Packing Your Artifacts for Shipping

At some point in collecting artifacts almost everyone eventually needs to
send one through the mail to sell, authenticate or simply share with
others. When you’re ready to send your artifacts to someone else, you
must observe a few simple safety rules to keep them safe and secure. It’s
prudent to take a little extra time packing than to learn that your artifact
has arrived in several pieces! Please note the following suggestions:

  • 1. Wrap the item securely. Carefully wrap your artifacts with bubble wrap
    (or some other protective material,) taking particular care to make sure the
    delicate areas such as point tip, ears, pottery handles, etc. are completely
    covered and secured with tape. (Please note: tape is better than rubber
    bands which exert unnecessary pressure on artifacts.) If you are mailing
    small bird points or delicate flat artifacts, you might also consider placing
    them between two sheets of thin cardboard for extra protection. NEVER
    MAIL ARTIFACTS IN GLASS FRAMES. Then wrap the entire object in
    another sheet of bubble wrap and tape to secure. But, avoid overzealous
    taping that might make it difficult to cut open without potentially damaging
    what’s inside.

  • 2. Prepare the inner box. Place the bubble wrapped item within a sturdy
    box not too much larger than the object itself. Place packing materials,
    such as crushed newspaper, magazine pages or more bubble wrap,
    around the object so that it does not jostle around in transit, and tape it
    shut. You want a tight, snug fit around your artifact; no pressure but no
    room to move around either. A lot of people use peanuts, but bubble wrap
    seems to hold things in place better.

  • 3. Prepare the outer box. Put the smaller box inside a larger cardboard box
    and surround it with more packing materials to keep it from moving around
    during shipment.

  • 4. Place identification in the package. Inside the box, please include as
    much contact information as possible, such as: Your complete name,
    address, phone number, and email address. If you have any information
    about your artifact, include it. When and where the artifact was found, by
    whom, and any other provenance details are helpful and may be included
    on the COA.

  • 5. Seal the box. Seal the outer box securely with durable packing tape.
    Make sure the bottom edges of the box are taped as well as the top.

  • 6. Label the box. Label the box with the complete address taking care to
    tape over the writing or stick-on label. Don’t forget to include your return
    address on the outside of the box.

When shipping insure the package for a value that you feel comfortable with. I
will return the items the way I received them. I prefer that you send your
artifacts to my secure Post Office box:  Bill Breckinridge, P.O. Box 10,
Leonard, Oklahoma 74043.
Example of double boxing with filler in between the boxes to
hold the interior box in place.
Below is a fragile ceramic pot that travelled across the continental United
States with no damage. This is the inner box that came inside another
larger box with several layers of bubble wrap to securely hold the smaller
box in place. There could be no movement of the inner box!
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Below is a box I recently received from a customer. Notice the excellent
layering and packing skills revealed in the layout of the artifacts.
Customer used a rigid foam board on top to
protect contents. It's a great idea to use this
on top and bottom of a box.
Next a layer of large bubble wrap covered the
entire compartmentalized contents.
Underneath the bubble wrap were two boxes and a
bag with smaller bubble wrap and at their core lie
the very well protected artifacts.