TL;DR — Most boutique style art dealers leave you to fend for yourself when it comes to shipping your art purchase internationally. Find a good forwarding company, and BEWARE that all customs, duties, taxes, insurance costs are all the customer’s (your) responsibility.
As I write this, I sit flip-flopped and sun-screened, awaiting my arrival at Santa Rosa Beach in Florida. Here’s a picture:
Now that that I have your attention, let’s deal with the issue at hand: receiving art from international sources. It doesn’t have to be a complete ordeal, so buckle in, pay attention, and then go enjoy a good meal.
This guide is meant to assist the tired, downtrodden, would-be international art investor looking for a walkthrough on how to receive art online from an international source. Most boutique style art dealers don’t offer international shipping by themselves, so that leaves you to navigate the icy waters of international shipping. After scouring through dozens of “how to ship art to other countries” tomes, I wasn’t was hardly able to find anything along the lines of “how to order art internationally” anywhere in the internet’s catacombs.
STEP 1: FIND YOUR ART
I recommend Newvisionart.com for their unique prints, posters and originals of people and landscapes. (Full disclaimer, I’m an employee of New Vision Art.)
STEP 2: LEARN YOUR COUNTRY-SPECIFIC DETAILS
There are a few basic variables in the shipping equation that will be specific to you, but never fear,we’ll provide you with all the right gear. First, figure out what the exchange rate is between your country and the country in which you are purchasing art from. Click on this link to go to Google’s easy tool for this goo.gl/TwIUSH. It will give you a ratio (for example, at the time this was written, 1 USD is equal to .76 GBPs, and 1 USD is equal to 18.8 MXNs) that you can use to figure out how much the fees in other currencies will actually be costing you. Exchange rates fluctuate frequently, so do make sure to find out the latest numbers are.
Now that you know the exchange rates, figure out what your country’s policy is for duties/customs. In some countries, you will be charged a tax only if your shipment exceeds a certain amount of money. For example, in New Zealand, if your shipment exceeds $400 NZD, you’ll be liable for a government services tax (GST). For the US, there isn’t a duty on importing art so long as “the frame is of a value considered normal for the work of art.”
STEP 3: FIND A FORWARDING SERVICE
Our customers have recommended MYUS.com for shipping from art dealers in the US. They charge an annual subscription fee and then again per package. These fees typically scale according to how much shipping you’ll be expecting, so choose accordingly. FedEx is also a good option, especially for expedited shipping.
STEP 4: INSURANCE
All we can say here is GET IT — most art dealers don’t cover damages, so check the box and pay the premium to your forwarding service to make sure you’re covered. In the unfortunate case that your art shipment is damaged (and you have elected for insurance), know that you are likely responsible for customs/duties and return shipping costs to send the art back to your dealer.
STEP 5: SIT BACK AND RELAX
You might use a website like MYUS.com or Fedex to determine what the average shipping time is to your country from the shipping country, just for piece of mind and to know how long you should expect the process to take. Now the waiting game begins!
By Russell Fischer