Packaging Collectible Glassware for Shipping

Make Sure Those Pricey Glass Antiques Arrive Safely

Depression Glass Cookie Canister
Depression Glass Cookie Canister. - Pamela Y. Wiggins

Most everyone realizes glassware is fragile and should be packaged carefully, but some folks don’t take the time to do it right. Unfortunately, many pieces of antique and collectible glass are damaged beyond repair due to these very avoidable mishaps. With a little care, whether you’re shipping an expensive piece of elegant glass to a customer or your grandmother’s Depression glass serving dish to your cousin, these items can arrive to their shipping destination unscathed.

How to Pack Antique & Collectible Glassware for Shipping

As with shipping pottery and porcelain, take care to wrap any particularly delicate or areas prone to break, like handles and bases, with bubble wrap secured with packing tape. Then wrap the entire piece of glassware with another piece of bubble wrap and secure with more tape. Wrap each glass piece individually in bubble wrap when shipping multiple pieces.

Place the wrapped piece or pieces in a sturdy cardboard box that fits the size of the items being shipped with just a little room to spare. Then surround the piece with packing material such as foam peanuts, bubble wrap or plenty of crumpled paper, taking care to make sure the item does not move around in the box before sealing it with packing tape. Place that box inside another larger one, and surround it with more packing material. Make sure the inner box is surrounded with enough packing material so that it does not move around within the larger container.

The box-within-a-box packing method described above is best for glass, especially when you’re shipping a particularly fragile item or more than one piece together. That said, a very heavy piece of glass, such as a single Depression glass Colonial Block footed tumbler, can usually be shipped in a box by itself, provided you wrap the piece nicely in bubble wrap and use an oversized box to ensure that there are six to eight inches of packing material between the item and each side of the box.

Be sure to use enough packing material in the form of foam peanuts, additional bubble wrap or plenty of crumpled paper to secure the item so it won’t jostle around at all during shipment.

Label the box with the address taking care to tape over the writing or label to make sure it doesn’t run and become illegible. If you’re not including an invoice or business card in the box, be sure to write a note with your “return to” address on it and insert it in the box in case the label gets damaged and the shipper inspects the contents to determine where the package originated.

In summary, follow these steps for securely packing antique and collectible glassware for shipping:

1. Wrap the item securely. Carefully wrap any extraneous handles or other particularly delicate areas with bubble wrap secured with packing tape. Then wrap the entire object in another sheet of bubble wrap and tape to secure. But, avoid overzealous taping and creating a “mummy” that will be difficult for the recipient to cut open without damaging what’s inside.

2. Prepare the inner box. Place the bubble wrapped item within a sturdy box not too much larger than the object itself. Place packing materials (as noted above) around the object so that it does not jostle around in transit, and tape it shut.

3. Prepare the outer box. Put the smaller box inside a larger cardboard box and surround it with more packing materials to keep it from moving around during shipment.

4. Place identification in the package. Place either an invoice with a return address, business card, or “return to” note including your address within the box prior to sealing it in case the address on the outside of the box becomes illegible as the package makes its way through the shipping process.

5. Seal the box. Seal the outer box securely with durable packing tape. Make sure the bottom edges of the box are taped as well as the top.

6. Label the box. Label the box with the complete address taking care to tape over the writing or stick-on label. Don’t forget to include your return address on the outside of the box.