Merriam Webster defines fine antique as "superior in kind, quality, or appearance" and"existing since or belonging to earlier times." In a more general sense, fine antiques are described as objects
that are over 100 years old and in very good condition. As with most items of any significant age, conditional issues can have a severe impact on value. Consequently it's important to take extra care and precautions when moving antiques since the inherent value of a piece can be drastically lowered due to damage. Even after being repaired, the original value of an item often isn't as high as it was prior to the damage, so proper inspection and handling is key. To avoid compromising the value of a fine antique, here are just a few things to consider before moving an item:
A thorough inspection prior to any prep work can save you from headaches down the road. If issues are found during the inspection, consider having them taken care of prior to moving. It goes without saying: the better the condition at the origin location, the better the chances that it will arrive at its destination is the same shape. Having a good general knowledge of finishes and materials is very beneficial to handling logistics of fine furnishings. For example, metal items are particularly susceptible to blemishes and staining by oils left from fingerprints. Fingerprints can also be left in lacquer finishes on older furniture, given a hot enough, humid environment. Often, different types of gloves will be worn to protect an item. While it's not always practical (or safe) to wear gloves while moving a piece, it's still a good idea to wear gloves during the inspection and prepping phase. Traditional white cotton gloves have given way to butyl nitrile gloves which afford a better grip and contain the oils that can seep through cotton gloves.
If the item to be moved is large or particularly delicate, consider contacting a known, reputable "white-glove" logistics company. While most moving companies can move most items, not all companies have the skills and experience with higher end furnishings. Take the time to find the right company for the job. Talk with friends and family and ask for recommendations. If you know people with items similar to your own, ask who they've used and if they had a good experience. Of course, if you have particularly high end furnishings that you care about, expect to pay a little more to ensure that the job will be done correctly. (You may be familiar with the humorous, but accurate service matrix which illustrates how you may be able to find a provider who will meet some of your qualifications, but likely not all.) An experienced high-end company will have properly trained staff who can assess the best way to handle the item and will have the ability to move it properly. Make sure the company you contact is one with proper credentials.
William C. Huff Companies is committed to simplifying the complicated maze of moving and storing your priceless possessions. With over 40 full-time, tenured, and highly trained staff, you can be assured that your move will be handled smoothly and professionally, from the first phone call until the last box is unpacked.