How to Move Antiques

Take Steps to Ensure the Safety of Your Antiques

Your collectibles are prized and often irreplaceable.

Naturally, you want to protect them from any possible damage during your move. Follow these steps to help guard fragile items against harm and properly prepare them for packing and loading on a moving van.

Step one: Get an appraisal

Any item you own that is of extraordinary value should be appraised by a qualified person; you might even want to get more than one appraisal. Obtaining an appraisal also may be necessary to verify the value of your personal property for the transferral of your homeowner’s insurance policy.

The best way to locate an appraiser is through a recommendation by an insurance agent, attorney or bank official. Membership in the American Society of Appraisers can be a sign of an appraiser’s reputation. Look in the Yellow Pages under appraisers. Or you can request the “Directory of Certified Professional Personal Property Appraisers,” which is a state-by-state referral list. To receive the most current issue, contact the American Society of Appraisers by mail at P.O. Box 17625, Washington, D.C. 20041, by telephone at 800-ASA-VALU (800-272-8258) or visit www.appraisers.org.

Most appraisers either charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for services performed. Ask in advance.

In addition to obtaining an appraisal, make sure you have clear photographs of your antiques. You might also want to use a video camera to inventory the contents of each room.

At the time of the moving cost estimate, be sure to point out to the salesperson all high-value or fragile items such as grandfather clocks, silver or china sets so advance arrangements for crating and special packing can be made. Crates can be specially built to protect items with ornate trimming or a high risk of breakage.

Step two: Review your moving protection plan

When meeting with a United representative, you’ll want to discuss valuation of your antiques. United offers several protection plans in the event of loss or damage.

Be sure that your articles of extraordinary value (items worth more than $100 per pound) are listed on United Van Lines’ High-Value Inventory Form and make sure to document any signatures, serial numbers or manufacturer marks on your possessions.

It is recommended you use a video camera to fully document the condition of your antiques and high-value items prior to your move in case you need to verify a claim. When doing so, however, make sure that you are able to get clear, high-quality footage of your items so that it is usable.

Step three: Prepare for packing

Before your belongings are packed, you may want to check antique items for any special cleaning that might be required.    

Check your local hardware, furniture store or antique dealer for cleaning products for fine furniture.

Avoid the use of any type of oil or wax product on wood furniture immediately before you move especially if these items will be going into storage. Some products might soften the finish, making it vulnerable to imprinting from furniture pads.     

If you are uncertain about the care of a particular antique piece, a local historical society or library might have books on the subject. An antique dealer may have helpful hints as well.     

Step four: Pack, wrap and protect on moving day

It is very important that you or an appointed representative be present on packing and moving days to identify items needing special handling. It is also helpful so packers and van operators can ask questions along the way.

Most large, heavy pieces of furniture will be wrapped in thick pads to help protect them while in transit.

Step five: Unloading and delivery

When you reach your destination, carefully check the inventory of your household goods and antiques before signing for receipt. If any servicing or reassembly is required after you reach your new home, notify your United agent who can make any necessary arrangements. Should there be any damage, contact your United agent for assistance in filing a claim.     

Be sure to consult your local United agent if you have special questions or concerns. Proper preparation prior to a move can help you enjoy your antiques for many years to come.


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