To help avoid damage in transit, place the main box inside another, slightly larger box with at least 2" of packing material between the boxes. Use plenty of packaging material (foam rubber, crumpled paper, tissue, packing peanuts, etc.) between the items and between the boxes to ensure that the inner box is completely cushioned and the packing materials absorb any shocks, not the box of valuables.
  • Per USPS guidelines for Registered–Insured mail, you must cover every seam on the box with craft paper tape. We recommend the fiberglass reinforced paper tape. You cannot use regular plastic tape.
  • Take your package to the Post Office and get the proper forms for Registered Mail. Address the package to your specific Consignment Director and affix the labels to the package. Make no reference on the label or the box to indicate there are valuables inside.
  • Be sure to include your Full Name and Address in the proper section on the label.
  • Purchase enough insurance to cover the value of your shipment. You can insure a shipment worth up to $50,000. If your items are worth more than that amount, you must send multiple packages. For a single item valued higher than $50K, contact your Consignment Director or Client Services to discuss alternative shipping options.
  • The USPS window clerk will give you a receipt for the package. This receipt should have a round stamp that details when the package was accepted and which station accepted it. If something happens to the package, this information is very important for tracking purposes.
  • If you do not feel comfortable shipping your own items, please reach out to your Consignment Director for our list of preferred 3rd party shippers.

Special Instructions:

  • Coins: Please discuss proper packaging with your Consignment Director before shipping any Coins.
  • Framed and Framed w/Glass: Check with your Consignment Director to see if it's best to remove the item from the frame and send in just the item itself. That will reduce your shipping costs and minimize the possibility of damage due to broken glass or frame in transit.
    • If you cannot remove the item from the frame - place special glass tape or painters tape over the entire glass to hold it together and help protect the item if the glass/frame does get broken along the way.
  • Posters/Flat Paper/Autographs: These can be shipped in top loader plastic sleeves or protector sheets sandwiched between multiple sheets of corrugated cardboard or foam core. In the case of cardboard, it should be layered alternating the grain (first in one direction, then the other), for greater strength, with the item between at least three sheets on both sides. There should be sufficient excess border so that the value is not placed right up to the edges to prevent damage. Alternatively, they can be shipped loosely rolled up in sturdy mailing tubes (if the paper is not fragile, brittle or thick). The plastic sleeves also protect the item in case the package comes into contact with moisture or other elements while in transit.
  • Glass/Ceramics: Each item should be individually wrapped in bubble wrap, with plenty of filler material to keep the objects from colliding with one another inside of the box. This box should be placed into a slightly larger box with at least 2" of packing material between them. Boxes should not be over-crowded and no movement should be felt inside the box when shaken.
  • Fine Minerals and Fossils: Should be packed using very fine plastic film, like dry-cleaning bags, creating a "nest" inside a box with minimal pressure so that the object is "floating." The goal is to pack it with soft material so that there is no pressure on any side of the object. All slabs, such as petrified wood, or fossil fish, should be shipped vertically to avoid breakage across the slab. Never use packing peanuts with minerals.
  • Rare Books: Should be wrapped individually in tissue or other soft paper (gift-wrap will do in a pinch) and then in bubble wrap before being placed in a box within a box, with plenty of cushion/filler.
  • Comic Books: Use a comic book box filled as tightly as possible, using light filler material in any open spaces so the books cannot move around. Place that box inside another box for shipping, using plenty of packing material to fill any gaps.
  • Sports/Trading Cards: Pack your cards with the goal to eliminate any movement within the package. If the cards are stored in card pages, use cellophane or plastic wrap around the pages to keep the cards from sliding out. If they are stored in boxes, fill any extra space with packing material.
  • Musical Instruments: Make sure all strings have been loosened, place the instrument inside an appropriate case, and place the case inside the shipping box. Secure all misc. items such as tremolo arms, picks, etc., so they will not scratch the instrument during shipping. Amplifiers should have the tubes removed and wrapped individually. Pack the amp upside down so the weight is on the bottom of the box.
  • FFL/Modern Firearms: Send ONLY firearms that have been pre-approved by an Arms & Armor Consignment Director. Make sure each firearm is completely unloaded and do not send the ammunition. If you send in unsolicited FFL firearms and we determine they are not for our auctions, they cannot be returned to you directly. You must go through an FFL dealer, subject to all standard Federal Firearms License regulations and fees.
  • Wine: Please do not ship wines without first contacting the Wine department. Our team requires advance notice so we may immediately move your wines into a temperature-controlled environment. Heritage does not recommend shipping via any service slower than 2-day delivery.
    • Try to drop off or have the boxes picked up later in the day to minimize exposure to warmer temperatures during the day.
    • Never ship your wine on a Thursday or Friday, as a delay in the delivery could leave your package sitting in an uncontrolled environment for the weekend.
    • Always ship your wines in approved, purpose-built Styrofoam shippers.
    • Label the package in a manner that does not indicate that there is wine of value inside.

What NOT TO Do:

  • Do not ship any items without the prior approval by the appropriate Heritage Auctions Consignment Director. If your materials have not received approval before shipping, they may be returned and both you and Heritage will incur shipping charges.
  • Do not mark the box or the label with words such as "antiques", "collectibles", or "valuables" that could call attention to the package as something special.
  • Do not use any packaging materials that contain acid. Certain acids could drastically affect the value of an object. Use paper, tissue, foam, bubble, packing peanuts, etc.
  • Do not use nails or staples when securing the package as they could come loose and damage the items.
  • Do not let any tape touch your collectibles directly as it may destroy the object permanently.

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