Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Shipping valuable item

I must ship my teapot to the Saul Bell Awards, and I am worried
about the best way to do it, since I have no special insurance to
cover it. I want to insure it for $20,000. Any advice?


The best option I can think of is Registered Mail using one of the
flat rate priority boxes. Registered Mail is the safest and has
lowest insurance rate and can insure up to $25,000. The flat rate
boxes allow you to use the registered mail and also keep the cost
down as long as your teapot can fit in one of their priority flat
rate boxes (small, medium and large options). My guess with the flat
rate box, registered and insurance of $20,000 you are looking at
about $60 to send it.

Terry Binnion


I have used ParcelPro, and been very happy with the help in setting
up an account. They specialize in higher end insurance for antiques,
etc, and have stringent requirements for shipping. You can ship via
FedEx or UPS I believe, but the total cost for shipping and
insurance is much less than the quotesI’ve gotten directly from

Melissa Veres, engraver

have you talked to fedex yet? decades ago, we shipped several
"packages" across the country using the Greyhound Bus system.


The best option I can think of is Registered Mail. ..

I’m sure this applies to all shippers, but I have had discussions
about this with postal workers. The USPS will sell you all the
insurance you want to buy, but they will only pay out an amount that
meets their valuation requirements. That is, you will need to prove
the value of the contents to_their_satisfaction, according to
their criteria. For the amount you are talking about, however you
ship, find out (preferably in writing) how the shipper requires you
to prove value. my guess is, the USPS will pay only materials (scrap)
value unless you can document otherwise to_their_satisfaction.

Mention was made on Orchid a number of months back (6? 9?) about
insuring through some jeweler-related organization, and I think that
might be your best bet. Ship according to the preference of your

Neil A.

I must ship my teapot to the Saul Bell Awards, and I am worried
about the best way to do it, since I have no special insurance to
cover it. I want to insure it for $20,000. Any advice? 

USPS Registered mail

Unless you have a bill-of-sale for $20,000, or an independent
appraisal for that amount, you have exactly 0% chance of collecting
that amount in case of loss. Sorry.

Hi Noel,

If time is not a problem, then I think that USPS registered mail is
the best value. It is signed for every time it changes hands. It
takes about a week, though.

Double box! Put the teapot in a bag that is labeled. Put this inside
a cushioned inner box that is fully labeled. “Float” this inside a
larger box with one or more inches of packing material (bubble wrap,
styrofoam peanuts, etc.).

Buy PAPER tape, and cover every seam of the outer box. Every tape
intersection gets stamped by the post office for security.

Cynthia Eid

Go with USPS registered and insured. It takes a while but you can
insure registered for up to 25k! and it is not very expensive. It is
how a friend of mine who owns a precious metals company recommends
shipping to his clients and I have shipped all sorts of expensive
pieces that way for years with no problems. Frank Goss

Neil has a good point about what the postal service will pay
regarding “art” and its value. it is a grey area with many rabbit
holes. HOWEVER If packed well I think the issue is more about loss
than damage and I would entrust items to the postal service far more
than fedex, dhl or ups. I have never had a registered mail item go

Ric Furrer
Sturgeon Bay, WI

Hello Noel,

I occasionally use the Fed Ex Jewellery Shipping program for high
value items- this goes in either a nondescript box or their
combination security boxes (metal).You can set this service up for
regular shipments as well provided the items are more than say, 500
dollars then their regular coverage will probably be enough- but the
jewelry program speeds up the time it takes to actually get the check
for lost or damaged items- damaged meaning more than a crushed box-
your piece is no longer in the condition it was when shipped-
particularly good for hollowware pieces.

So that’s one option not a lot of people know about as independent
jewelers. I am pasting the link into their pdf info but you can
probably get more info by calling or going into a local centre many
of their employees don’t know it exists so be aware of that, and
potentially make a call first to the national call centre (dealing
with these call centre things are always a pain in the butt to me.
the calls seemingly unnecessary when decent employee training -at all
locations- would be the way to go in the first place!!) so I
apologize for Fed-Ex’s deficiencies in suggesting you have to make so
many calls to get one piece of ! Nonetheless, their lock
box service is a good one and security is impeccable if you can’t
drive the piece there personally! If it’s a large piece you will need
the largest security box they make if its at all tall.

UPS doesn’t have anything like it, USPS However has flat rate
mailers when well padded can be insured up to, I believe 20,000 i or
more, but if the piece is worth 20,000 you should probably select a
carrier that will insure it for more than its replacement value.
There is DHL- however, they are perhaps the worst in terms of
handling and guarantees of delivery times and dates- so keep that in
mind. there is also adding a private insurance coverage to a parcel-
for instance if you use Jewelers Mutual getting a rider for the piece
for a prescribed amount of time- the time it takes to get the piece
therir, be juried, and the turn around time whether accepted or not,
and return posting. I’m not sure if you can get their insurance for a
one-time service though, its geared towards the ongoing insured and
perhaps covering this special circumstance within the scope of their
business insurance products.

