Tag Archives: posting pottery

Live Overseas…No Problem Perfect Pieces Ship Internationally

If you live outside the UK and would like to purchase a piece of pottery from us but are anxious about postage abroad – don’t be!

Here at Perfect Pieces, we regularly ship internationally! Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA are regular destinations for our stock and we have also posted to most countries in western Europe and Scandinavia. We will post to virtually any location in the world, subject to the availability of a reputable, signed-for mail or courier service to that destination – we do not send anything abroad that is not tracked, signed for and insured.

You might be wondering how much it costs to have an item sent overseas. Well, we only charge postage at cost, carefully packaging the item to ensure it’s weighed and charged correctly. It is true that this is more expensive than UK postage – but we keep these costs to a minimum and trying to skimp on postage is a false economy with fragile items.

Most items will be sent Royal Mail International Signed For. This service is tracked and signed for at the point of delivery – click here to read more about this service. Items weighing over 2kg when packed have to go by courier – but this is a fairly rare occurrence as most of our stock is quite light and compact.

If you have seen something you’re interested in on the site and would like to know what the additional international postage cost to your location would be, then feel free to contact us for a rough postage estimate. We’ll do our best to provide an outline of the cost, then once you’ve ordered we’ll confirm with the exact cost when the item has been packaged.

(Remember that postage and packaging to all UK addresses is included in our prices – we only charge extra for shipping to destinations outside the UK.)

Click here to view our current selection of stock

Tips On Posting Parcels Worldwide!

As you might have guessed we have to send many parcels both nationally and internationally! Whatever the item you hope it arrives safe and sound, and if using a tracked and guaranteed service on time as well for the convenience of not only yourself but for the person waiting in for it at the other end.

First of all you have to package your item – for help and tips take a look at our Postage & Packaging Guide here.

Once that’s done if your parcel is under 2kg then you have lots of options available from Royal Mail ranging from standard 1st and 2nd class,  recorded 1st and 2nd class delivery right through to guaranteed next working day delivery by Special Delivery.

It’s when the parcel is over 2kg that it becomes slightly more complicated, and even more so if you want to send it abroad!

Within the UK for parcels over 2kg you could try Royal Mail’s Special Delivery which is usually around the £20 mark. This gives you guaranteed next working day delivery but you do have to remember there are size restrictions on the size the parcel can be so it’s always wise to check this out before you head down the post office with your parcel. You can find out more information on Special Delivery from Royal Mail’s website – here.

Alternatively you could try one of Parcel Force’s services – we sometimes use Parcel Force 48. This service is guaranteed delivery within 48 hours and you can even have Parcel Force collect the parcel from you if you book it online so you don’t have to take your chunky parcel to the Post Office! See Parcel Force’s website for further details about their service – click here.

Now, if you’re looking at sending a parcel overseas that weighs more than 2kg then you’ll probably find that Royal Mail aren’t much use. A good site to check out is Worldwide Parcel Services. They allow you to obtain an instant online quote based on your parcel’s weight and dimensions so you can see straight away the options available to you. Click here to visit their website.

If you have any tips on sending parcels, then be sure to get in touch it’s always good to hear about other people’s experiences in sending parcels.

How To Post and Package Pottery

One of the biggest concerns we come across amongst people who are anxious about buying antique pottery online is whether it will be packed well enough to survive the postal system. Horror stories abound – we spoke to someone who had received a Troika Spice Jar that had been wrapped in newspaper and posted in a jiffy bag… from Australia [to the UK]! Needless to say it was in pieces on arrival…

The truth, however, is that packing pottery well is not especially difficult, and can be done almost wholly with recycled packaging materials if necessary.

To help anyone who isn’t sure where to start, we thought it might be useful to provide this illustrated guide to packaging.

How To Pack Pottery

Here’s how we do it. Bear in mind that this is a fairly small, light item being posted within the UK. For an international shipment, or a heavy item that might shift in transit, we would double box the package. This means that the box pictured would be placed within another box, with a layer of padding between them. The benefit of this is that even if the outer box is damaged/placed under pressure, the inner box should be relatively unaffected, protecting the item from damage in most scenarios.

(Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them)

    1. Wrap the item in several layers of bubble wrap. Bubble wrap can get caught on gilding and on some kinds of paint (causing it to flake), so if in doubt about this, first wrap the item in a layer of tissue, then in bubble wrap:

    1. Having identified a suitable box (one that is reasonably strong, in good condition, and allows at least 1.5″ – 2″ around the item), fill the base with packaging. We’re using proper polystyrene packaging in this example, but shredded newspaper or polystyrene packaging from other items can also be used (bear in mind paper weighs more, so will add to your postage costs):

Prepare box with polystyrene chips

    1. Build up a good layer of poly or shredded paper in the base – aim to position the item being packed in the centre of the box:

    1. Place the item in the box, on top of the packaging. In this example it looks a bit of a tight fit, but this is only a result of the camera angle/perspective – there is enough room around it:

    1. Fill the area around the items with packaging – make sure you fill the space down the sides up evenly – this will hold the item safely in place in the centre of the box. As a guide, when you have finished packing the box, you should be able to shake it without the item moving at all:

    1. Now it is just a case of filling the area above the item with packaging – make sure this comes slightly above the top of the box, so that when you tape the box closed the packaging will be compressed slightly – this will stop it moving around and settling too much, and hold the item firmly in place:

fill slightly above the top with packaging

    1. Tape the box tightly closed with proper parcel tape – usually available cheap from markets, car boots, or online:

    1. As we have not used a plain box, we will cover it in brown paper too. This is not always necessary:

cover box in brown paper

    1. And voila – nicely covered in brown paper and taped up:

Box covered in brown parcel paper

    1. There’s only one stage left – label the parcel. Small fragile labels are available free from the post office, but proper fragile tape makes more of a visual impact, and is truly unmissable!

Fragile goods labelling

That’s how we pack things, and we find it works well. It is worth considering double-boxing when posting abroad, although weight and size constraints can make this very difficult. As a general guide, two slightly tighter fitting boxes might still be better than one box if you have to choose, but keeping parcels under 2kg and within the size constraints (click here for details) can be challenging!

In case you think we are making it up, here is another, excellent, guide to packaging glass.

Finding packaging materials can be difficult – especially if you need much quantity. There are many packaging websites that can come in handy – with a full choice of packaging including materials tailored for antiques. We also recycle a lot of packaging, which helps reduce waste.

Postage Methods

The only other area to consider is how to post your item. In the UK, we always use Royal Mail Special Delivery for items under 2kg, as the parcels are handled separately from other mail and the service guarantees a pre-1pm delivery the next day. For items that are over 2kg or are too large for Special Delivery, we often use Parcelforce 48 and have found this to be a good service too.

Overseas postage methods vary according to the value and destination, but for items with some value, Royal Mail International Signed For is usually the best choice. Strangely, we often get quicker deliveries with this service than with Royal Mail’s Airsure service, even though Airsure is meant to be the premier service…

International parcels over 2kg are a special case. Costs increase dramatically for international parcels over 2kg. Expect to pay £60-£100 or even more for items over 2kg or which are particularly large. For international parcels over 2kg we use Parcelforce or Worldwide Parcel Services.