Cheffins of Cambridge, the auction house that sold the Giacometti drawing for £130,000.

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A double-sided drawing by Alberto Giacometti which sold at Cheffins of Cambridge last October for £130,000, exemplifies the lengths carriers go to ensure valuable items are safely delivered into the right hands.

Before it was offered for sale, Mail Boxes Etc. in Cambridge was given the task of sending the drawing to the Fondation Giacometti in Paris to be authenticated.

Insured with MBE‘s ‘enhanced cover’ to the estimated value of £100,000, it was placed in its own bespoke crate. This had a special inner portfolio case lined with acid-free paper and was sent with a special services courier to the foundation.

After it had been verified as genuine a few weeks later, Cheffins asked MBE to bring it back. Fondation Giacometti refused to take any responsibility for repacking the drawing and advised that a person would need to pack it on its premises before taking it away.


Mail Boxes Etc sent a courier to take this Giacometti drawing to Paris for authentication in 2017.

An MBE staffer travelled to Paris to collect and pack the drawing into a hard portfolio case and carry it back to the UK later that day, delivering it to Cheffins the next morning.

Such personal service is often required when high-value items go in transit, something Gander & White knows only too well. “We’re known for saying yes to tasks that others have previously said no to,“ says Oliver Howell, the firm’s European managing director.

“One of our recent interior design operations saw us removing the stairs of a property in order to move a piece of furniture in.”

One of its most memorable operations took place in 1991, when it transported a collection of English silver from the Kremlin for an exhibition at Sotheby’s in London.

The company sent pre-fabricated crates over to Moscow and flew out a team of packers to wrap the objects and accompany them in army trucks to the airport, where they were loaded onto a plane.