|Subject: Shipping Pottery, Italy to US|
Pottery shops usually show signs saying we ship anywhere. This means
they provide both packing and shipping, but I'd like to stress a couple points.
>From my vantage point in express shipping industry, I'd say the most important issue is packing. If you do your own, plan for the worst as handling is always rough and you can see its marks on your baggage when collecting it at the end of a long trip. FRAGILE marks and UP arrows have little use too. Use bubble sheets, polistyrene chips and a hard carboard oversized box. If the shop does it for you, insist on the importance of good packaging even if you sound annoying. A good packaging increases the size of the object two or three times at least, causing the shipping price getting higher, but you can't avoid it. About shipping, shops will probably suggest mail service for small items in order to keep fare low. Mail service has improved in past years, but be aware they still can't quote you any transit time and the handling is usually fair uncontrolled. The express courier companies have higher prices (about 100 USD for a 4 lbs packege from Italy to US) but they offer additional services like fixed transit time (2-3 days), package tracking, toll-free numbers and assistance for Customs formalities. If you buy a valuable object, be sure to get it insured: in the worst case you'll get your money back at least. Also be aware you'll probably have to pay some duties in the US, as shipped items are subject to taxes you don't have to pay when you bring them with you into your country.
If any of you needs more detailed info I'd be happy to help.
Paolo Trieste, Italy