By Mike Medlock and Howard Parker
If you're thinking of sending some equipment to us for assessment, let us give you a few tips on how to package it up safely and efficiently. The types of older cameras and lenses we specialise in can be heavy and easily damaged in transit. Additionally, the condition of anything considered collectible plays an important role in how much something is worth, and sometimes whether it is saleable at all. For this reason, we've put together a handy guide on how we recommend to package and send your equipment to us - preventing any disappointing accidents.
If you're in a hurry, just the following should suffice:
- A sturdy and proportional box
- Sensible packing material
- Plentiful tape
- A note with your details inside the package.
Firstly, you'll need to start out with a sturdy cardboard box that is a suitable size for the item(s) you're planning on sending. Ideally you want the items to be in the centre, with a good amount of space on all sides to prevent the equipment from being damaged in transit. Aim to have at least 50% of the item's size between where it sits in the package, and the edge of the box. Use your judgement - but if in doubt go for a larger box.
What packing material should you go for? We've had people use all sorts of things including; the perennial favourite of scrunched up old newspaper, a copious amount of plastic bags, socks, tea-towels, shirts, actual underwear, sheets of A4 paper, insulation foam, bits of polystyrene and - of course - nothing whatsoever.
We recommend tried and true bubble wrap, however we understand that this can be expensive to buy in small quantities. As an alternative we find that scrunched up newspaper or wrapping paper can work well when enough is used.
If you have multiple items, then wrap all larger items individually to prevent them rubbing against each other and causing unnecessary damage. You don't need to go crazy with layers and make a 'pass the parcel' - but a little helps a lot.
The main objective is that when you seal the package, nothing moves around inside because it's packaged properly.
We do not recommend using large air pockets, void fill, or 'packing peanuts' - these simply move out of the way during transit and leave the items resting against the wall of the box.
Lay a base of packing material at the bottom of the box, place the items on top, then build up a wall of padding around and on top of them. If you find that any of the items are getting too close to the sides of the box, try packing them a little differently (think of it like Tetris), use a larger box, or alternatively use multiple boxes.
When you're done boxing everything up, print or write a quick note with your details and why you're sending the item(s) to us. If we've been in correspondence via email or telephone, please make sure to add this in too. This makes our lives much easier and will likely lead to a faster turn around time without us trying to figure out why a mystery box has arrived!
When you're done, tape it up. Similar to packing materials, you can never have too much - so go for it! The last thing we want is for your well-packed parcel to come open during transit.