"Best packing I have seen - great item and fast delivery - thanks". This was in respect of the torsion clock in the picture and while it is the kind of feedback we like to get, getting antiques and breakables safely to the buyer demands attention to detail.
If sending breakables by post then good packaging is essential. Poor packaging can leave both sender and recipient disappointed and out of pocket, as well as potentially causing danger from broken glass or china shards.
We've learned a few tricks over the years from sending many thousands of breakables by post and, while some may seem obvious, here are the essentials to minimise the risks.
1. Only send what the parcel company and the laws of the countries involved allow. Some objects are banned outright. Most fragile objects will not be insured for damage so it makes sense to do everything reasonably possible to prevent damage.
2. Wrap breakable objects thoroughly in bubblewrap. If it is a multi part item wrap each part separately so that they can't knock against each other and chip or break.
3. Remove and pack separately or carefully immobilise anything that can move, such as a clock pendulum.
4. If it is a hollow object consider filling object with bubblewrap or newspaper.
5. If it is a delicate/fragile object consider double boxing i.e. putting it in a carefully packaged inner box which can be placed in an outer box.
6. Use a sturdy cardboard box that is large enough to allow plenty of filling/padding material (such as scrunched up newspaper or packaging peanuts) that will protect the item from knocks and drops. Do not use a box that is damaged or bent out of shape.
7. Brace the box internally! Using cut sections of cardboard brace the base and the top so that they cannot be pushed in. Cut 4 lengths of cardboard, fold longitudinally and put one in each corner from bottom to top to prevent crushing.
8. Some items have a clear base and top. Make sure they are put in box in the right orientation and externally mark the upwards direction with arrows and ensure the label is placed on the top. Plates are usually packed with edges facing down. However, package must be able to withstand falling on side or upside down.
9. Seal boxes and packages thoroughly with good quality packing tape. Cheap tape is a false economy, it can unpeel and leave package open to damage.
10. Label clearly, and if printing off a courier barcode fix firmly to the package but take care not to cover barcode/label with anything that will stop it being read by a manual or automatic scanner. Use "FRAGILE" red and white packing tape, it might even be noticed!
11. To prevent a thin package or large envelope bending use alternate layers of cardboard with the grain of the card at right angles.