USPS can take 2 or more months to recoup any losses. (i know that
from experience: I got a letter from the post saying they had a bit
of an accident and my package was on one of their trucks that caught
fire- I never got the package back- But i did get the letter. and
despite their lovely letter, got no reimbursement. I suppose they
found a lump of 22kt gold in the truck and thought it just appeared
miraculously and used it to pay for some of the damages- to the

Whatever you decide remember to declare cost plus - Plus being an
unstable market on raw materials- so build in enough to be out of
the funds to replace the materials for at least 30 days, in which you
can expect the market to rise of about 20% over today’s spot even if
you have Net 30 accounts.(.I am convinced the market, already
inflated erroneously, dips down around the holidays to allow jewelers
to purchase their materials a bit more reasonably then goes back up
after valentine’s day for a period until a few weeks prior to
Mother’s day- then another upward trend for a few months then back
down in mid-to -late September.).Oh, make sure you get your tracking
numbers on the package and any security box’s serial as well so Saul
Bell Awards are looking for it and can confirm their receipt as you
will need to provide them the combination too. sound like a "duh"
moment, but even the most diligent of us can sometimes forget to
record -on paper- the correct numbers and codes. good luck and Best
regards, r. e.rourke

R. E.

USPS can take 2 or more months to recoup any losses. (i know that
from experience: I got a letter from the post saying they had a
bit of an accident and my package was on one of their trucks that
caught fire- I never got the package back- But i did get the
letter. and despite their lovely letter, got no reimbursement. 

Why no reimbursement from the fire and loss of the item?

Ric Furrer
Sturgeon Bay, WI

I have a few suggestions. Make a series of photos, have documents of
your materials, copies of your progression in the judging (congrat.
on the accomplishment, just being called to send in for the final
stage is a feather in your cap). I would use USPS because that is
what comes the quickest for me. I would put the teapot in a plastic
bag in a roomy box. Then around the teapot I would take two other
bags, one on each side. Fill this with the expandafoam or insulfoam.
Creating a foam support. Then tape this box well, and put that box in
a second box with pellets around it. Now your final box…tape
the heck out of it, around, top seam, bottom seam, around the edges
and over the addresses. My criteria is to make it almost impossible
for the person on the receiving end to open the box. Best of luck,
blessings pat

If you have read some of the consumer reports on collecting
insurance, at best you have a 50/50 chance with any of the carriers
with the Post Office being the best, at 50/50.

The limits on jewelry or precious metal shipments is $500. Yes, they
will accept your money to insure for $5,000 or $20,000. You are not
shown the fine print until you file a claim. I even have the jewelers
special program through our national organization, have to ship on
certain days, certain ways, overnight, yadda yadda. When a $10,000
item was redirected and delivered to someone else without signature
or ID, which I had paid for, they refused to pay the claim. I
reported it to Homeland Security, the FBI, local law enforcement and
was told by Mr X to take them to court. My shipping with them dropped
from $25,000 a year to under a thousand. They call constantly trying
to get me to ship again until I tell them why and fax the

If you have jewelers mutual insurance, you are covered as long as
you ship overnight. This is the other scam going on right now against
the retailers.

Shipping costs with insurance are billed at 1-2% of total value. It
sounds reasonable until you get 10-30 thousand dollar shipments. They
are covered under the JM policy and making extra by charging us for
so called insurance.

I have stopped ordering from those that do that. I just received a
$43,000 shipment from Hoover and was charged $14.95 for shipping.
Stuller and Rio are the same, very low shipping costs not based on

If you use a third party shipping/insurer your chances are good that
you will collect providing you have documentation on the value, cost,
retail price, customers order/bill or dale and method of payment. You
may have to provide the customer’s credit card or actual
imprint of the card.


Noel -

My Jewelers Mutual policy insures pieces that get shipped vithrough
the actual Post Office - which as I understand is very hard to get
paid on from the post office if it is lost. If a package is lost via
’Express Mail’ Jewelers Mutual even handles the finding of the
package which is obviously in their best interest. Express Mail is
next day delivery with a signature.

When I started shipping to galleries (multiple items) this feature
on my Jewelers Mutual policy really paid off. I am insured as a
’Craftsmen’ Policy with my studio being in my home and it’s about
$700 per year. I do have a $500 deductible but on a $20,000 item
that is ok you just have to take that into consideration. The policy
also covers your jewelry while you are traveling to a show etc…

Hope this helps :slight_smile: joy kruse